fri 24/03/2017

Homefront: The Revolution | reviews, news & interviews

Homefront: The Revolution

Homefront: The Revolution

Home isn’t where the heart is in this overly ambitious shooter

Homefront: a below-average shooter in a crowded field of better-armed competitors

There are moments of real atmospheric oppression in this politically themed gun game. When you and your ragtag bunch of freedom fighter recruits are crouched behind a burnt-out car, dodging green scanning lasers streaking through the night sky from a monolithic airship as drones whizz past on a search and destroy mission, you can feel what the developers are trying to achieve. You’re the hunted on home ground. The odds are stacked against you, there’s an urgent insurgency and you’re the main militiaman. Heavy stuff.

Homefront: The Revolution channels 80s movie Red Dawn with touches of Terminator – a near-future construct of America as an enslaved nation occupied by the army of North Korea, which has replaced China as a global player. You’re one of the few remaining rebels on a mission to liberate Philadelphia and strike a blow to the regime that will hopefully act as a catalyst for change. It’s all Molotov cocktails, scavenged equipment and underdog action as you fight your way through a battle-scarred city, liberating outposts, setting up safe houses, running reconnaissance – general guerilla gunplay.    

Like the first Homefront title of 2011, the best part is the premise. Because beneath the ambitious narrative lies a disappointing, under-developed game that struggles to break new ground and undermines its own best intentions through technical shortcomings and flawed mechanics.

Stealth and sabotage play a key role in guerilla warfare, yet the AI detection is so random you’ll often relegate any sneaky tactics in favour of a stand and fight strategy. Sometimes enemy soldiers are so plain stupid they seem incapable of invading your personal space, never mind occupying the home turf of a global superpower. Yet on other occasions you can be in full cover, crouched behind a solid wall on the down-low, and the AI cranks the enemy up to 'Super Predator' mode that can spot you even when you’re hidden deeper than an off-shore account in your wife's mother’s maiden name.  

Fight the power! While the idea of recruiting AI controlled freedom fighters on the fly is a good one, there’s no orders you can issue, meaning as soon as they spot an enemy they open fire, reducing any chance of a calculated co-ordinated assault. Rainbow Six this isn’t.

The technical flaws add up like a stack of broken lines of code. There’s a theme of screen freezing every time an autosave kicks in, sound levels rise and dip almost at will, respawn points sometimes land you right on the edge of the action or other times leave you miles from the melee... The list goes on, and dilutes the experience at every turn. And let's not talk about the script – such potential cast asunder. You never care about your character's plight, because you just don't get the opportunity to know him. Outside of the umbrella concept, there's just no hooks to drive a motivation that extends beyond repetitive run and gun missons. 

While there are bright sparks of gameplay initiative, such as weapon customisation and a separate co-op mode that adds half a dozen standalone missions to play through with a friend, the overall impact is one of a below-average shooter in a crowded field of better-armed competitors. Homefront: The Revolution promises big ideas, but is betrayed by poor execution. You’ll come for the premise and leave by the interval.

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Enemy soldiers seem incapable of invading your personal space, never mind occupying the home turf of a global superpower

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2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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