Homefront: The Revolution is somewhat of a miracle. Its predecessor, simply titled ‘Homefront’, was both a critical and commercial disappointment, while the development cycle of Dambuster Studios’ first ever title has gone through multiple developers, and close shaves with cancellation. While it is quite impressive that Homefront: The Revolution actually made it onto store shelves, the game should have stayed dead and buried. It is plagued by a plethora of issues, which ultimately places this open-world, first-person shooter alongside some of the weakest offerings of this generation.
One of the reasons why Homefront: The Revolution is so disappointing is its narrative potential, due to the unique premise of a resistance taking on a foreign nation that has successfully conquered the United States. There are a few engaging moments, such as the opening cinematic, but ultimately The Revolution’s story is best described as forgettable due to a distinct lack of compelling characters or plot points. This is mainly due to the resistance fighters coming across as various military stereotypes that have been seen many times before in other shooter titles. The North Koreans are also underwhelming, as they lack screen time and feel like a hollow army; simply there for shooting practice.
The writing doesn’t help the characters, as it is made of either generic one-liners or unnecessary filler without anything of merit. The protagonist is also a mute, resulting in many unnecessarily awkward one-way conversations. Most aspects of the narrative feel cliché at best and are downright tedious at worst.
Outside of some impressive North Korean architecture and decent looking character models, the presentation of Homefront: The Revolution is dire. There are a wealth of bugs, glitches and more which range from laughable to game-breaking. Enemies vanishing before your eyes, people getting trapped in walls and everything freezing in place are all common occurrences in Philadelphia in the 2020s.
By far the most frustrating and noticeable issue, however, is the framerate, which is simply abysmal. There are debates as to whether games should run at 30 or 60 FPS but The Revolution can just about manage 20. It’s a huge problem which hinders enjoyment exponentially, as everything from combat to getting around the map feels sluggish and clunky.
For the most part the shoot-outs are average, but the game’s low framerate makes the controls feel awkward. Aiming and shooting are all right, but are constantly hindered through the various bugs and poor A.I. The design of most missions also feels rather uninspired and safe, as the first half of the game has you mow down the same few enemy types repeatedly without any real originality or clever level design.
There are a few stand-out missions, however, and there is a decent amount of variety in the second half of the game. But these are too few and far between the boring filler ‘revolution’ missions, where you must destroy a heap of Korean equipment; in addition to playing through poorly designed platforming sections in order to get the obedient civilians of each district to rise up and fight.
It is nice to see a once submissive neighbourhood slowly stand up for its rights and rage against the machine but the revolution sections are tedious because they ask you to perform the same mundane tasks over and over again. It doesn’t help that once you manage to get a district to revolt, you are unable to return to it and complete any outstanding missions. Maybe some of these sections would have played better if the technical issues did not rear their ugly heads, but it feels like a chore to complete boring objectives while the game chugs along.
The most interesting mechanic in the game is the weapon system where you can alter weapons on the go. The arsenal of weapons available to you covers all weapon types, and several of the weapons, such as the patriotically themed grenade, feel particularly satisfying to unleash upon the North Korean army. Unfortunately, t it is quite cumbersome to change a weapon mid-battle due to lengthy animations.
Outside of the campaign, The Revolution features a co-op mode which allows up to 4 players to take on the might of the North Korean army. While the mission objectives are not exactly ground-breaking, playing with others is much more satisfying than doing it alone. The co-op mode allows for plenty of customisation, as well as levelling up, so it always feels as if you are doing something which counts towards a greater goal. The problem here though is that there are only six missions, so you will have to replay them multiple times to unlock everything.
Overall, Homefront: The Revolution is not worth picking up. There are glimmers of potential greatness scattered throughout the war-torn streets of Philadelphia but, ultimately, this is a weak first-person shooter that barely works, let alone offers an enjoyable experience. It is rare to see such a lack of polish in a title from this generation, but Homefront: The Revolution is proof that what may sound good on paper can pan out as a mediocre product.
There are glimmers of potential greatness scattered throughout the war-torn streets of Philadelphia, but Homefront: The Revolution is ultimately a very weak first-person shooter that barely works, let alone offers an enjoyable experience.