Games of the Year

Homefront: The Revolution

Homefront: The Revolution Screenshot 1
Homefront: The Revolution Screenshot 2
Homefront: The Revolution Screenshot 3
Homefront: The Revolution Screenshot 4
Homefront: The Revolution Screenshot 5
Philadelphia - once the birthplace of Independence - has become a ghetto, where surveillance drones and armoured patrols keep the population at heel, crushing any dissent with savage force. Her once-proud citizens live in a police state, forced to collaborate just to survive, their dreams of freedom long since extinguished. But in the badlands of the Red Zone, in the bombed out streets and abandoned subways, a Resistance is forming. A guerrilla force, determined to fight for their freedoms despite overwhelming odds and ignite the second American Revolution.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

I bought this for TimeSplitters 2: HD Remaster! Was not disappointed!

Review from Steam

TimeSplitters 2 is a goated classic, idk why you have this whole homefront thing packed with it though

Review from Steam

This game's been panned left and right both critically and by popular reception, but I honestly don't see why. Sure this game is no 10/10, not even close. But unlike the cut-and-paste schlock that AAA publishers churn out year after year, which people somehow swallow whole and demand more of, this game actually tries something interesting. While its execution is far from perfect, there's absolutely a lot more here than there is in your annual dose of Call of Duty or any other pump-and-dump annual franchise. So let's talk about it.
The gameplay loop is premised on the idea of guerrilla warfare. The game wants to punish players for being out in the open and carelessly going about, directly telling the player that their enemy vastly outmatches them in number, equipment, and experience, and the only way to win fights is to use hit-and-run tactics and never engage in straight gunfights. There's plenty of doses of this here– vehicles and can't be dealt with quickly unless you permanently set one weapon slot to an explosive or use up craft-only equipment, enemies hit hard and you can run out of health quickly if caught out, civilian-populated zones are easy to get spotted in and result in being pursued by groups of enemies, and getting spotted by the red-zone blimps gets you swarmed. But the game seems really hesitant to actually lean into this dynamic and, despite the game's insistence, you absolutely can just stand and mow down entire armies, thanks in part to your weapons being very powerful and the enemy AI being... well, just flat-out dumb. You'll probably end up playing along with guerrilla warfare tactics for maybe the first 15 minutes you're in a zone, after which you'll have no problem just sprinting through the streets armed to the teeth like a madman with zero consequences (it is Philly, after all). This is easily the most disappointing part of the game– it wants you to play the hard way, but isn't actually hard enough to make it happen. And it doesn't sell the idea that you're an underground revolution trying to change hearts and minds when you get to clear entire police checkpoints single-handedly.
This is a Cryengine game, so we need to talk about the guns. Good news, this is done pretty well. Bad news, there's not much there. You get the choice of a whopping five whole guns in the game. Six, if you count the RPG. Each weapon (sans the RPG) has three "conversions" that you can change on the fly. Some of these are good– the pneumatic pistol is a high-damage, accurate, silent pistol, at the cost of a puny magazine, charge-up for max damage, and shaky aim while charging. The SMG, another sidearm conversion, rivals the primary weapons in effectiveness at close range, but its low damage and accuracy means enemies will definitely be able to react to it should you decide to pull it out. It's a choice on whether you want to increase your capability while undetected, or while detected, and it's a great choice! And while you can swap conversions on the fly, you can find yourself getting flanked and gunned down if you don't find a good spot to hunker down while doing it. But, there's some weapon conversions that aren't nearly as good. The third conversion for the sidearm, the pistol, is almost never worth using– and the game makes you buy the SMG conversion as soon as you get it, so there's literally no place for the pistol. Same goes for the Marksman Rifle and the Sniper Rifle conversion– there's no reason to ever use the sniper rifle, as the marksman rifle– while it lacks one-hit bodyshot potential– still has near-perfect accuracy, five times the magazine size, and doesn't need to cycle the bolt every shot. You really will just be skipping right past these unless you go out of your way to use them. Switching weapon conversions is also extremely buggy. Did I mention how buggy this game is?
The game suffers from a lack of polish, and it's blatantly clear this game was rushed out the door. To name a few problems. Switching weapon conversions often removes or changes your attachments at random, the weapon conversion menu is very badly designed, props can fling you into the air, prop physics often don't work correctly, the cover system is extremely unintuitive, the mantling system is extremely unintuitive, you get a boatload of currency almost immediately and you can buy everything you want (and most of what you don't) before the halfway mark of the game, gaining hearts and minds is stupidly easy, taking over checkpoints is stupidly easy, gunfights are stupidly easy, you never ever deal with scarcity in a meaningful way, there are virtually no repercussions for getting killed or killing civilians, so on and so forth. Not only was it clear the game was rushed, it's clear that the game's core design was always at tension with the desire to sell copies to the mass market. Like I said before, the game wants you to think you're some scrappy guerrilla using wit and the environment to outmaneuver a vastly superior enemy, all the while putting an entire arsenal in your hands and not giving you a ton of resistance about using it. It's almost funny that the game's about a second American revolution, then, the idea that the most powerful military might on the planet can somehow be the underdogs in a war of occupation. Let's talk about theming.
THE THEMING is not important in this game. You'd think it would be, since this game's supposed to be about playing a disempowered person in a disempowering situation, among the ranks of Far Cry 2 and company. But if the gameplay loop is at tension with this idea, the theming outright contradicts it. Let me start with an aside about graphics. The graphics in this game are paradoxical. The environments are BEAUTIFUL. Even non-playable rooms you only see through windows are convincingly designed and lit. At the same time, the textures and character models can look downright ugly at times. It's one of those games where the landscape is good to look at, but faces are not. And you'll be looking at a lot of faces as they explain the plot to you, the player. The plot's paper-thin and there's little in the way of narrative progression aside from "the good guys got more powerful and beat the bad guys". That's not necessarily a bad thing by itself, not every game needs to win a Pulitzer Prize, but this game very obviously wants you to take its theming more seriously than it deserves to be taken. Yeah yeah there's the tension between "violence begets violence" and "the oppressed have the right to overthrow their oppressors" but that's as deep as it gets, and this idea is only ever seriously explored by the player's own reflection– civilians threatening and beating civilians in the streets for "working with the enemy" when all anybody's trying to do is survive. I'll commend the developers for this– it's a reflective step you really never see in video games, shooters especially, aside from the occasional NPC crying on their knees about some daughter who died off-screen. But the attempts at immersive, empathetic theming are kind of undone by the game's racist overtones. From the opening second of the game, the "Yellow Peril" of North Korea is repeated ad-nauseam by NPCs and main characters alike. Was this game supposed to be a reflective look at the US's own practices of occupation and exploring when the use of force is justified? Or did it just regress into "foreigners bad, yellow man wants global domination"? I'll be charitable and chalk it up to lazy writing, but falling back onto racist stereotyping is never a good look. And– just to point it out– all the protagonists are white, except the token black naysayer.
Anyways, I'm out of characters. I'll throw this game a 6/10 for trying something cool but missing the mark on execution. I personally would rather see another Homefront: The Revolution than another Call of Duty: The Squeakquel, Remastered, Part III, Sexy Edition. It seems the mass market doesn't agree unfortunately.

Review from Steam

Yes, I fully recommend TimeSplitters 2: Redux.

Review from Steam

So glad they included a free game with Timesplitters 2

Review from Steam

I haven't experienced this game on release so I can't comment on that, but we live in an age when patches can actually change the game for the better (or worse). And in it's current state, Homefront: The Revolution seems highly underrated for what it is and what it accomplishes.
This game is a sequel to 2011's Homefront, a game which is regarded as medicore and forgettable. This game is only a sequel in name and the story does not connect with the previous title. Also, the story for this game itself is pretty mediocre with bland and unmemorable characters and is kind of what you'd expect for the game (Country is being invaded by a foreign superpower, let's try and take it back) so I won't really get into that.
Gameplay wise, it can be compared to the later Far Cry games: do some story missions, capture territory, do side missions, buy weapons and upgrades, etc. but there are certainly differences, especially in the "Yellow Zone" territories where stealth is more important. There is also a pretty interesting weapon customization system where you can change your weapon to an alternative weapon at any time (for example the crossbow can be changed to a flamethrower or a shotgun). The territory capture mechanic is also more interesting than in other games. Yes, there are some outposts that can be captured by killing all the enemies in the area, but many of them will have you figuring out a puzzle, doing some platforming on rooftops or finding and collecting items.
While the "America gets conquered by a foreign power" is not an unique concept, it is executed pretty well in this game. The areas you visit are varied and atmospheric, ranging from abandoned toxic ruins to well maintained districts where collaborators live in luxurious apartments amongst skyscrapers or a prison district where the undesirables are kept. The atmosphere is pretty similar to Half-Life 2, Freedom Fighters and even Metro 2033 in some cases.

The game has two types of zones which are "Yellow Zones" and "Red Zones"
Red Zones: These are all out open-world urban guerrilla warfare with Far Cry like elements (although smaller more hand crafted maps with less map marker overload). In these zones you are directly going head to head against the North Korean occupation forces in all out combat. The North Koreans (Or Norks as the game calls them) have superior tech, drones, scanning devices, armored vehicles, etc.
On the higher difficulties, you definitely have to use hit-and-run tactics which makes the whole "resistance fighter" thing feel real. What is super impressive about these zones are the amount of open buildings you can enter and explore/loot/use as cover or snipers nests/etc. I would say probably 90% of the ruined and bombed out buildings are enterable which is crazy. They are all very handcrafted looking as well. Some might be more simple points of interests such as abandoned apartments and stores with a few lootable scraps, and others might be full fledged enemy compounds you can take over and turn into resistance outposts.
Yellow Zones: These zones are very "Deus Ex" style hub zones. Super detailed, and slightly cyberpunk, with high security and KPA presence. Your objective here is to sneak around and sabotage the different enemy outposts and patrols until you increase the "hearts and minds" of the people living in these slums. Once increased, you can kick off what is essentially an insurrection, which then turns the zone into an all out combat area you have to fight through. You can play these zones in pretty much any style, and complete the objectives in any order you want.
I was surprised how these zones almost "out Deux Ex'd" the Deus Ex hub cities in terms of detail and exploration factor.
My favorite thing about this game is the gun customization: Most guns can be completely transformed into two other variations. For example, the pistol can be converted to an SMG or silent steel dart launcher, the rifle can be changed into an LMG or mine launcher. On top of the conversion kits you can buy, you can also buy attachments like scopes with different zoom levels, laser sights, bipods, among others. All of these customizations can be applied out in the field (including the complete conversion kits) with a Crysis like customization menu/system. This mechanic definitely helps convey the feeling of a battle-hardened guerrilla fighter desperate to fight against the oppressors by any means necessary as shown with the makeshift and ramshackle appearances of these weapons and their conversions.
Lastly, the bad things. The gameplay can get monotonous after a while, and the side objectives can be boring and tedious. Some side objectives can also be impossible because enemies stop spawning in areas that you completely conquered. The character animations (both player and NPC) can look janky, and the "parkour" is pretty rough around the edges. Both the friendly and enemy AI can act seriously brain-dead sometimes, but there's nothing that we haven't seen in other open world games. The most annoying thing is the weird spawn/despawn system for enemy group/patrols. A few times enemies spawned right next to me, while other times I tried go around a building to get behind a parked jeep and it despawned when I got there. Those flying drones also sometimes despawn right in front of the player for some reason. There are also many cases of of objects floating in mid-air, and effects not disappearing, for example the light-cones from flashlights and the electric effects from the Heavy Troopers persist even after the dead bodies disappear.
In conclusion, this game could have been so much more if it had a higher budget and a bit of polish, but all-in-all despite the wonkiness and ocassional bugs I've found it an enjoyable and memorable experience, with an intricate and atmospheric setting.

Review from Steam

I've got no interest in Homefront: The Revolution itself, but it contains a pretty good port of Timesplitters 2 (with mouse support rather than the absurd control scheme the original version has). Make sure to install the TS2 Redux mod to unlock access to all of the features.

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