Moments of glorious chaos - like pouring lighter fluid on an ant's nest
peej about The Saboteur
I've been hearing things about Homefront: The Revolution for some time, whispers it wasn't going to be any good after its change of publisher and the small scale nature of it's development team (the remains of Free Radical Design fact fans). Heck I'm writing this after I've read the early-bird reviews which haven't exactly been glowing. So approaching this as a gamer who likes games let's give it a fair shake of the stick.
Norks. Not the beautiful lady bump variety, but the angry North Korean type are the main protagonists in Homefront: The Revolution's story. Seems that Kim Jong Un made the bestest iPads and other electronics , everybody in America went mad for them including the military, who also bought their arms from North Korea for some reason, and then old dodgy haircut himself flipped the kill switch leaving the good ol' U.S. Of A in some kind of Steve Jobs hell.
Enter you, the silent protagonist whose job it is to overthrow the rule of the awful Norks (seriously, did no one at the UK based studio mention how much we were going to giggle at that?). The game takes place in a rather fetching rendering of Philadelphia, with the map divided into yellow and red zones which can be travelled between at will once you've discovered the connecting tunnels.
You start in a war-torn red zone, here the Norks shoot on sight. Just being on the streets will get you involved in firefights and spotted by the floating drone cameras. Completing missions makes the area a little less dangerous, but it's always a risk to just pootle about in the open. Yellow zones are slightly more civilised with folk living and moving about under the watchful eye of the Nork. You are still a wanted man however, but you can hide behind people in the streets and take out cameras from a distance.
Homefront: The Revolution is an open world shooter then, with its map divided into manageable chunks. At times it reminded me of Far Cry in its structure, taking tactical points back from the baddies opens up more missions and targets for you to have at. Eventually, in a yellow zone, you'll raise the moral of the people enough to cause an uprising which in turn will unlock the last few missions, letting you take back that chunk of Philadelphia for good.
I found the gameplay to be really rather addictive, I'm not normally one for this sort of thing, I prefer more fantastical settings to my shooters, but here you feel like you are really up against it, if you take on the Norks in the open you are going to be brown bread in no time, you really do have to plan guerilla strikes, having a good notion of what you are going to do and always leaving yourself an escape route. There are also some light platforming puzzles to find hidden supply drops and a really novel weapon system which sees you modifying your weapons on the fly, for instance the pistol can be modded into an SMG or a pneumatic gun for silent headshottery.
Homefront: The Revolution is a fun game then, it feels like you are playing an 80's blockbuster at times, Red Dawn anyone? And the city is particularly well realised, with all zones being distinct graphically whilst also requiring slightly different types of play style. It's not perfect at the moment, there are some odd pauses caused by saving and coming out of menu screens, and pedestrian pathing can go awry now and again, but it's nothing game breakingly bad. Dambuster Studios should be commended for doing so much with such a small team I feel, because what is here is a fun and different shooter, and while its influences on its sleeve (Far Cry, Metro 2033 there's even a whiff of Half Life 2) in the end it feels unique in the way you really do have to engage in hit and run warfare, the odds are forever stacked against you and you know what? It's a lot of fun to play.