If you’ve seen Amazon’s excellent show, Man in the High Castle, or read the book it’s based upon, you’ve already experienced a premise similar to that of Homefront: The Revolution. Both stories take place in an occupied United States, which is a setting ripe for action and intrigue. In many ways, though, Homefront: The Revolution just fails to capitalize on the strong premise, taking serviceable first-person shooting and squandering it at every turn.
Homefront: The Revolution is a surprise sequel to 2011’s Homefront. The original was a sleeper that garnered praise for its interesting take on a Korean-occupied USA, one that captivated us enough to get us through the first game but not its ill-conceived sequel. Combine that with a rocky development cycle as well as major glitch, framerate and AI issues, and Homefront: The Revolution becomes a headscratcher as we look to publisher Deep Silver and ask “Why?”
It’s a shame, because Homefront: The Revolution had every chance to be a good game. The eight districts of Philadelphia that it puts forth are interesting when the action is popping but simple exploration, which the game forces you to do, is an exercise in pointless banality. When the action does kick up, the gunplay is good but it soon loses its luster when you realize your hero has precisely zero personality, your enemies are legions of easily-killed soldiers and the main antagonist is not a villain or collective of villains but an entire country. While an individual villain is certainly not necessary to make a game or story good, the lack of one here makes Homefront’s overall plot lack a point. The revolution is happening because it’s happening and you’re fighting to make it happen. Period.
Plot laziness aside, the game is plagued by shortcomings, both technical and creative. Both your AI teammates and enemies are pathetically worthless and inconsistent. Stealth elements shoehorned in simply don’t work as enemies spot you even without sightlines or, conversely, don’t notice when you shoot one of their comrades a few feet away. Framerate drops ran rampant in the console version we played, falling so low at points that we had to wonder how this game ever made it to retail. Homefront: The Revolution also lacks any kind of competitive online mode but has a seriously half-assed co-operative mode. That co-op is completely separate from the solo campaign and consists of six too-short levels that are supposed to be replayable, we think, but definitely don’t have enough excitement to make good on that claim.
Homefront: The Revolution is, simply put, a mess. It’s a game that we were surprised was getting made and, now that we’ve played it, are surprised it was ever released. While some of these issues may get addressed in patches down the line, charging gamers $60 for a game in this shape, even with a pledge to fix it, is unforgivable.