Homefront the revolution: Defeat from the jaws of victory

homefront the revolution is a game with a lot of flaws but it's frustrating as you can see in it and the systems it offers the glimmer of the game it could have been that game would have been great, but homefront the reviling isn't that game

It has a somewhat tortured development history and in someways it's something of an achievement it actually made it to release at all and when you finish the game there is a letter from the games designer talking about it's rocky past which is unusual. It came out of the collapse of THQ was sold on to other publishers and dev's (a few I think) as it went.

It's a reboot of Homefront rather than a sequel it uses some of the ideas the super battle tank Goliath's make an appearance and it has the america invaded and has to have a revolution theme but it's changed a few details here and there.

Anyway the game is an alternate history where instead of silicon valley being the birthplace of much of the worlds technology it's in north korea (silicon river they call it) the US buys all their stuff from there including all their military technology. Then the US goes bankrupt owning vast debt to korea so the Koreans (or Norks as the game would have it which I'm pretty sure is rude) enable a secret kill switch that disables all of our toys and then invade to get their money back by strip mining america and putting all the people in camps.

You are some faceless voiceless protagonist who has just joined the revolution in Philadelphia. They have a new leader who promptly gets captured and you barely escape into another cell of the resistance. Most of the game story is about trying to free the captured leader guy.

The gameplay proper works by having a zone and then doing missions and side missions and random events all to ferment revolution in that particular zone so that what ever grander goal you have is achieved (the story is mostly a side issue it's there but you can ignore it for the most part). This activity differs depending on the zone in question. There are red zones where it's basically kill on sight anyone there is fair game airships scan the ground looking for targets then if they catch you call forth troops. Roving kill squads sweep the territory there are no civilians. Then there are yellow zones where people live the gameplay here is more covert if you wander along and don't have a visible weapon so long as you don't get too close to enemies or cameras you can move unchallenged. If you do get detected you can break like of sight and hide inside various hiding places (bins portapotty's and the like) which will run down the search timer quicker.

The game is all about capturing territory and it has a variety of different mission types to do straight go in kill everyone missions, base capture, base sabotage, hacking missions where you have to find and hack a terminal (these get more puzzly as the game goes on but never too difficult) and a few variants. Completing one of these captures that territory and give you a base and reinforcements to work with.

There are also countless side mission which play more of a role in Yellow zones these involve rescuing prisoners or victims of soldiers taking out propaganda speakers blowing up tanks and armored cars. By doing these side missions you build up unrest that eventually allows, with some requisite amount of territory missions, flip a territory to outright revolution and the game does a good job of changing the game world to reflect the growing unrest. When you get to most of the yellow zones the KPA (Korean peacekeeper army) are firmly in control. One zone is a plush urban area the KPA keep for their sympathizers and collaborators it's a nice neighborhood with KPA soldiers guarding everything people wandering the streets to be occasionally grabbed by soldiers large recruiting stands with people handing out leaflets. As you take more of it over the people start fighting back the recruiting stands get vandalized people scrawl grafiti and so on when you eventually flip it to outright revolution the people are out openly attacking any soldiers they see burning their vehicles and generally trashing the place. It's a lovely bit of reactive environment which really makes it feel like you are changing things with your actions.

Int The red zones it also throws flashpoints at you objectives you have to get to quickly could be a control point you've taken is under attack or a drone with anti personel gas is about to launch or a load of snipers. You have to haul ass to the area and deal with the problem quickly.

In both areas there are also collectibles to find and radios to retune to revolution FM (which captures the hearts and minds of any passing people) and caches of weapons ammo and stuff to find (sometimes needing a bit of platform exploration to get to or a jump using the motorbike if in the red zone)

The large variety of things to do and the differing environments of the red and yellow zones make for very refreshing game play it never feels like you are grinding the same thing over and over you always have different things to do.

The game also has a small crafting system you collect parts from the environment and can use them to craft an array of utility items. You unlock more as you go but you start with the classic Molotov and then eventually work up to grenades, distraction items, and the hack tool (which will unlock certain gates and doors or briefly swap the allegiance of a turret or the armored cars or the mobile robotic gun turrets the wolverines. You also unlock different ways of using those four explosive thingys every one starts off with a thrown grenade/Molotov mode then there is the proximity detonation mode you can place one in the path of an armored convoy to take it out. Next is the remote detonation mode where you can put down one of the four and then trigger it remotely. The final mode is the RC car mode where you get a first person view from the RC car you can drive it to a target then remote trigger it. The game this last one for some puzzling where a door can only be opened from the inside by an explosion or hack tool.

The weapon system is also interesting you start with a pistol and as the game goes on you unlock or buy new weapons until you have 6 (piston, shotgun, assault rifle, battle rifle, crossbow, rocket launcher) but each weapon (except the rocket launcher) has two other configurations you can switch it to and a variety of add on parts you can configure. The pistol can become a submachine gun or a pnumatic dart launcher that charges to fire for more damage. The assault rifle a light machine gun or a Limpet Mine Launcher. The battle rifle has a sniper rifle or weird firework launcher which fires in red white and blue (freedom launcher). Shotgun has full auto mode or the fun napalm launching inferno Launcher (my personal favorite). The crossbow has blunderbus or flamethrower. You get to carry two weapons (one locked to pistol) at the start then three later but because of their reconfigurability you can retool them in the field (you can swap them out at weapon stations in captured bases). Add ons like scopes or better barrels or stands or grips add to the weapons stats. You can also then spend money to upgrade the weapons to increase their firepower. It's something I wish they'd taken further added some more weapon types as if feels like I unlocked them all quite quickly and then the system (which uses tech points gained through capturing things) was essentially then finished with I ended the game with hundreds of unspent tech points as there was nothing left to spend it on it feels like they must have intended to add more things but ran out of time or switched tracks and left only part of the system implemented.

The level of choice also reflects how you can attack objectives, you can run right in guns blazing (you can also recruit some of the fellow revolutionaries for some additional bullet sponges the ai is not great more on that later) or sneak in through one of the destructible vents or even use a motor bike to jump a ramp and over the protective walls, or run an rc hack tool in to override the defenses, yellow zone ones also usually have some secret path you can take that allows you to sneak past the defenses by climbing to a vent or cutting open a gate or some such.

So far so good so why do I say it's a bad game well for all it's innovation and multiple ways to play it has some pretty large faults. The AI is rubbish your team mates if you use them will get in the way constantly they will also not recognize where you are so sometimes you are in cover and a AI team mate will try and occupy that same place and push you out. The enemy AI isn't much better it will get confused start running backwards and forwards out of cover making it easy to hit or sometimes just stand there doing nothing.

The game logic also likes spawning enemies out of nowhere or occasionally despawning them in front of you. Some of the assaults have enemies appearing out of nowhere and then running at you to die in a pile.

You are also made of tissue paper in the harder fights unless you have full complement of healing packs and good luck you will get shredded to pieces in seconds. There is no real penalty to dying you respawn back at the nearest safehouse and you lose what ever valuables you have which are things you can collect to exchange for money to buy upgrades but they are everywhere and money is rarely a problem. It does get frustrating to go out die respawn die respawn die again. It get's really tedious on some of the story missions where if you die you go back to the last checkpoint some of which are pretty far apart and usually there is no way to stock up on health packs so unless you made sure to be fully stocked going in you have to try and make do with a few.

It feels like a game that just wasn't quite ready it needed some more testing and bug fixing and then it could have been really great. As it is it's a game where the positives just barely counteract the negatives making something so so. There is fun to be had but tempered with a large amount of frustration. It's really a shame that what could have been a really great title is brought down by issues that could have been fixed if they had the time to do so. The story isn't much cop but that's a given in this sort of game.

As it stands I did have a good time with it when I wasn't getting killed an re spawning constantly. Not a game I'd outright recommend but if you see it cheap it might be worth a go and who knows maybe with some patching they will improve some of the issues down the line.