It’s no secret that the original Homefront failed to live up to the lofty expectations of its intense narrative. It did many things right but was also faced with limitations that pushed gamers away. Making its return to the first-person shooter game, Homefront: The Revolution looks to have taken past criticisms to heart, stepping out onto the battlefield with ideas that could set it apart from its contemporaries.
Taking place in Philadelphia in 2025 – four years after the North Korean invasion of the first game – Homefront: The Revolution eschews a level-based structure in favor of open-world free roam gameplay. Rather than taking to the streets as a traditional run-and-gun shooter though, the focus will shift to that of guerrilla warfare. Players take control of a member of rebel group opposing the Korean occupation and are encouraged to think through their encounters ahead of time and do everything they can to stay out of the line of fire.
According to Adam Duckett of developer Crytek, the Philadelphia of Homefront will be more than a static backdrop. Not only will this open world have day and night cycles as well as changing weather, but it will also evolve over time to match the player’s actions. Duckett describes it as a reactive occupation where the player’s actions will lead to America rising up to retake their home, giving way to a sense of hope.
As the title emphasizes the feeling of being a single person fighting to incite revolution, players will be fragile and will have to rely on careful planning and quick hit-and-run tactics to survive on Philadelphia’s mean streets. Shown in their E3 2014 demo, scavenging will play a big part in the revolution’s success. As the player moved from abandoned building to abandoned building on their way to breaking out a group of prisoners, a large amount of the items scattered about the environment could be collected for later use.
In a similar vein, the demo showcased the on-the-fly modification of weapons. Players will be able to carry weapon mods with them into battle and should they find the need to alter their strategy, can bring up a gorgeous menu that visualizes the changes that can be made to their active gun. As mods are switched in and out, the player is shown the visual changes and other possible changes that can be made. Its hardly a new concept, but the UI for modifications is one of the most attractive yet.
Weapon mods aren’t the only way that players will be able to modify their play-style though. Making use of the scavenged items in their possession, players will be able to make devices that will tip the warfare in their favor. Shown off in Crytek’s demo, an IED explosive was attached to the top of a discarded RC car to make a mobile and stealthy explosive charge. If this combining of items can provide a wealth of gameplay options rather than a short list of canned combos, the feeling of being part of a revolution could be all the stronger.
In addition to these instances of modification, the player’s phone looks to play an important role in The Revolution. Similar to how players could tag enemies with their camera in Far Cry 3, their phone will designate points of interest in the environment and allow for the tagging of important details like enemy patrols. Cutting down on on-screen clutter, this phone will also hold much of the game’s information from maps to emails with mission details.
While the developer demo didn’t go into much detail regarding the breadth of Homefront‘s open world, the framework for waging guerrilla warfare and idea of participating in a revolution as just a single regular person is an intriguing take on a genre that usually favors “super soldier” types of characters. The game is also set to include a co-op mode that will be separate from the single-player campaign, but the developers have stated that this will be elucidated in the coming months.
Are you intrigued by the prospect of playing as single revolutionary, fighting for a cause that is much larger than them? What features would you like to see implemented to flesh out the open world?
Homefront: The Revolution is due out in 2015 on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Mac and Linux.
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