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Homefront: The Revolution review: A mess of a game with grandiose ambitions

Hayden Dingman | May 18, 2016
This revolution should not be televised.

Poor Homefront: The Revolution. A brief note before the end credits roll rehashes the sad, sorry affair of this thrice-damned sequel—first assigned to Kaos Studios, then reassigned by THQ to Crytek UK. Then THQ went bankrupt, Crytek bought the rights to Homefront, found a new publisher in Deep Silver, and then subsequently lost the rights to Deep Silver. Finally, Deep Silver formed Dambuster Studios a.k.a. “Basically Crytek UK,” if you look at the employee roster.

And now here we are, with exactly the game you’d expect from that sort of troubled development cycle.

Rebel with a cause

Like its predecessor, Homefront: The Revolution ($60 on Amazon) takes place in an alt-history United States where North Korea and South Korea unified into a single military and economic powerhouse and invaded America. Unlike the original, Unified-Korea isn’t a unilateral aggressor here. Not really.

Homefront: The Revolution
(Click to expand)

Instead, America collapses—brought to its knees by crippling debt, unable to feed its citizens, with people literally dying in the street. Korea intercedes, bringing much-needed food and supplies alongside an occupying army.

But Americans being Americans, they’re apparently ungrateful about being saved from (let me reiterate) literally dying in the streets because their government ran out of food and yada yada yada Korea becomes the bad guy because...I don’t know. Korea goes from “Helping Americans” to “Shooting Americans” for reasons that are poorly explained, and this is where you come in—Ethan Brady, newly-recruited to The Resistance, which aims to liberate Philadelphia from the Korean People’s Army (KPA).

It’s an “open-world game,” in theory. You can go anywhere you want. But the game doesn’t really benefit from this set-up, seeing as it’s split into multiple smaller districts, separated by lengthy loading screens. You’ll probably end up following the critical path and never returning to earlier zones.

Homefront: The Revolution

Each zone is its own miniature sandbox though, and the separation ends up working thematically. Philadelphia is broken into Yellow Zones and Red Zones—the former being minimum security residential areas, the latter being Korean military strongholds where civilians are prohibited.

And they both look and play out differently. Yellow Zones are more intact, sometimes surprisingly so, and your focus is on blending in with crowds, on striking from the shadows with explosives strapped to RC cars and throwing bricks at cameras. Guns are a last resort, and your ultimate goal is to do enough miscellaneous odd-jobs (break cameras, destroy propaganda speakers, blow up armored cars) to inspire the native populace to rise up and throw off the chains of oppression.

 

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