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Homefront: The Revolution Preview - E3 2014

Resist the invasion and free Philadelphia

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Crytek, best known for their hardware punishing game engines and the Crysis franchise, have been diversifying in recent years, with Ryse for Microsoft and a few of their own projects underway. At E3 this year, we got to see their newest triple-A title in development, Homefront: The Revolution. The sequel was already in development when THQ declared bankruptcy, so Crytek themselves picked up the IP and decided to go ahead with their vision of an occupied America. Although the original game from Kaos Studios wasn't very well received, the new developers hope to create the sort of open world action experience that the unique setting deserves. We got to see a hands-off gameplay demo this year at E3.

Players may recall the plot of the original game, where in 2025 North Korea had successfully invaded the United States. The Revolution continues the story 4 years into the occupation, where the invaders have a strong grip on the nation. They even chose Philadelphia as the capital of the new nation to further decrease morale of the Americans, due to its iconic history when it comes to US independence and its many notable landmarks. It's a symbolic choice to show the dominance of North Korea, but at the same time it serves as a great motivation for the resistance force that's forming in the streets. Crytek has created an open world setting for the game in order to showcase the city and its terrifying conditions for the locals, from military outposts to ghettos and prisons.

Homefront: The Revolution

The Revolution is said to be running on the latest version of Crytek's proprietary CryEngine. The game will feature real time weather and day/night cycles, advanced civilian and enemy AI, and an evolving world. As the revolution picks up during the story, players will witness changes to how enemies and civilians behave, as you orchestrate small attacks all the way to open uprising. Players will be able to expand the resistance movement overtime, creating new safehouses, opening up new missions, and more in this free roam sandbox.

In the game, you are an everyday man, with no military training or social status to backup your leadership. As such you'll be in asymmetrical, guerrilla-style warfare, as you find opportunities to fight back. Hit and runs, assassinations, explosive sabotage are some of the missions at your disposal, always avoiding direct enemy confrontation as you'd never be able to take the full enemy force head on. Tools at your disposal will need to be built by hand, from items scavenged around the environment; examples include a radio controlled car for scouting, homemade explosives, and so forth.

Homefront: The Revolution

After all of this information was provided, it was time for a hands-off live demo. We found ourselves in one of the ghetto districts, walking about the murky, dirty streets on a rainy night. The people living here were sick, and mentally defeated. We pulled out our smartphone, that acts as a multipurpose menu with the map, mission tracking, and a camera. As we encountered a lone patrol, we snuck up and chocked out the guard, before disabling some nearby security cameras. Performing all these actions earned us Uprising points, likely an experience-like mechanic to be used in the game, though it was not addressed in our demo.

We ducked into a stairwell of a building, and found ourselves inside a shop, where we scavenged for materials and made a couple of explosive throwables as well as a radio controlled RC car. We put an EID in the toy car, as it was going to be used later for the mission. The interesting part about this demo was the fact that the player was able to enter this building while in freeroam. It wasn't clear how many buildings would be accessible in Philadelphia, but having indoor environments in a large scale open world game would be a big step forward for this genre and perhaps truly showcase the power of the new generation of consoles.

Homefront: The Revolution

We headed back outside and to the nearby police station; the goal was to liberate the prisoners inside. Having positioned ourselves in some cover across the road from the station, we deployed the RC car and waited for an opportunity. As a convoy drove into the station, we guided the toy underneath the truck and into the station, where we deployed the EID. The confusion gave us an opportunity to lay down cover fire and throw a Molotov into the entrance gate. As our AI squadmates went in and got the prisoners our, we were engaged in a firefight with the guards. The goal here was definitely to provide a distraction and then protect the prisoners as they made their escape, rather than attempt to clear out all the guards. The shooting looked satisfying and we were also able to customize our weapon mid-battle, attaching a different scope. With the prisoners out, we began to backpedal, into a nearby building and down a series of collapsed tunnels and alleyways until eventually reaching safety.

With what we saw from Homefront: The Revolution, it looks like a very promising reboot of an IP that never really got off the ground with the first entry. The developers at Crytek are definitely placing gameplay at the top of priorities right alongside the depressing setting, which could result in a unique experience. The title doesn't seem to be pushing for a Crysis-like level of technical visual prowess, but the game still looked good. Homefront: The Revolution is expected in 2015 on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 to be co-published by Crytek and Deep Silver.

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Homefront: The Revolution
Homefront: The Revolution box art Platform:
PC
Our Review of Homefront: The Revolution
50%
Mediocre
Reviewed on Xbox One
Game Ranking
Homefront: The Revolution (Xbox One) is ranked #1856 out of 1983 total reviewed games. It is ranked #129 out of 138 games reviewed in 2016.
1855. Escape Plan
PlayStation 4
1856. Homefront: The Revolution
1857. Mario Party 10
Wii U
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