To EA, Ubisoft, Activision and Bethesda,
Hey guys, how’s tricks? Here’s my review of Homefront: Revolution. Let me know if this is up to scratch, and if you’re happy I’ll take my payment in the usual manner.
Writing about Homefront: Revolution is weird and difficult. In no way is it a terrible game, but I'm hard pressed to call it excellent or recommend it. In every area where it excels, it also has a glaring flaw.
The graphics are nice, with great characters, lighting and areas, but they cause the game to run at an inconsistent framerate, freeze regularly and generally misbehave. The atmosphere and characters are great, but the overall story is politically awkward, racially insensitive and painfully generic. The gunplay is responsive and full of variety, but lacks punch and physicality. The open world is pretty and the sense of freeing a city is exciting, but it's a familiar grind that feels like little more than a concrete Far Cry.
What can I say, guys?
Right, next up I’m going to mention the way the game looks and runs. A quick google will find a lot of examples of awful bugs and terrible pathfinding AI that would be embarrassing in a 90s RTS. I never personally had anything too gamebreaking, but the framerate was shuddery enough to hinder play and the game regularly bit off more than it could chew, freezing for a second. Now, I know a lot of these issues can and probably will be patched out but this game is being sold now at full whack. I’ll point that out, and how it isn’t really acceptable, if you guys promise to put me up in a swanky hotel next time I review one of your games.
Graphically, the game has some pretty tasty fidelity, with impressive character models and lighting in a world that combines convincingly decaying grime and some impressive tech-noir neon. All of this comes at a cost, however: open areas are drenched in a thick fog that wouldn’t look out of place on the N64, and the large areas are full of samey architecture and repeated assets. Realism and immersion are constantly ruined by weird bugs. The motorbike looks really good, until you turn one way and look the other only to see where your arm just stops.
The game, when it works, is an open-world FPS, but it hardly needs to be. The open-world is full of fairy boring busywork, and the main missions are hindered by it. Objectives can get lost in the huge map, and important firefights that should be exciting can be ruined by open escape routes and overlevelled equipment. Ubisoft, y’all sure you want me to say this stuff about open worlds being boring and pointless? You might be shooting yourself in the foot there.
Why are we travelling to these objective markers and completing these vague goals? We’re in a future where the height of technology is made in North Korea. America has turned to these Korean companies for all their gadgets, gizmos and even weapons. The writers seem oblivious to the fact than an oppressed populace with no avenue for creative expression is unlikely to create the most amazing technology.
In fact, this alternative history imagines the entire nation of Korea as a country of supervillains, rather than normal people victimised by a terrifying regime. So naturally, they switch off all America’s weapons and invade, oppressing the populous and doing vague villainous things.
There’s no lack of racism in Homefront: Revolution’s depiction of North Koreans. An endless army of identikit Asians, all willing to execute civilians and generally behave like Daleks. Characters refer to them as “Norks”. The creators obviously don’t understand the concept of racial slurs; they aren’t offensive because the elder gods handed us a list of words not to say, but because of the history and hatred associated with them. Creating a new way to express hatred for an entire people is no better than using an existing one.
This game’s politics are really weird. A revolutionary movement of underdogs fighting an occupying force of armoured foreign soldiers, accompanied by armoured vehicles and skies full of drones, is a very real setting. In the real world, though, the villain in this story is America. In their desperation to be underdogs, the developers of Homefront: Revolution jump through ridiculous storytelling hoops. The villains’ motivations are presented like cartoon villains, gripping America in an iron fist for no other reason than to do it. The story is so ludicrous, it would be better to just go one step further and feature aliens or robots, to make at least a little bit of sense.
Do you guys want me to keep in all this stuff about the racism and the politics? You only really make games about white guys with stubble shooting foreigners yourselves…
Ignoring the politics for a moment, and assuming you’ve got the game running and you like open-world checklists, the bulk of the game is spent shooting. It works well enough, with responsive controls and a nice enough little crafting system. Enemy placements and configurations, along with the weapons and tools available, allow for improvisation and tactics but rarely provided me with those moments the best shooters create, where the player feels like a badass action hero. Should I mention this? I’ve heard opinions don’t belong in reviews.
Overall, I still don’t really know how to conclude this one. I can’t condemn this game to the pits of hell or anything. I had some enjoyment with the shooting, and the graphics were impressive. The storyline, for all the problems, had a certain amount of 80s action movie cheese and some likeable characters. At the same time, for anything it tries to do, one of you guys has made a game I’d sooner recommend. That’s worth a few quid, right?
10/10 – They’d have to pay ME to score it this high
9/10 – I’d maybe give them a 9 if they put me up somewhere swanky
8/10 – This is what I’d give Homefront: Revolution if you guys weren’t such good chums
7/10 – Nobody really knows what 7 means any more, I’ll give that a miss
6/10 – This is what I’d give it if nobody paid me
5/10 – The basic package; keep the cheques coming boys and they get a 5
4/10 – If you promise the next review event will have some nice nibbles and a free USB dongle
3/10 – £10,000
2/10 - £10,000 and you give me the “deluxe package” at the next review event ;)
1/10 – I’ll give it a 1 if you guarantee nobody ever hears about the incident at the Assassin’s Creed Press Party 2013. You know what I mean Dave- you know.
0/10 - As a reviewer, I naturally hate all videogames and gamers. I should give it this score. Maybe then, finally a girl will think I'm not a beta nerd who plays games, but an alpha male.
Love from Luke xx