Let’s face it, in the ranks of video games, first-person shooters can be pretty nasty affairs. And if the shooter in question is also poorly made, well, that just makes things all the worse.
Homefront: The Revolution is full of ugly landmines on both of those fronts.
This game’s story takes place in something of an alternate-reality future. It’s a time and place in which the American people have somehow become completely dependent upon the advanced technological breakthroughs of (wait for it) North Korea. In fact, we feckless Yanks are so reliant on that country’s technology that its treacherous dictatorial government uses it to bring us to our knees, crippling our economy and incapacitating our military.
In this reality, the Korean People’s Army makes something of a Red Dawn-like move, taking over American cities with countless troops, high-powered military vehicles and constantly scanning hover drones. And it’s all in the “cooperative effort of rebuilding the devastated America and helping it pay back its many debts.”
Not surprisingly, that bloody takeover and hard-fisted occupation become the catalyst for the downtrodden masses to revolt. Playing a stoic guerrilla fighter named Ethan Brady, gamers take to the streets in the city of Philadelphia, joining an underground resistance movement that’s outgunned, disorganized and desperate.
From there it’s just a matter of taking aim at a 20- to 25-hour gaming grind of killing quests. The story is terrible and at times ridiculous. The characters are eye-rollingly bad. The digital design is buggy. And the trigger-pulling gameplay is tedious and gory.
Things kick off, for example, with an introductory story setup that devolves into a torture scene in which a woman is executed with a gunshot to the head while a man is graphically pummeled to death by a hammer. And that’s just the start of the nonstop bloodletting in Homefront: The Revolution.
Gamers use pistols, machine guns, sniper rifles, grenades, rocket launchers and bombs to splatter their enemies from afar. Meanwhile bladed weapons allow players to sneak up and stab a foe in the back, chest or jugular. Blood spray abounds, no matter what death-dealing implement is selected.
On top of that mess, frequent foul language ranges from the crude to the truly profane. F- and s-words are unavoidable, accompanied by misuses of God’s name, milder profanities and a crude slang term for oral sex. Female rebels wear revealing outfits, and gamers will encounter subtle sexual innuendo and talk of drug use, too.
Amid all of this grinding gratuity there is one character who stands out as a voice of reason. He’s a doctor who blanches at all the hacking and killing being perpetrated around him, and he says, “I’d rather be a good man enslaved than a monster in the cause of freedom.”
Nobody really pays any attention to him. Probably because he’s about the only good man in a shooter that’s anything but.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.