Review: Homefront The Revolution is a disaster, with great, but poorly executed ideas
I'm at a loss for words
I really tried to give Homefront: The Revolution a shot. From the very beginning, however, the game has been fighting me, practically begging me to hate it, despite me pushing back, and trying to praise it for some of its truly great concept ideas. Alas, it was a futile attempt. Homefront: The Revolution is indeed, an absolute mess of a game.
Let's set up the scene, shall we? Like Red Dawn, or the game that came before it, the North Koreans, or the "Norks" as they're referred to in the game, have taken over the United States. You, a rebellious freedom fighter in Philadelphia (a great setting for a game by the way) try to systematically take the city back, be it by taking down enemy commanders, taking over buildings, and disposing of as many enemy soldiers as possible. Simple, effective, and gets you going pretty quick.
Homefront: The Revolution adopts the Ubisoft formula of giving the player the ability to take over various parts of the map, effectively turning it from red to blue, signifying the rebellions takeover of the map. I was actually looking forward to this, because I'm quite the sucker for games like that. Despite the repetitive nature, it constantly gives me something to do. Clearing a building full of soldiers with your fellow rebels, either running and gunning or taking the stealth route sounded like a great idea on paper. If only the damn game didn't run like complete shit.
That's where the whole thing falls apart. In the email which contained the review code for the game, we got a warning message to please install the day one patch, which "greatly improves framerate of the game on consoles to a steady 30fps, as well as hundreds of minor bug fixes throughout the 30 hour singleplayer and co-op multiplayer experiences." I don't think the developers got that memo. At first I didn't think I had the patch installed, prompting me to follow-up to make sure that I did indeed have the day one patch installed. To my surprise, I did.
I was too mad while writing this review to include screenshots of the game, therefore enjoy some concept art, which actually looks pretty great
In most cases, and pretty much during any firefights, the game would drop to a staggeringly low framerate, which made killing enemies with accuracy damn near impossible. Especially considering how much recoil the game's weapons have. It honestly made me appreciate the care and effort Activision and DICE put into their respective AAA franchises, making sure they run at a buttery-smooth 60fps, because honestly that's what shooting games like this require. The fact that HF:TR struggles with this makes it damn near unplayable. I'm pretty appalled that something like this was allowed to be put out on the marketplace in this given state.
Even worse, the game regularly freezes to a complete halt for about 5 seconds, after trying to do important things like activating mission objectives, picking up mission objective items, leaving a weapon shop, exiting a building and so much more. It's not a stutter, it's a literal freeze, where you're stuck looking at a static screen for a solid 5 seconds until the game decides to resume again. What?! I can't even comprehend this.
Then comes the problem with the environment and its NPCs. The city, though I praise the choice of setting the game in Philadelphia, is bland and uninteresting, often just square or L-shaped buildings stacked right next to one another. The map setup tries to offer some "parkour" inspired sections, such as allowing you to jump over fences, providing ramps, or hopping through windows, etc. However, even this is a crapshoot since I found myself getting stuck in the environment, often times dying without being able to get myself free, and having the "Norks" unload their entire clips into me. The NPCs aren't really any better, sometimes not animating correctly or also getting stuck in various pieces of environment.
In one of the very first missions, the game asks you to trek across the map, not too far, but far enough that running there would take longer and it would be mildly more difficult because you had enemies sprinkled between the two objectives, which are able to take you down in about two shots. The game provides you with a motorcycle as an objective marker, asking you to ride it to the next point. Unfortunately, I took a wrong turn and was still murdered in about two shots. The game then proceeded to reload my progress back at the last checkpoint where I first got on the motorcycle, except the motorcycle wasn't there. The damn mission objective that the game outright told me to get on prior to my death, was now gone, which meant I had to now trek it on foot, trying to make sure I don't come close to the groups of "Norks" and their stupidly overpowered guns in order to survive. It took me five attempts...
Hey, more concept art!
Another objective tasked me with clearing the building and then activating a mission objective which would then capture the building as mine. However, there was no one to clear. The building was empty, and the mission objective was unable to be activated, since the game still thought I had clearing to do. I ran through all the floors, even managed to get on the roof. No "Norks." Fuck this building then. I moved on.
Horror stories like this are what consistently plagued my experience. It got to the point where after being gunned down due to the game's absolutely horrendous take on stealth (it's broken), I really didn't want to press Square to revive at the last checkpoint. I just wanted to lay there, like my other rebel squad mates, and just accept that the "Norks" have won. Superior in every way. Game Over, man!
It made me just as mad having to recap all of these horrifying events as actually experiencing them. Please, do yourself a favor, and tuck that $60 back neatly into your wallet. Homefront: The Revolution sadly doesn't really do anything new, aside from actually taking place in a modern Philly, and, perhaps that cool thing that allows you to re-purpose your handgun into an SMG on the fly. Even without the horrendous framerate on the PS4 (can't speak for PC and Xbox One) this game wouldn't really be worth the asking price. Gunplay isn't satisfying, movement isn't satisfying, stealth isn't satisfying, and exploration isn't satisfying. Sadly, there's not much else after that.
I hear that DOOM game is pretty good.