Friday 5 August 2016

Homefront: The Revolution Review (PS4)

Written by Bradley Marsh

So hear me out for a moment. At the back end of 2015 I came to a decision that I wanted to step down from Gamestyle. Life got in the way and I couldn’t dedicate the time I felt the site deserved. There was another reason though.

I just didn’t enjoy writing about games any longer, or to be more precise, I didn’t enjoy reviewing games and having to give an arbitrary score at the end of a review. How you see a game is personal to you and witnessing the reaction to not only some of my review scores, but those of fellow writers, I felt it just wasn’t worth it.

So why am I writing about Homefront: The Revolution?

Simple really, it is the exact sort of game that, in my mind at least, sums up my issues with reviews. I know if I had to score this objectively, it would have to be a low score, but for other reasons, I’d want to give it a much higher score and therein lies the problem.

From a technical standpoint this iteration of Homefront is bad, it is a broken, buggy mess of a game, highlighted by a few years of development hell. Had it have been cancelled I honestly don’t think it would have been a huge loss to the wider gaming world. It’s not like we’d be losing out on seeing the next Half Life, Halo, Metal Gear Solid or the likes.

It would be simple to list off the things that are broken with this game, such as sound issues when using the game’s ‘phone camera’. The shocking A.I that just seems to have no cohesion, the lack of graphical polish for a 2016 current gen only title, the awful story, the made up racial slur used to describe your enemy and so much more.

However you have likely read or listened to other reviews that have covered this in detail as have I and I can’t argue against those. Many of them are fact and can be seen for yourself as clean as day.

One special mention thought to the use of ‘Norks’ for the made up racial slur, because as a British person, norks means something else entirely and just makes me laugh every time I hear it used in the way the game intends.

Anyway, for all the bad in the game, there are some decent ideas too. Rather than follow the linear path the original Homefront went for, this has more of a Far Cry feel to proceedings and in my opinion does the open world things rather well.

The idea of having a large map, with areas you need to take over by completing objectives works well and drives things forward in a way that give the whole game a decent flow.

Now it doesn’t live up to the gameplay of a Far Cry, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I have to say, I wasn’t looking for reasons to quit out and move on to something else. The opposite was in fact true.

I would complete an objective, spend my various upgrade points and look for what to do next, as on the whole, each objective is fairly well paced, not outstaying its welcome or becoming tedious by making me try and do too much.

There are some really nice touches too, with the way you can upgrade and switch weapons. Using a base model, you find and purchase upgradable parts, which you then just attach to the base section, consisting of essentially just the trigger mechanism, allowing to create a decent number of variations to different types of weapon.

Some of these are pretty well out of place to the tone of the game, such as one which allows you to fire pyrotechnics at enemies and a very patriotic red, white and blue. Honestly, this is so stupid and out of place it shouldn’t work, but it brought a smile to my face.

That is the thing with Homefront: The Revolution. If I was to go through and bullet point all the things wrong with the game, it should be awful and in all honesty it is, yet for some reason I found myself enjoying my time with it. Occasionally I got to a point where I felt I had enough and should move on, but I actually looked forward to booting the game up for my next session.

For me, it is like one of those awful, straight to TV movies you’d see on the Syfy channel in the middle of the afternoon. You know the ones, with bad acting, bad writing, really awful special effects and in general from an objective point of view should never have been made. Yet you suddenly realise, you are at the end of the film and despite knowing it is bad, you have watched the entire thing, wasted 90 minutes of your day, but not come out of it any worse than what you started.

It is the same there. I know it is a bad game, but the time did just pass and I got to a point where the problems, well, they just didn’t matter. I was happy to finish it off before moving on to something else.

I honestly can’t recommend this game as one to buy, especially at full price, but I can say that should you happen to find a copy in your possession, then do give it a go, you might surprise yourself.

It is a game that I cannot also give a score to, because I feel by giving it a very low score, I am lying to myself, because I enjoyed it on the whole, but then I can’t give it a higher score, because it really doesn’t deserve it. 

So maybe I give it a Shark vs Volcano, out of Titanic

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