Homefront: The Revolution Review – Insurgeneric

Deep Silver
Deep Silver /

Make America Great Again in Homefront: The Revolution.

Developer: Dambuster Studios
Publisher: Deep Silver
Platform: PlayStation 4 (Version reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Release Date: May 17th, 2016

I really wish I could write a glowing review of Homefront: The Revolution. I wish I could tell you that the initially intriguing presentation of a future dystopia is coupled with an engaging story, enjoyable gameplay systems, and immersive visuals. I really want to like HomeFront: The Revolution and, for the first few minutes in which you are treated to an impressively well-produced cut-scene, I almost did. But all great revolutions are made up of new ideas followed by the actualization of those ideas and, unfortunately, this sequel to 2011’s Homefront cannot live up to its ambitious name.

Deep Silver /

First, it is with great disappointment that I must stress the need to immediately address the game’s optimization problems, which significantly affect the quality of play. I experienced glitches in Homefront: The Revolution that I didn’t even think could exist beforehand, such as dialogue that kept playing when I paused the game and NPCs that would repeatedly walk into fires before killing themselves.

…Homefront: The Revolution doesn’t bring anything particularly new to the table.

I also encountered hilariously terrible lip-syncing bugs, consistently overt clipping glitches, and an immersion-breaking issue where the game would outright freeze for a couple of seconds every time it auto-saved. On top of this, the game suffers from an outlandishly uneven framerate, which ranges wildly on a scale of “sluggish” to “headache-inducing.” The resulting gameplay experience, compounded with the stilted first-person shooting controls and outdated visuals, is a pretty miserable affair.

Beneath all the technical issues, however, is there still a game worth playing? Well, maybe, but any potential that Homefront: The Revolution boasts is quickly obscured by its many problems. As an open-world first-person shooter, Homefront: The Revolution incorporates a whole bunch of elements from many of its peers in the same genre, whether it’s the camp liberations from Far Cry or the on-the-fly gun customization feature as previously seen in Crysis.  

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In fact, rather ironically considering its title, Homefront: The Revolution doesn’t bring anything particularly new to the table. While the story missions transport you to some unique environments and bring you into contact with some quirky, albeit one-dimensional characters, the rest of the gameplay is made up of repetitive busy-work as you endeavor to liberate the city of Philadelphia through a plurality of side-missions and activities.

Deep Silver /

In theory, and sometimes even in practice, this game could have been something special.

The majority of these side-missions, though varied in context, involve tired gameplay loops. You will find yourself taking out a number of enemies via stealth or open combat, neither of which are particularly gratifying and perhaps destroying some vehicles or hacking a wall device along the way. Developer Dambuster Studios does give you some interesting tools to play with, such as an explosive RC car and a motorbike to travel around Philadelphia, but they simply aren’t enough to overcome the fact that all of this has not only been done before, but it’s been done better.

Judging from what I’ve written so far, it sounds like I really hate Homefront: The Revolution, so why mention my desire to praise it at the beginning of this review? In theory, and sometimes even in practice, this game could have been something special. The concept of an America that is once again under foreign subjugation feels both fresh and politically impactful, and Dambuster Studios demonstrates a smart approach to plausible world-building, both regarding environmental design and aspects of the storytelling.

Even with all the visual infidelities, the studio has nailed the atmosphere and vibe of a besieged Philadelphia. The Korean Peoples Army’s soldiers populate the city’s dilapidated surface and their giant blimps imposingly glide across the murky skies, but it’s not long before you discover indicators of an active resistance working in the shadows, such as hidden networking tunnels and crafted traps for ambushing the enemy.

In certain moments, such as when I found myself frantically searching an abandoned home for crafting materials only to be discovered by a nearby drone and forced to flee, Homefront: The Revolution effectively conveys the experience of what it’s like to be a guerrilla fighter; an insurgent in my own country. This is where Homefront: The Revolution shows glimmers of great potential but, alas, these experiences are few and far between.

Deep Silver /

The story, on a more individual level, is sadly nothing to write home about. Your protagonist is another generic white man without a voice, and the narrative is less concerned with character and more obsessed with doggedly moving the unengaging plot forward. Dambuster Studios is ultimately at its best when focusing on the macro-political side of the story, rather than the more personal group dynamics of your resistance force.

Homefront: The Revolution also features a limited co-op mode, which includes a series of specific missions to be completed with up to three other players. It has to be said that the game becomes much more entertaining with friends – a revolution requires the co-operation of many, after all – and it’s a shame that Dambuster Studios didn’t incorporate this into the entire open world for a co-operative campaign. Nonetheless, the feature allows you to strategize and fight for freedom alongside your teammates, subsequently enhancing the experience of feeling as though you are part of a movement that is bigger than yourself.

3. <br />You can tell that a lot of people put a ton of well-meaning effort into <em>Homefront: The Revolution </em>but, regrettably, the game’s development hell has significantly affected the overall quality of the final product. Even as a politics fanatic who loves the concept of this alternative future, I cannot recommend <em>Homefront: The Revolution </em>in its current state. Even once you look past the glaring technical problems, the game is still a cut-and-paste mixed bag of worn ideas, marred by uninteresting gameplay and a largely underwhelming story. If you are looking for a good way to get inside the head of a freedom fighter, we recommend just reading <em>I Have a Dream </em>instead.<br />. Dambuster Studios. . Homefront: The Revolution

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.