Homefront: The Revolution went through hell and back during its development cycle. THQ was very interested in a sequel but unfortunately they went under and Deep Silver picked up the rights to the franchise. The game changed development studios throughout the course of development. I think it is a minor miracle that the game came out at all and the unfortunate thing is that Homefront: The Revolution shows this off all too well. There are constant frame rate drops. The story is generic. The gameplay needs to be refined in a big way. The Homefront franchise when it first launched was distinctive and stood out from the crowd. It had (and still has) an amazing premise. I really enjoyed the first title despite some of the flaws such as how abruptly the game ended. I wanted them to basically pick up where they left off but instead the vast majority of it was scrapped for a generic shooter with a Homefront wrapper.
As I received my review copy and was downloading the game I was excited. Being a big fan of the original I had waited years for a sequel that I knew was going to be awesome. I couldn’t wait to jump in and play the next chapter of the franchise. Unfortunately this might be the game that breaks my heart in 2016. The year isn’t even half over yet but it is hard to imagine another game being so disappointing. First off, I love the open world concept. I enjoy taking over territories and reclaiming strike points and other locations. It is somewhat like the Ubisoft model of games where you take over an area and slowly clear the enemies out. The Hearts and Mind concept in Homefront: The Revolution tied into this beautifully. I enjoyed seeing the contrast in the districts from the time I first arrived until the time I was done. I would take back strike points and other locales for the Revolution and in doing so I would win over the population that was being oppressed under the rule of the KPA. Once I got to 100% and completely won over the hearts and minds of the population then they would start to ignite riots, destroy KPA property, organize protests and more. By doing this I would essentially ignite a Revolution in the different districts that could help me get some of my objectives done.
I love this concept. That is why it is so heartbreaking that the game is a technical mess. There are framerate drops everywhere. If there is a lot of action on the screen you face the possibility of a huge framerate drop. There were some instances where it was so bad that it became a slide show for a few seconds right as I was about to pull the trigger and take out an enemy...on those occasions I would furiously push the right trigger to make sure my gun fired first once the framerate sorted itself out. There doesn’t have to be a lot of action though. Just standing in one of my safe houses buying some equipment...as soon as I want to back out of that the frame rate drops and you have to wait a few seconds for it to recover. The loading times can also be a big problem. If you get killed or are going to a new area or whatever the loading times are way to long. You are sitting there just twiddling your thumbs waiting for the game to properly load everything. There is also the problem that some of the side activities appear to be glitched which makes them insanely hard (if not impossible) to complete. Specifically the missions where you had to turn on a generator using a motorcycle gave me the most trouble and glitched out on me the most. There was an instance where a bike wasn’t where it was supposed to be so I had to find an alternate bike at a different location and then drive it to the first building and up a flight of stairs so I do what needed to be done. There was another instance where I need to turn on a generator to open a door in a parking garage but the door wouldn’t stay open so I couldn’t get through. Then later on I returned to that same parking garage and the door was mysteriously open so I quickly cleared out that garage and took it back for the Resistance before the game glitched out and closed the door on me.
Then you have the gameplay and it doesn’t work all that much better. There are cues throughout the environment where there are blue tarps draped over specific locations. When you see one of these you know you can climb up to the next level. Unfortunately when you try and climb it doesn’t always work. I would try to climb up and it wouldn’t register properly at times. Either the guy wouldn’t jump high enough or he wouldn’t grab the ledge when he was supposed to. There were instances where I had to try five or six times to get the game to register it properly. The gunplay is off. It seems like I would have someone lined up perfectly and still miss. This didn’t happen on every occasion but it happened enough. There is an option for auto aim assistance in the game but that doesn’t work. The gunplay is literally the same whether you have auto aim turned on or off. I couldn’t believe it and thought I was doing some wrong at first.
The story for the game centers around trying to take back Philadelphia from the KPA. One of the more important figures in the Resistance has been captured and you need to find a way to get to him. That is all the specifics I will go into just in case you want to go through the story yourself but generally speaking it is a disappointing effort. The first game was shocking, brutal and uncomfortable at times. It differentiated itself from the market and I still remember some of the things I saw throughout the course of that story years after having last played it. I don’t see that being the case for Homefront: The Revolution. I probably won’t remember most of the story by the time the year is over with other bigger titles on the way, much less many years from now. There is a Resistance mode in the game where you can play online co-op with friends which, theoretically, would make the game more fun. The problem for me is that almost no one was online playing and I couldn’t really get a match going.
Overall Homefront: The Revolution is a disappointment and that gets me depressed with how much I enjoyed the original and how anxious I was to play this after many years of waiting. I truly hope this isn’t the end of the franchise as I still believe they can do a lot with this premise. Despite what you might think after reading this review the game isn’t totally broken. You can still go through and finish the story, for example. If there is a third game though I hope there is a more cohesive vision and execution across the board. As I’m writing this the developers are promising that they’ll fix everything wrong with Homefront: The Revolution, at least from a technical aspect. I truly hope they do and maybe in a year or so I can come back and the game will run properly. It won’t fix the fact that, as I said, this is a generic shooter with a Homefront wrapper but maybe it would at least run well. If, like me, you enjoyed the original and still want to give this game a shot then by all means do so. Just please rent from Redbox or Gamefly first so you try before you buy. That way you will know for sure whether or not you truly want to buy this game or if you want to hold off for another title.