This past weekend saw the beta for Homefront: The Revolution go live. The basic premise of the title is leading a resistance force against the Korean army, also referred to as the KPA throughout the game. The beta only offers three missions for players to complete in the “Resistance” game mode, providing a sampling of several different objectives and environments. However, regardless of where in war-torn Philadelphia you find yourself, it’s going to look about as bleak as you can possibly imagine. Despite the overwhelming amount of grey, brown, and black found in the environment, the missions do provide some varied scenery. Infiltrating a KPA base, escorting a caravan through several suburban blocks, or helping another squad fight off the KPA in the downtown core are your missions in the beta, and when you’re not fighting the hordes of enemies, taking a look at your surroundings allows you to realize there is actually more diversity in the level design than you may believe. I found myself initially brushing off the environment as all being too similar, but it was because of the bleak colours and complete destruction of the city, resembling large piles of rubble. That being said, the three levels chosen for the beta do a nice job of forcing players into close-quarters combat in one level while providing much less cover in another.
Unfortunately, the beta had incredibly clunky shooting mechanics and very lackluster enemies. I’ve never experienced so much recoil from assault rifles in games before, let alone in an FPS title. After your first shot, the gun shoots upwards, making the weapon all but useless in any situation that puts more than 3 feet between you and your target. The enemies that make an appearance in the beta happen to be soldiers wearing different colours of armour based on how much damage they can sustain and two or three combat vehicles. The soldiers can be lethal opponents, but only in large groups. If one soldier finds you, he will immediately get at least one or two others to join him in the hunt to kill you, but simply hiding behind a corner or car often seemed to be enough to catch them unaware again. Conversely, the vehicles are far more intimidating and will rarely be seen in packs, at least in the beta. These initially pose a great threat until you realize that their weak spot is a massive gas tank that runs the entire width of the vehicle and sticks out like a sore thumb. Getting a good shot at this gas tank does require you to sneak behind the vehicle, but if there’s more than one person playing (as there will be since every Resistance mission requires online multiplayer), the turret will inevitably focus on one individual while the other walks around to the other side. I understand that the game tries to offer the player hints such as painting the gas tank red to signify its explosive potential, but the sheer size and stark colour contrast makes it less of a hint and more of a flashing neon sign.
Upon completing any of the beta missions, each player is awarded a score based on their performance and medals they earned for completing certain tasks. This results in experience points and money being distributed, which is then used to purchase new skills or crates of various items. Unfortunately, rather than simply letting the player choose what they wish to purchase, you must blindly purchase a crate belonging to the category you wish to receive something from. Apparel, weapon modifications, and weapons are all separate, so even after deciding you need a better assault rifle or shotgun, you might unlock a new rifle instead. I’m uncertain of what logic was being followed while instituting this design choice, but it’s incredibly frustrating. Perhaps it was the thought that during a war, you only scavenge what you can find or that dealers on the Black Market might only provide certain items at certain times depending on what their sources have provided, but this is almost on par with the feeling of an MMO giving you weapons for another class. Yes, you can in theory equip whatever you unlocked for your next mission, but if it’s not what you were looking for, you probably won’t. Simply allowing people to pick precisely what they want makes for a more enjoyable experience, particularly in the FPS genre.
The good news is that the skill tree found in Homefront: The Revolution‘s beta is phenomenal. From the outset, an additional perk is provided to your player based on the background you give them, and the tree itself has multiple categories and at least five or six options in each tier in those trees. With so many options to modify your character, there will likely be unofficial classes in the final product as people create protagonists who specialize more in crafting and scavenging or healing themselves or others more efficiently.
Overall, there wasn’t a great deal of content found in the beta which left the experience feeling incredibly underwhelming and generic. The randomized purchasing of items combined with enemies which felt less than threatening, and clunky shooting mechanics left a sour taste in my mouth. I was waiting for something to make the beta stand out from other shooters on the market but never found anything which did that, and in fact it was quite the opposite. This was a beta, and there is always the potential for things to be modified and tweaked prior to, or even after, release, but from what I experienced, there would need to be a complete overhaul of the Resistance mode or an absolutely stellar campaign for the game to be stand out.
Eric is an Xbox editor for Analog Addiction where you can find all the latest gaming news, previews, reviews, and everything else that rhymes with those words. ‘Like’ Analog Addiction on Facebook to receive all of the updates as they’re posted.