Editor’s Note: This is a review coupled with a video review. You can watch the video review above, or read a transcript of the video below.
I’ve got a question for you. Do you remember that movie Red Dawn from the 1980’s? Or the remake with the fat kid from Drake and Josh that came out pretty recently that got panned by Rotten Tomatoes but was actually pretty decent? Have you laid awake at night wondering what it would be like to play a first person shooter that has practically the same story? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then I’ve got a treat for you, because Homefront: The Revolution is now available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Now look, I’m going to be honest, I have no memory of the first Homefront at all. While I do remember playing the game, I’m having a hard time remembering a single thing I did in it. In fact the only memory I have of Homefront was one night I was playing it and talking to my girlfriend at the time about the ethicality of Koreans today hating the Japanese for their actions during the second World War.
Make no mistake; I’m not telling you this story as a joke for a laugh, rather to show you I have no memory of the game and don’t hold any negative opinion on it either, because I hold no opinion at all. This has carried over to the sequel as well. Honestly, I just so happen to be there to grab the PS4 code that was sent to us. So I went into the game practically blind and with no expectations and honestly… I don’t know what would have happened if I did.
When you start the game you’re met with a new story to explain what led to America falling to the North Korean invaders. So we are to believe a country that can only manage to fire long-range missiles into the Sea of Japan somehow surpassed the rest of the East and West technologically?
I know it’s fiction right, but it seems like even the developers knew that the idea of North Korea beating anyone in anything other than number of cataracts per square mile was far-fetched, so they created an asspull where it turns out North Korea can deactivate all the technology they sold the United States.
This still doesn’t make sense, because the very idea of the US military not running every possible test on the hardware they purchase for a dictatorship that just a few years before were one of their worst enemies is laughable. It’s so stupid, that it actually kind of upsets me. But fuck it, it’s fantasy, it doesn’t have to make sense.
As it turns out, Homefront: The Revolution is a kinda/sorta sequel to the first game. This time around, you play as American McBadass, a silent protagonist whose crippling social anxiety nearly gets him tortured to death at the beginning of the game.
The rest of the story isn’t important. Just remember America Good, North Korea bad! Wolverines!
So, let’s get to the gameplay. After starting up the game, you’ll notice that this sequel was not developed by the same team who worked on the first Homefront, which shouldn’t be surprising, after all Kaos Studios, the developer of the original Homefront, or Homefront Classic as I like to call it, were owned by the now defunct THQ. While we’re on the topic of THQ, here’s a little piece of trivia for you. The day after Homefront Senior released, THQ’s stocks dropped by…..26% Oh baby, isn’t that something?
But how does this game fair? Well, it’s probably just what most people expected. Homefront: The Revolution is the epitome definition of “Meh”. I mean, if you were to look up the definition of “average” in the dictionary, you’d be greeted by a picture of Homefront: The Revolution. But does that really surprise anyone? Rarely do titles that move around midway through their development fully recover.
You see, this new entry in the franchise started out it’s development under Crytek UK in 2014 after Crytek bought the rights to the series when THQ filed for bankruptcy in December of 2012, but after Crytek suffered a minor financial crisis (Which, if I were a spiteful man, I’d say they totally deserved because they own the rights to Timesplitters, but refuse to make a sequel or even an HD collection).
They sold the rights to the game to Deep Silver and ended up closing down Crytek UK in the process, thus leaving most of the staff to move over to Deep Silver as well and form a new in-house studio by the name of Dambuster Studios, with Homefront: The Revolution being their first title to be released.
After you start up the game it’s clear that Deep Silver really influenced the development of the game after they picked up the rights, and once you actually take control of the main character, you’ll probably notice the game feels very familiar. That’s because the game is a mix between Dead Island’s engine and Far Cry 3’s gameplay.
No actually, I think a better way to describe it is that Homefront is what happens when Dead Island and Far Cry 3 had a baby, and one day while you were flirting with your neighbor and not paying attention to the infant, it fell into the pool of your apartment complex. Instead of water, the pool was filled with liquefied patriotism, and while you did manage to save the baby from it’s Red white and blue grave, it was never the same again.
This time around Homefront is going open world! This is a term that used to fill me with joy, but instead now fills me with anxiety, ever since Far Cry 3 released and redefined open world games as dull cookie cutter “Go here and take that command post” adventures into repetition. Homefront walks this line so fucking hard, you’d almost think it called Far Front: The Rehash.
Seriously if you were to ask me a week ago what is the most insulting game to spawn from the success of Far Cry 3, I would have said Far Cry 4. Be it that the game was just the same game over again, or maybe that abortion Far Cry Primal, and while both those games are still bad, they don’t hold a candle to Homefront: The Revolution in terms of how insulting it was to play.
Homefront is a game that tries to do what Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4 do but somehow manages to do everything worse. Whether it’s traveling around the occupied city or any of the actual gunplay, Homefront manages to feel clunky and unfulfilling in just about everything it attempts.
Taking control points so that the resistance has more bases of operation? Far Cry did that better. Driving around the map? Far Cry did it better. Weapon upgrading? Far Cry did it better. Even the gunplay, Far Cry did better. Honestly, Homefront is simply an inferior product all around, and that’s what upsets me the most.
That’s because if you were to go back to before Dambuster Studios were even Crytek UK, they were Free Radical Design, the developers behind one of the greatest series in gaming history: Timesplitters. I mention this to show that I know this team can make good games, and while it wasn’t all sunshine and unicorns, they have potential. Here it feels like all that potential was wasted, squandered on a game with lackluster gameplay and what’s even more annoying to me personally – a boring story.
You know, I’m a real sucker for games that have a good story, a great tone, or fantastic characters. If you make a game with mediocre gameplay but the story and characters are great, most of the time I’ll love that game. But Homefront’s far-fetched story about North Korea somehow becoming a super power isn’t enough to save this game from itself.
The main gripe I have with open world games like this one is that the developers often have to sacrifice a good story for the freedom of an open world design. While some exceptions do come to mind, mostly coming from Rockstar, it’s very rare to see an open world game that has a better story and characters than a more linear shooter. This leaves you with a bland story that can’t make up for bland gameplay.
I should mention again that I reviewed this game on PS4 with a digital code and oh my god, it runs like shit. Maybe it’s because I just got off the heels of reviewing the new Doom, but going from a game that managed to run at 1080p at 60FPS to a game that looks like it’s at 720p and 20FPS really knocked me on my ass. This is not to mention the game’s framerate drops even further when you do so much as look at anything other than a brick wall.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that ever so lovely feature of completely fucking freezing up during any autosave or checkpoint? This may not be an issue in most games, however in Homefront, the game autosaves a lot, meaning you’re going to be stuttering to a halt a lot. Couple all of these things together and you’ve got a pretty bad experience.
Now I have to mention that there is a 3.2GB day 1 patch available for the game that does fix some of the game’s performance issues, but many of them are still very much present. This blows my fucking mind because the game doesn’t’ even look that good! Seriously aside from some of the character models, which actually look pretty damn good, the game looks like it walked right out of last gen, yet somehow manages to run terribly! I don’t understand!
But you know, I’m willing to forget all about the technical problems on the PS4 when it comes to my overall review score for the game. I mean maybe the issues are only on my end (they aren’t). What this means is that instead of Homefront getting a bad review, it gets a painfully average one. Which is exactly what it deserves.
But I’d have to say, give this game a pass until you’re able to pick it up at a discount, don’t worry I get the feeling the price will drop rather quickly. Surprisingly there are some good things to say about this game.
Homefront: The Revolution gets five bald eagles majestically perched on top of an American flag out of 10. Homefront isn’t really a terrible game, and if you’re a diehard fan of Red Dawn or Far Cry, I’m sure you’ll find something here for you.
I’ve said just about everything I can say about this game, and now I need to wash the taste of mediocrity out of my mouth with a return to Doom, so let’s wrap this up. My name is Tyler Valle and make sure to check out Niche Gamer for all your gaming news, and be sure to subscribe to us on Youtube, as I continue to work to get more video content released and available to you all. See you next time.
Homefront: The Revolution was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a digital code provided by Deep Silver. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.
The Verdict: 5
- While the graphics aren’t very good, many of the character models do look pretty great, especially Dana Moore.
- The gameplay is so blatantly ripped off from Far Cry that it you’re are a fan, I’m sure there is something for you here.
- And honestly, my favorite thing to say, the Timesplitter 2 easter eggs ain the game are great. I had more fun playing through Siberia than I did at any point in Homefront. Honestly I wish I were reviewing Timesplitters instead.
- The environments are boring to look at when you’re able actually to look at them passed the horribly bright sunlight bloom. The world to developers, using bloom doesn’t make the flaws in your game. Trust me, we notice
- When I’m not looking at Dana, it feels like this game is a last gen title. Graphically it feels inferior to nearly every other shooter I’ve played on my Playstation 4 since 2014.
- The game runs terribly on PS4, with slowdowns, and FPS dropping being a very common occurrence
- Homefront: The Revolution feels like one of the most uninspired games I’ve played in quite a while.