Homefront: The Revolution is not a direct sequel to 2011’s Homefront by THQ, but it does visit a familiar setting. Check our review of Deep Silver’s re-imagining of Homefront below.
You don’t have to be familiar with the original Homefront to understand what type of game this is. Instead, you can just watch a movie like Red Dawn to get the general idea – North Korea has managed to invade the US and has taken over control of the country through the use of reverse engineered technology. With most of the country on the defense, you’re part of a resistance movement operating out of Philadelphia.
While the original Homefront – which actually preceded Red Dawn’s 2012 remake – was a relatively linear FPS experience, Homefront: The Revolution takes a different approach. This time around, the game is built around a semi-open world framework, where you have a choice as to which mission you want to tackle first within the zone of the map that’s currently available to you. Complete that part of the map (by tackling the story missions) and you move on to another zone.
What’s a shame about this formula – and really a danger that many open world shooters face – is that the action never feels as dramatic as it could, and perhaps should. The “resistance movement” premise lends itself really well to some excellent storytelling, but this never really materializes in Homefront’s campaign. Instead, missions are often rather formulaic and almost completely devoid of the tense scenes we see in the campaign modes of Call of Duty or Battlefield. There are sparks here and there of the potential that the Homefront franchise still has, but unfortunately a lot of it is going to waste.
It doesn’t matter if you generally prefer the open world approach or not, but the last couple of Far Cry games have shown how such a game can be built up. There’s a main story line with its corresponding missions, and then there are additional missions of various kinds that help you develop your character or give you a strategic advantage in upcoming story missions. Very slight bits of this can be found in Homefront, but it’s of the “lite” variety at best. Again, the potential for greatness would have definitely been there: mission to recruit allies, missions to unlock underground arms dealers, missions to uncover more intel – instead, most side missions just see you killing as many Koreans as possible in order to reclaim more of the map as quickly as possible.
On the positive side, Homefront: The Revolution does offer a lot more content than the 2011 game did – the new campaign clocking in at a solid 13+ hours on our first playthrough. This, together with the game’s excellent setting, is what saves the game from being sub-par. Homefront’s visuals and gameplay don’t stand up to the dramatic flair that EA and Activision pour into their shooter campaigns – but past that disappointment there’s still an okay shooter with a really interesting backstory to be played here.