The path of Homefront: The Revolution has been an eventful one to say the least and it has gone through many changes. While the title may suggest that this is a sequel it is in fact a reboot of the series. A first-person shooter that takes place in an open world like setting, is this a revolution with success or failure in its grasp?
If you follow the global political news then it appears that the world has went to the dogs. We are seeing a time where the rich are getting richer all at the expense of the poor getting poorer. Private companies are making profit at the expense of the health of others. What’s happening though is a revolution across the globe and wither it’s planned or just coincidence Homefront: The Revolution has timed its release quite well. The story takes place in the future where North Korea and the Apex Corporation has taken global domination after making the USA reliant on their weapons technology. Unknown to the world they left backdoors and soon flipped the switch giving them complete control.
The location where the game centres around is Philadelphia and you play Ethan Brady a new resistance member whose cell is awaiting word from the leader and core of the resistance, Benjamin Walker. This though doesn’t happen as planned as and an attack from the KPA leads to everyone but yourself being killed. Walker comes just in time to save you but in turn gets captured and thus begins an adventure taking you to various zones throughout Philadelphia in the hunt for Walker and to bring the revolution to wake and take back the land stolen from them. Not giving anything away the story takes you typical twists and turns and has you being suspicious of certain characters. There are journals to find throughout the city that will fill up the story beyond the games cutscenes which are all in-game. Personally I liked the take on an alternate history setting Dambuster Studios came up with and the way the world is going at the moment, you never know stranger things have happened.
While Homefront: The Revolution is a standard first-person shooter the title has some great features and ideas to give the title a bit of personality. One of these great features is the ability to switch out certain components of your weapons on the fly. It means that three weapons can become nine. This is a feature I would love to see implemented in future FPS titles. It is extremely satisfying to turn your Crossbow in to a fully fledged flamethrower in a mater of seconds by changing just a few key components. Other weapons can be changed in to grenade launchers and sniper rifles. The weapons have a number of attachments which can be bought like scopes and laser sights. It doesn’t matter if you have the same scope on different set-ups as they will already be there the next time you switch to that weapon, so there is no faffing about to be done each time you switch weapons.
Staying with your arsenal you also have four pieces of equipment which are bombs, hack devices, Incendiary devices and distraction devices. These devices can be bought or made from components that you can find throughout the battlefield. Each device has four types which are thrown, proximity, remote and RC car. The proximity ones looks pretty sweet being a cute teddy bear, they may look innocent but very deadly. The RC car is a great idea but I never really used it to much and it can be difficult to control at times.
Philadelphia is one large city and in Homefront: The Revolution it is divided up into a number of adequately sized zones and it is here that the games open world type gameplay comes into play. The zones are colour coded with them being either red, yellow and green although most of the games action will take place in the red and yellow zones. In the red zones these are occupied purely by the KPA and look like a proper war zone. Not only that not all red zones look the same so to speak. The one you start off in is your typical war torn environment with collapsing buildings and broken gas mains which can be used to your advantage etc. Further on in the game there is another that is full of toxic gas and another that is absolutely covered in dust indicating of a major catastrophe. There is also one that hosts a working monorail. There are also a number of Strike points that you can take over which can help the resistance expand operations. Others are controlled by the KPA which are tougher to take control. When you do take over a strike point you will have resistance members covering your back which include snipers so it is worth doing so to make travelling a bit safer.
The yellow zones are zones where the KPA and the civilians are trying to live within the KPA rules and offer a more civilized setting. There are numerous cameras and drones always scanning waiting to pick you up meaning you will have to move about more covertly. There is also a sense of public repression by the KPA as they constantly patrol areas and are out watching prisoners doing community service. Just like the red zones the yellow zones offer a level of uniqueness between them. In one you can clearly see the repression of civilians and the over crowding on the streets resulting in a ghetto like environment. In another you you have the KPA and staff of APEX Corporation almost getting along with each other. When you capture the Strike points in these zones you see the effect it has on the environment immediately. Areas become defaced and destroyed as the civilians and the members of the resistance move in and you begin to see the KPA losing control. This really does make the game stand out as you pass by civilians beating on the KPA.
In both the red and yellow zones you have a metre that measures how much of the civilians are warming to the cause of the resistance. This is increased in a number of ways and while the strike points play a big part in increasing the resistance popularity it isn’t the only way. Other ways include taking out armoured vehicles, destroying cameras, freeing prisoners or assassinating high profile KPA officers etc. You won’t even need to do everything before you max the metre. You don’t even need to take over all the Strike Points but it will make getting about easier and some will have access to the gunsmith to purchase new weapons as well as other things.
The gameplay in Homefront: The Revolution plays out like any FPS title does except with the cool on the fly customization. To get around you also find bikes which is easy to control and there have been some great ideas implemented. You can use it to power up generators as well as doing a bit of stunt driving to get into certain areas and Strike Points. I like the fact that you can stumble upon resistance members and the KPA having a full blown fire fight as well as random flash points which are time limited. The looting in the game is purely just for sale as you will need a lot of cash to fully upgrade every weapon. You can earn s second form of currency when you take over Strike Points that is used on obtaining the various equipment types in your arsenal. There are also side missions that you can take up to earn extra cash which vary from taking a Strike Point without firing and not getting detected to taking out certain enemies with certain guns etc.
As much as I liked the difference between the red and yellow zones, things unfortunately start to become repetitive just before around the halfway mark of the 20+ hour campaign, especially if you are taking lengthy gaming sessions. That said the side missions do offer a challenge and the game does ramp up the difficulty in the later stages. There is a few A.I issues where they will just shoot at the wall instead of coming round to get you but they are dangerous in high numbers. I did also have an issue of not being able to capture two Strike Points, but I can see this getting patched easily and it was partly my fault for going somewhere before I really should have.
There is co-op multiplayer titled Resistance Mode for up to four players and is more in depth than the single player and is a very welcomed addition. In multiplayer you start off by creating one of a wide choice of characters, we are talking just over twenty options. What one you choose will determine your base skill, for example the Dancer will give you a perk that makes you agile and lithe and harder to hit. On the other hand you have the Videogame Developer that gives you the base perk of all tier unlocks reduce by the cost of one. Once created as you play through the six missions on offer, there is more coming via dlc, you will earn money and XP. The money is used to buy crates which contain items, attachments and consumables, different types of ammo and consumables and more. The XP is used to buy skills which have four tiers. Each tier represents an new set of skills on offer. Each skill you buy will cost one skill point and you can have up to twenty per character. Not only that but skills are split into four categories giving access to over fifty skills to chose from. The missions range from attack and defend, they are short but do have multiple objectives and does play differently from single player. With enough support via dlc Resistance Mode could get really addictive.
When it comes to the graphics in Homefront: The Revolution they do look good in most cases. The environmental lighting works great especially at night time. When it is raining you can see reflections on the wet surfaces. I like how the environments change in appearance as you take over areas. Something that developers are slowly adding to console games is graphic options. Granted there is only one option to turn temporal antialiasing on or off but at least the option is there. Voiceovers in the game are also pretty good and portray characters feelings most of the time.
The Good Things
- Weapon customization on the fly.
- Really does make you feel part of a resistance.
- Multiplayer co-op mode could get quite addictive with enough DLC support.
And The Bad
- Save and load times are a slight pain.
- Still some bugs like not being able to capture a strike point but should be patchable.
- Gameplay gets repetitive so single player campaign not suited for lengthy sessions.
- If there is one thing that Homefront: The Revolution does well in its portraying the feel of repression on the public and the need for a revolution to start. There are some great features and ideas put into the game like the weapon customization on the fly and having to use the bikes to power up the generators. The gameplay does become repetitive so its not ideal for lengthy play sessions. The two to four player co-op Resistance Mode has more depth than the single player and the subtle changes make a difference on how you attack missions. While there are only six missions at the moment it is still fun. With future dlc support this mode has the ability to get better, and hopefully new missions are extended in length. While the single player re-playability is thin, in Resistance Mode you have so many options to create your own character as well as eventually owning every weapon, attachment and equipment the game has to offer. I have had an enjoyable time playing this title and if you look by the flaws, there is a lot of fun to be had.
Customization of weapons on the fly is an outstanding feature.