Homefront: The Revolution review
PC, Xbox One, PS4
Homefront is a very unlucky franchise. The name, for some reason, invites spite often saved only for truly broken games, which the original game was not. Homefront's crime was too much ambition paired with not enough budget.
So, when Deep Silver picked up the franchise and decided to get to work, I was a little bit excited to see what they would come up with - they have some form at this stage, and Homefront's premise - North Korean's invading the U.S, a resistance movement rising up to throw off the shackles of aggression - is brilliant video game fodder. There's an occupying military force and there's no doubt that North Koreans are the baddies right now, completely irredeemable in the same way the Nazi's were in the heyday of WW2 shooters.
But regardless, everyone heaped scorn on Homefront, perhaps misremembering the game as worse than it was. Homefront: The Revolution isn't an amazing game, but it's a victim of circumstance: in a month where everyone is concentrating on Doom and Uncharted 4, Homefront just doesn't have the quality to make you pay attention amongst a review schedule littered with gems.
Homefront: The Revolution is a bit of a do-over. It's set in an alternate reality in 2029, 4 years after the North Koreans have seized control of the United States. Civilians are living in fear while the Korean People's Army are patrolling the country, but for now, your immediate battleground is Philadelphia, birthplace of the fresh prince and hopefully, the start of a nationwide insurrection.
In practice, I could tell you this was a new Far Cry game set in Philly, and you wouldn't be able to prove me wrong. Your resistance buddies are coloured in blue, your enemies are in a shade of red. You go around the map looting the bodies of those you kill for ingredients to craft, capturing outposts, doing missions and then returning to outposts and using a weapon locker to upgrade. It's so close to being a Far Cry game I'm surprised no one has sued anyone yet.
However, this means it has a lot of Far Cry's strengths. Playing as a guerrilla and moving through the broken-down city is really entertaining, and hitting patrols before running off when tanks and APC's show up is a pretty interesting proposition. Getting scanned by an enemy drone will summon a gigantic airship to come and blast away at you so you'll often want to ambush a patrol and escape unseen. How you do that is up to you, but there's plenty of options for shooting, stealth and even sniping, with many buildings offering wide vantage points. There's an impressive verticality to the city, and honestly, there are so many good ideas on offer it's hard not to give the team credit. The only thing that doesn't really work for me is the shooting.