It is always difficult when writing up coverage from a convention, especially when the coverage you are about to write is highly critical. That being said it is also incredibly important to be honest and fair in providing balance. So while most of my experiences at EGX 2015 were overwhelmingly positive I can honestly say that Homefront: The Revolution was a painful experience from beginning to end.
Homefront was a great little game that had flashes of brilliance blended in with standard FPS fare. It was always a crime that the game didn’t do better – although I think it is fair to say that THQ going bust certainly didn’t help matters much – and while some may have picked it up in a bargain bin, it is understandable that the franchise didn’t get a major step forward.
Homefront: The Revolution promises a lot. A world of guerilla warfare against an oppressive regime, elements of Far Cry 3, Battlefield 4 and Trials HD (yeah, I was surprised by the revelation that Trials HD influenced game design as well). Surely this trailer could only lead to a great gaming experience:
Well no. In fact Homefront: The Revolution was the worst game I’ve EVER played at a Eurogamer Expo/EGX show.
So let us start at the beginning.
The game opens with a hit on a convoy.
Tasked with wandering up to a ambush trap I stood next to it and the instruction popped up to pull the handle. So I pulled it. Obviously. Because an on-screen prompt told me to. I had pulled it too early and a convoy just drove past. I jumped down and threw Molotovs, screaming wildly. Was killed.
Next run, I noticed more of my surroundings while wandering around. Textures and detail were woeful. I don’t mean just a little ‘vague’, I mean that they look like they were created by Stevie Wonder in MS Paint. There was graffiti on a wall, probably something plot related and maybe even thoughtful, but I couldn’t read it. Perhaps my character was fitted with Robin Thicke’s glasses?* I headed back to the ambush. Waited patiently. Threw the switch and suddenly the game started to feel a little fun. For about fifteen seconds. Guerilla warfare is often not utilised in gaming because it can be a bit frustrating, and in the case of Homefront: The Revolution the gameplay relies heavily on the fact that you are outnumbered and out-gunned. With practice this could be a great game feature, but in my experience it was over played and it felt wrong to ‘run away’.
Soon enough I had the chance to get a motorbike out of a storage container – surely the enemies could have just seized these? – and I was off around the city. The first person view was awful. I hit a lot of obstacles and when attempting to drive up onto a rooftop – a feature of the game much hyped in trailers – I fudged the landing five times. Not through fault of my own, but due to terrible level design and perspective.
The motorbike simply allows you to travel from one boring generic location to another boring generic location utilising a boring and generic form of transport. The only excitement I felt in the game was when the scanner probes found me. I started letting them spot me just for the thrill. Which wasn’t the point of the game.
When I played Red Faction Guerilla I was using hit and fade tactics, but I had explosives and rocket launchers. I could drive a car through a wall. It was fun throughout. The same can be said of Just Cause 1 and 2.
Guerilla warfare doesn’t have to mean sneaking around, and while I can appreciate that in the age of MGS:V there is a crowd for it, and that in the age of Far Cry 4 there is a lot to be said in regards to borrowing successful elements but the gameplay in H:TR simply left me cold. Cold, bored and fed up. I wanted to leave before the ten minute demo was up, but stuck with it just to see what I could find of worth.
If you are a sucker for punishment or just feel that maybe improvements can be made, you could order it via our affiliate link. You sadist
* Blurred Lines, innit bruv.