Sunday, May 14, 2017

Defending Homefront: the Revolution (James Review Special)

I decided to join in defending things I like that are widely hated. And Homefront: the Revolution is definitely near the top of the list of most bashed things I enjoy that are widely panned by critics and reviewers. So here is my defense and feelings on Homefront: the Revolution.

Ok first I want to make it clear that while I know Homefront: the Revolution has a number of flaws, I just feel that many reviewers exaggerate those flaws or ignore the fact that many of them were fixed soon after release.

First on the agenda is the bugs. This issue more than any other is one I feel is both blown vastly out of proportion and has been largely fixed via patches. I got the game the weekend after release and the only recurring issue I ran into was the game slowing down massively or freezing for a few moments right after autosaving, and that was fixed. A lot of people seem to think the fact the game had bugs at all should be held against it, while I feel that one of the great things about modern gaming is that DLC patches allow bugs to be easily fixed after the game is released and I know of games with far worse bug issues then Homefront: The Revolution long after anti-bug patches stopped coming that don't get bashed for bugs like this game does.

Now the story. It is pretty basic, set in the near future on an alternate timeline where a technological revolution in North Korea during the 1970s led to the downfall of that country's Communist regime and it transformed into a capitalist technological superpower run in all but name by the Apex Corporation . The USA has been conquered by Korea after the US ceases payments on the debt it owes Korea, leading to an invasion while Apex shuts down all of the US military's equipment purchased from it.You play as a Resistance fighter in Philadelphia struggling to liberate the city. I haven't seen many complaints about the story and most of those come from people who seemed to not understand that this was set in an alternate history, or that it wasn't set in the same timeline as the original Homefront game. If you enjoy stories like the original Red Dawn like I do, or its re-imagining (which I haven't seen yet) then I don't think you will have any big issues with this game's plot. That said, I don't like the new ending added by the final story DLC because I feel it is too close to endings of other recent games with similar themes.

And finally the gameplay. The main game is an open world setting with the character completing a number of primary missions and being given the option to complete side missions to secure new outposts for the resistance or gain other benefits. Planning and caution are vital in this game because if you try charging an enemy base or patrol head-on, you will lose. Health items are rare, and the amount of ammo carried by fallen foes is low so running out of bullets is a regular concern in my experience. That said, I had a lot of fun outside a few issues. First, switching which of the three possible sidearms I was carrying was a huge pain as the game locked in the stealth pistol which was the last of the three that I had purchased from a rebel stockpile and would not let me switch to another like the submachine gun for quite some time. The gameplay changes drastically for the three story DLCs which cut the open world elements in favor of chains of objectives leading towards the story's goal. However, I greatly disliked how the DLCs use invisible barriers or exclusion zones to limit the player's movement. In particular the final DLC, with a description that talked about being able to explore a new map was very bad about this with several difficult battles where I would think of a plan only to discover that couldn't carry out my idea because it involved leaving the mission zone.

Despite the flaws I give Homefront the Revolution 7 out of 10. It is far from the successor to Freedom Fighters that I hoped for when I first heard that an open world Homefront game was coming, but I had fun with it and in no way regret getting it as a birthday present for myself. And as cheap as it is now I feel that if this combination of theme and gameplay is one someone feels they might enjoy, there is no reason not to try it. I'll never understand the hatred it generated or why I see it on so many worst game of 2016 lists.

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