Homefront: The Revolution is not a very good game. There’s no getting around that. The game is a technical mess, with shoddy frame-rates and odd hitches, poor animation and silly bugs. It doesn’t tell a particularly engaging or engrossing story, relying so heavily as it does on stereotypes and gung-ho, stick-it-to-the-man bravado. The characters have all the personality, charm and wit of an administrative law textbook.
The whole game seems to have been made from a checklist, ticking off the boxes that would make it a Blockbuster AAA Experience (TM) and it succeeds at very nearly none of them. And yet, there’s something about it, buried deep in its core that I found fun to play – but that just makes it doubly disappointing. Homefront: The Revolution could be better, and dammit it should be better.
Set in an alternate reality in which North Korea has become a technological and military powerhouse, Homefront: The Revolution takes place in the subjugated city of Philadelphia, four years after the Korean People’s Army have taken over the United States. It puts you in the shoes of the silent Ethan Brady, a freedom fighter who – like other members of the resistance – wants to liberate the beleaguered, enslaved American populace from its Korean masters.
The story is both predictable and boring, serving only to guide you from one location to the next as you shoot at hundreds of North Koreans (Norks, for future reference) in a well enough realised post-war Philly. And although it’s built like an open world game, it isn’t. Not really. Instead, it’s split off into segmented zones that you’re free to hop in and out of when you’re not busy doing main story missions.
It’s filled with the echoes of better games. It looks a little, with its crumbled buildings and oppressive invading forces, like Half Life. At some points, it even feels a bit like Metro: 2033. It plays, and feels mostly like a neutered Far Cry. The Red Zones within Homefront’s city – areas of open conflict where citizens aren’t allowed – are littered with outposts and buildings that require liberation. Doing so opens them up as little bases where you’re able to stock up on weapons and ammo, and head out to free up more of the map – in between shooting up all of those Norks, their tanks and the bloody drones that fly around everywhere – alerting a great big flying death machine and nearby patrols of you presence whenever they scan you.