Homefront: The Revolution has had one of the most turbulent development stories in recent times. The sequel to 2011’s Homefront has been in development for over five years; it started with the now-defunct Kaos Studios and was eventually sold to Crytek, who in turn had to sell it to Koch Media after their own financial issues. It was finally completed by Dambuster Studios, and will be released through Koch’s Deep Silver subsidiary. The fact that it’s nearly on our shelves is an achievement in itself.
While some people got their romance on last weekend, a select number of Xbox One owners ignored the Valentines weekend festivities and were given the opportunity to play the game’s Resistance mode for the first time. This beta was a chance to test the online multiplayer before the game’s May launch and an opportunity for game fans to finally have a go at the four-player co-op. Available to play were three missions: Enemy at the Gates, Infiltration and A las Barricades, all of which we played over the course of the four-day trial. Here’s what we learned about Homefront: The Revolution’s online mode while playing the beta.
1. The Controls Are Heavy
Have you ever had that dream where you’re running but you seem to be stuck in mud and so you can’t run as fast as you’d like to go? Homefront’s controls are bit like that, although not quite as slow. Running, jumping and shooting all feel more difficult than they should be, the lack of speed being especially frustrating when you need to get out of the line of fire and into some form of safe zone. Having such control problems doesn’t make the game unplayable, but it does make movements feel less realistic or natural.
2. You Aren’t Forced Into Games
This may sound like a good thing, but it’s really not. Unlike other multiplayer games, Homefront’s game lobbies don’t have a timer on them. This means that when all the required players have joined your match, the game won’t automatically count down to the start. Instead, at least two players have to click “Ready” and tell the game that they’re wanting to play. Giving participants the power to start matches isn’t a good idea, with many people taking the proverbial piss. This lack of control from the game actually causes less missions to be played, as well as unnecessary frustration.
3. You Can’t Customize Your Weapons Before A Match
In order to get new weapons and gear, you’ll need to buy crates. These can be purchased via the in-game currency that you earn, as well as with real money when the game launches in May. The items you unlock can be equipped through the menu screen, but customizing your weapon cannot be. Instead you have to do this during the actual mission, which is ridiculous. A design choice no doubt added to try and make aspects of Homefront’s multiplayer different from the rest, this is an example of how change isn’t always good.
4. You Must Rely On Your Fellow Players
Running and gunning is not advised in Homefront’s multiplayer—working together to achieve game objectives is basically necessary. Enemy at the Gates especially requires teamwork, having to protect your fellow comrades as they hack being of the utmost importance. When you die is when you really need to rely on your fellow players. You have one minute to be revived and if you’re not, you have to wait until the next mission checkpoint to join the action again. This aspect brings the best and worst out in people, and leaves you with no choice as to whether you’re left for dust or picked back up.
5. Everyone Can Loot The Same Bodies
Not many games let each player loot the same fallen enemies, but Homefront: The Revolution does. The main thing that can be taken from killed foes is ammo, which is easily and quickly used up during missions. With everyone having the same amount of people to loot and potential ammo to grab, this eliminates the chance that one player could take it all and leave everyone else empty. The inclusion of shared ammo suggests Dambuster wants everyone to be equal, once again reinforcing the idea of being and working as a team rather than individuals.
6. The More You Play, The Better It Gets
The problems with Homefront’s Resistance mode are frustrating, the controls being especially annoying as they affect play the most. However, the more missions you play, the more Homefront’s multiplayer becomes a lot of fun. The balance between challenging and rewarding action is just right, the normal setting being the most preferred for an evenly matched game. Last Man Standing is its most enjoyable aspect: succeeding in reaching the next checkpoint means bringing your fellow teammates back to life, which gives you a real sense of achievement and self-worth within the team.
7. Infiltration Is The Best Mission
Of the three modes that were available to play in the beta, Infiltration was the best. The premise of the mission is simple. First you have to gain access to the enemy’s base. Once inside, you have to locate some valuable trucks and help clear the base so they can be stolen. The real action begins at the end of the mission, where you have to escort the trucks to a rendezvous point. Requiring players to think tactically, Infiltration was the most exciting and varied of the missions available. It was also the most gratifying, keeping the trucks intact feeling like a well-earned accomplishment.
8. There’s Lots Of Work To Be Done Before Launch Day
Homefront: The Revolution needs improvements, and these need to be made before the game reaches the general public. In addition to the problems mentioned above, it doesn’t really look or feel like a current-gen title. Instead this Homefront feels a bit old, which is disappointing for a game that doesn’t have to worry about the technical constraints of old hardware. Then there are the many bugs found within the beta, with being able to walk through bodies and enemies dying in odd positions just a few of the ones encountered. There’s a interesting multiplayer mode lurking underneath Homefront: The Revolution’s problems, and let’s hope Dambuster can unearth it in time.
Emma Quinlan is a Manchester based freelancer who specializes in jabbering on about games. She’s written for VICE Gaming, gamesTM and Stuff.tv. You can see more of her work here.