You’re reading Short Takes, our sort of first impressions/mini-review hybrid in which we provide our opinions of a game in slightly truncated form. This may be a game we’re eventually going to fully review, it may be a game we don’t have time to play to completion and review right now, but it’s a game on which we want to share our thoughts. There are tons of games that come out every week, and we can’t play and review all of them, so this is our way of joining the conversation and chiming in on the titles that interest us as we work through the weekly release schedule. Short Takes will not include a numbered score.
What is it?
Homefront: The Revolution is the second entry in the Homefront series originally started at the now defunct THQ back in 2011. While not a critical darling, the game saw some commercial success — albeit not as much as THQ was hoping for at the time as developer Kaos Studios was shuttered only a month after the game’s release — before quietly fading into the shadows. A few years back, Crytek was contracted to develop a sequel until they acquired the IP outright when THQ's properties and studios were being liquidated after their unfortunate bankruptcy filing. After a lengthy development cycle, Homefront: The Revolution is finally in our hands, now the product of the newly christened Deep Silver Dambuster Studios, themselves composed of much of the former Crytek UK team. The Revolution picks up following the events of the first game as North Korean forces have taken over the United States. This particular entry takes place in an occupied Philadelphia as you, Ethan Brady, and an ever growing group of resistance fighters take up arms in order to reclaim not only your freedom, but your country as well.
Title: Homefront: The Revolution
Developer: Deep Silver Dambuster Studios (Crytek UK)
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4 (Version Played)
Price: $59.99, $159.99 Goliath Collectors Edition also available
After both the troubling closed beta on Xbox One a few months back, and a very recent play-through of the first game in the series, enthused is far from the word I would have used to describe my feelings coming into Homefront: The Revolution. I had extremely low expectations for this title. While the game is a bit of a technical mess, I am finding the core content to be surprisingly enjoyable despite being well-treaded territory. Improving on the debut title in almost every way, The Revolution does bring some merits to the table that make it a worthwhile endeavor for fans of the series and/or first-person shooters in general.
Open Up the World
Homefront: The Revolution brings us from its predecessor’s war torn streets of San Francisco to a large and heavily occupied Philadelphia. Whereas the first Homefront was a heavily guided, linear experience, The Revolution hands you a phone, kicks you out into the mean streets of Philly, and presents itself as a much more open-ended affair. Sure, you can simply stick to doing the story missions and progress the narrative forward, but the world will dangle a lot of distractions in front of your face along the way. Whether it’s setting up camp in an abandoned warehouse, or destroying KPA propaganda to motivate the citizens to stand up to the Norks as part of the resistance, there is never a shortage of things to do in Homefront: The Revolution. Accessing different areas in the game is not always as simple as walking through a door. There's lots of climbing and light puzzle-solving required in order to find ways to access new areas with the tools at your disposal. Motorcycles are available to quickly cover large amounts of ground, as well as fast travel points to the various safe houses discovered throughout the city. Scavenging for supplies is also critical as items are required to craft pipe bombs, molotov cocktails, and hacking flash grenades, the latter of which are capable of overriding locks and frying surveillance cameras.
A Technical Setback
The biggest issue rearing its ugly head in Homefront: The Revolution is the game’s performance. Constant, noticeable frame rate dips and even freeze-ups occur often (the latter happens every single time players visit the weapons vendor to refill ammo or purchase gear, as well as when interacting with random items in the environment). It doesn't help that these freeze-ups last for about five seconds at a time. It's odd, but if you're seeking a solid performing game, The Revolution is not the title you’re looking for. I've also encountered floating NPCs and weird graphical glitches including disappearing graffiti and recently reloaded crossbow bolts floating outside of my gun. While technically it never hits a Lichdom: Battlemage level of bad, it's still a very noticeable hindrance on the overall experience.
Should You Buy It?
I certainly wasn't expecting to play nearly enough of this game to justify doing this write-up, but at nearly 5 hours of play, I can't say I'm having a bad time! That said, the glaring technical issues are rampant enough to recommend holding off on Homefront: The Revolution until Dambuster Stuidos works out the kinks. Technical aspects aside, though, there is a surprisingly neat game to be experienced here. Fans of the first game will likely find something to like about what Deep Silver Dambuser has done with the series, and let's just say there are definitely worse games out there. I'm actually excited to continue making my way through the game and, from my personal experience, I'm glad I gave Homefront: The Revolution the benefit of the doubt and tried it out for myself.
Frankie loves pizza, gaming, and controversial opinions. Follow his gaming adventures on Twitter @Vyprstryke.