Home­front: The Rev­o­lu­tion

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

Dam­buster Stu­dios has re­booted the 2011 clas­sic Home­front, and given it an open world spin. Home­front: The Rev­o­lu­tion re­ceived a warm re­cep­tion when it was an­nounced, but does it de­serve cheers or jeers?

Story

The con­cept be­hind the game is an in­ter­est­ing one: it’s set in an al­ter­nate time­line in 2029, and North Korea has taken over the US af­ter it de­faulted on its debt. (It was the Asian coun­try that ex­pe­ri­enced the a tech boom in the 1970s and not the US.) The Korean Peo­ple’s Army (KPA) is in the process of strip mining the coun­try for nat­u­ral re­sources in or­der to gain the money owed by Amer­ica, and gamers find them­selves in the shoes of pro­tag­o­nist Ethan Brady, a man fight­ing against the KPA in Philadel­phia, Penn­syl­va­nia.

The war-torn city is split into three zones, with a traf­fic light-style sys­tem. Green Zones are the most af­flu­ent ar­eas where the rich­est and most pow­er­ful live, and is also where the KPA’s pres­ence is heav­i­est, mak­ing them hard to in­fil­trate. Most of the US pop­u­la­tion live in the Yel­low Zones. These are fre­quently pa­trolled by the KPA, which uses drones and tank-like ve­hi­cles to look for the Resistance.

Lastly you have the Red Zones, which are mostly rub­ble due to heavy shelling and con­stant street bat­tles, as this is where the Resistance is strong­est. It’s also the most dan­ger­ous area to be in, as any­one spot­ted here will be killed on sight, with backup called al­most im­me­di­ately. They are, how­ever, our favourite of the game’s zones, as hav­ing to sneak through the re­mains of de­stroyed build­ings and run across roads me­tres away from KPA pa­trols gets the blood pump­ing, and the gunfights are on an­other level when com­pared to the other zones.

The aim of the game is to get the pop­u­la­tion to rise up against the KPA and take back the US. To achieve this, you’ll need to per­form a num­ber of tasks in each zone, rang­ing from tuning ra­dios to the Resistance’s ra­dio sta­tion, to de­stroy­ing fear­mon­ger­ing speak­er­phones and even as­sas­si­nat­ing key KPA tar­gets. Each ac­tion you per­form raises the amount of resistance in the area, and the higher its level, the less likely you are to be spot­ted by the KPA on your trav­els. It’s fun to see the amount of an­ar­chy slowly ris­ing in each zone as you rile up the gen­eral pub­lic to rebel against their North Korean over­lords, giv­ing you the op­por­tu­nity to hit some of the key bases in the area.

The only down­side is that the tasks are, in essence, the same in ev­ery zone, mean­ing while it’s ini­tially ex­cit­ing to in­spire a rev­o­lu­tion, you’ll be bored by your fourth or fifth mis­sion.

While the con­cept and open world na­ture of Home­front: The Rev­o­lu­tion ini­tially sounded in­ter­est­ing, it was poorly ex­e­cuted. Sim­i­larly, while the sto­ry­line gripped us in the be­gin­ning, it soon lost mo­men­tum and by the end of the game, we didn’t re­ally care about what was go­ing on – and that doesn’t hap­pen very of­ten. For a game to do well in terms of its sto­ry­line, gamers have to form re­la­tion­ships with the char­ac­ters and in Home­front: The Rev­o­lu­tion, the char­ac­ters aren’t well de­vel­oped and we didn’t form any kind of re­la­tion­ship with them.

Com­bat

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. There are two things that Dam­buster Stu­dios does get right: Com­bat and weapon cus­tomi­sa­tion. The first of these is thrilling be­cause it’s not just your stan­dard coverand-shoot FPS, as you have to keep mov­ing from cover to cover,

We found that if we camped out in one (well cov­ered) lo­ca­tion and tried to take on the KPA re­in­force­ments they would soon out­flank us

ex­ploit­ing the en­vi­ron­ment in any way that you can. We found that if we camped out in one (well cov­ered) lo­ca­tion and tried to take on the KPA re­in­force­ments, they would soon out­flank and sur­round us.

It’s a sim­i­lar is­sue when you’re try­ing to sneak around in the Red Zone – the NPC’s aren’t blind, and if you go any­where near the pa­trol you will be spot­ted and pur­sued. The fun thing about pur­suits (in the Red Zone at least) is that you can jump on a mo­tor­bike and speed away, of­ten us­ing the crum­bling build­ings as ramps and bridges to es­cape the KPA. The in­tel­li­gence of the NPCs is pretty good, though not as im­pres­sive as the weapon cus­tomi­sa­tion.

In a Fall­out-es­que way, you can scav­enge the en­vi­ron­ment for tools and ma­te­ri­als that can be used to pro­vide up­grades to your ex­ist­ing arse­nal. The up­grades can com­pletely change the weapon, such as up­grad­ing a pis­tol to an SMG, or you can add at­tach­ments to ex­ist­ing weapons, like adding a grenade launcher to an AK-47. This of­fers the player mul­ti­ple ways to ap­proach any sit­u­a­tion – you can go in all guns blazing with a bar­rage of bul­lets and grenades, or you can play it smart and use a si­lenced pis­tol in­stead. There’s a wide range of weapons avail­able too, which should suit a va­ri­ety of play­ing styles, rang­ing from a pis­tol to a bow and ar­row.

The great thing is that these cus­tomi­sa­tions are easily switched out and, pro­vided you’re in cover, you can switch mods mid-bat­tle to give you the up­per hand when you most need it. It’s not a game menu ei­ther, as the player looks down at the weapon and phys­i­cally mod­i­fies it in-hand, giv­ing a more au­then­tic feel to the game.

Ver­dict

If you en­joy a strong sto­ry­line in a game, then this isn’t for you, as even though the con­cept is in­ter­est­ing, it’s not enough to keep you gripped. How­ever, the com­bat and weapon cus­tomi­sa­tion should be enough to keep most peo­ple en­ter­tained while they ham­mer through the cam­paign, caus­ing ri­ots through­out Philadel­phia and lead­ing the Resistance against the KPA.

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