Game Review: Homefront – The Revolution (Xbox One)


Homefront: The Revolution is a reboot/re-imagining of the 2011 game, Homefront. The first game wasn’t exactly a classic but it did have a seriously strong multiplayer. Unfortunately with the collapse of THQ it was shutdown, forgotten about before being snapped up by Crytek in 2013.

3 years later we got Homefront: The Revolution & it has pretty much killed the franchise stone-dead.

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Set in an alternative timeline that saw North Korea (I know, try not to laugh) lead the digital revolution. A more moderate government means they become the most powerful nation in the world controlled by the APEX Corporation. Meanwhile America has been fighting as many wars as they possibly could. They’ve been buying weapons from APEX putting them heavily in debt to North Korea.

The year is 2025 & America’s economy collapses meaning they default on their debt. North Korea’s moderate response to this is to invade & occupy the country (apparently with the approval of the international community). They manage this by using a ‘back door’ that was installed in all APEX technology. This allows them to shut down all of the military available to the US.

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Homefront: The Revolution takes place in 2029, 4 years after the invasion. Set in Philadelphia, it puts you in the shoes of the silent Ethan Brady, a new recruit to the Resistance movement tired of living under harsh North Korean rule.

The game opens as Brady & a few other faceless drones prepare to meet up with Benjamin Walker. Walker is the face & voice of the Resistance, able to motivate the common people to stand up against their oppressors.

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Before they get a chance, the building they are in is raided & the group are captured. While being interrogated Walker arrives & saves Brady before he is killed (the rest are all gunned down) but he is shot in the process.

Unable to walk, he sends Brady to liaise with another Resistance cell. This where the player is finally given control as you make your way along a closed off, predetermined path. It’s kind of a training mission that shows you how to climb & avoid the soldiers patrolling the street.

Anyway just as you get back to Walker, the house is raided & he is captured. Brady goes to meet yet another Resistance cell deep underground but is knocked unconscious believed to be a spy.

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Happily before the psychotic Dana Moore can do too much damage, Brady is saved by the cell leader Jack Parrish. Parrish knows of Brady & welcomes him into the cell, giving him weapons & gear for the fight ahead.

All of this happens without a word uttered by Brady throughout. It’s hilarious as characters ask questions then effectively answer for him. A silent protagonist is as lazy as it comes, he has a name & that’s it. No backstory as to why he joined the Resistance, just a bag of bones & meat that you don’t care about at all.

After about 20-30 minutes of hand-holding, lengthy dialogue & long loading screens you’re finally thrust out into the ‘open-world’ of Philadelphia. Yours & the Resistance mission is simple…rescue Benjamin Walker while doing everything possible to subvert & disrupt the KPA (Korean’s People Army) occupation.

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That mostly consists of you exploring districts, scavenging for weapons & equipment & taking over KPA held buildings. You’re free to mostly do any of these things outside of the main narrative but some areas are naturally locked off until you reach a certain point in the story.

Initially an interesting premise, The Revolution gets bogged down by similar mission after similar mission. You never really feel like you’re part of a Resistance movement as the AI are incredibly stupid. One mission that involves the AI driving a KPA drone tank to back you up is a lesson in frustration. They crash it constantly, fail to follow you correctly & then loudly complain that you’re leaving them behind.

Add this to the deafening silence coming from Brady & you’ll just feel so disconnected from the world. A world filled with ugly textures, pop-in & uninteresting locations. There is nothing to look at here, you’ll just be running past destroyed house after destroyed house.

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The story can be wrapped up in about 6-8 hours depending on your skill level. It’s not a difficult game but does have a few sudden spikes in challenge. The extra content comes from the side missions that see you assaulting KPA strongholds, powering up dead Resistance safe-houses & completing small favours to raise the hearts & minds of the citizens. The latter of the three will see the citizens of that district rise up when it reaches 100%.

This means a whole lot less KPA on the streets & citizens willing to fight back. This could have been a really interesting concept but it means very little. The KPA that do still roam the street will identify you still, even if your weapon is holstered. Trying to help citizens finish of a soldier will see them run in fear from you.

Ultimately all these side missions are increasingly repetitive & boring. They also offer very little challenge. You can blow up a grate to access a stronghold & the KPA soldiers inside will barely react.

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There is a lot wrong with Homefront: The Revolution but it does get a few things right. Jack Parrish is an interesting, likeable character & Dana might be a bit OTT but she gets to say some really great lines.

Weapon customisation is detailed & you can make some interesting variations tailored to your style of gun play. For example, my style was a fully upgraded assault rifle with a laser scope & a bulky but powerful rocket launcher.

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The last few missions are actually kind of fun, it’s still a bit too hand-holding especially in the final moments but they are at least memorable.

Sadly there is no competitive multiplayer here. Instead we get ‘Resistance mode’ a 4-player co-op experience that is completely separate from the main game.

Since release Homefront: The Revolution has received 3 single player DLCs. The first is called The Voice of Freedom & puts you in the shoes of Benjamin Walker just before the events of the main single player story. The second is called Aftermath & deals with the *ahem* aftermath that follows the end of game. Finally there is Beyond the Wall which ties up the Brady/Philadelphia Resistance story. Keep an eye out for reviews of all three in the future.

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So there we have it, Homefront: The Revolution. A game absolutely no-one was asking for & had way too many people saying ‘told ya so’. Ugly to look at, horrible bugs, lengthy loading times, a boring narrative & terrible protagonist just results in a game that most won’t enjoy.

The negatives outweigh the positives by some margin.

Homefront - The Revolution
  • 4/10
    The Final Score - 4/10
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