Last September during EGX in Birmingham, UK, Deep Silver Dambuster Narrative Designer CJ Kershner took to the stage to showcase the brand new Homefront declaring The Revolution to be more of a reimagining of the original title rather than a direct sequel to Homefront, which was released back in 2011. After Koch Media along with publishers, Deep Silver acquired the IP from Crytek in 2014, newly founded Nottingham based studio Dambusters immediately set about rebuilding the game to give it more widescale appeal. CJ Kershner, who co-wrote the original Homefront stated that while the original title “offered players a really compelling fantasy it perhaps failed to fully execute on it, and that while people were attracted to the idea of playing as a Guerilla Fighter, Homefront ended up becoming a linear scripted corridor shooter”.
At the end of January 2016, Deep Silver announced a brand new mode for Homefront: The Revolution abruptly titled ‘Resistance Mode’, a mode which would see players fighting side by side cooperatively as resistance cells. The idea of being able to take to the streets with friends across non-story related narrative driven missions was a very appealing one and certainly succeeded to drive home Kershner’s main point that while the original game had a lot to offer players it maybe missed out on certain key elements that held the game back. This past weekend I had the chance to experience the new cooperative mode first hand on the Xbox One.
Every Revolution begins with a spark
The first thing to note when stepping into Homefront: The Revolutions cooperative mode is that even though you are part of the resistance, at the end of the day you are also just a group of average joes with no real military background or experience. This is portrayed through your choice of character selection, which, once made is final. After selecting a gender, I was faced with the choice of what background my character had before the invasion by the KPA began, that choice appears to be crucial and follows you forward into battle while giving each character different benefits. From Nurses to Personal Trainers who move faster while critically damaged then there are Cab drivers who can operate faster RC Cars, there really is no shortage of choice before making your final decision. I opted to run with a former Baseball player who came with an extended throw, able to launch Molotov’s and Explosives further while also being more precise with aim.
From the main menu, it becomes abundantly clear that Dambusters want you, the player to decide what you want to get from your Homefront experience, with 4 specialised Skill Trees that cater to every whim. Players can literally learn any aspect of being the ultimate soldier with points spent while fine tuning their own. With a set of Skill Trees not too dissimilar to that of Payday, players can choose to take a smarter approach or be the run and gun hero with Brains, Braun, Fighter and Survivor all available to work through using experience points, with money earned new weapons, attachments and customization options can be purchased through the amoury.
Deconstructed and rebuilt from the ground up
While 2011’s Homefront provided an engaging single player driven campaign, it lacked any real trace of cooperative play with the game’s only multiplayer modes restricted to large scale battles, which for me were the game’s real selling point. Dambusters Studios have taken that aspect on board and introduced ‘Resistance Mode’, a mode which allows friends to play cooperatively in teams of up to four players across a multitude of non-story related missions that will be completely separate from the games main campaign. During my time with Resistance Mode I was introduced to two of those missions – A Las Barricadas and Enemy At The Gates.
The first mission I encountered – A Las Barricadas tasked me and my teammates with an enemy counter-attack at a nearby Marketplace where soldiers of the KPA were believed to be located. The City streets are great at providing crucial cover as me and my cell made our way around the tight alleyways and gardens towards our destination. Scattered Bins and boxes contain precious items that when scavenged can be used to construct devices prime for various attacks on KPA Militia. The surrounding streets and alleyways allowed us to completely flank the enemy while at the same time remaining quiet so that the KPA were unaware of our presence until it was too late. As we pushed further into the mission we engaged with more soldiers and some of the games vehicles, including a heavily armoured gun wielding tank, which could be possessed by throwing a Hack Grenade at its vicinity, this device can be a real life saver and help turn battles in the resistances favour, turning the vehicle against the KPA for a short period of time.
My second offering of Resistance Mode came in the form of Enemy At The Gates, a mission that perfectly illustrates the real dangers of Homefront: The Revolution’s Red Zone. Completely different to that of the Green and Yellow Zones in the sense that the Red Zone is completely civilian restricted. The KPA can and will open fire without any warning, making it hard to navigate the crumbled, bombed landscape without drawing the attention of a whole battalion with one misplaced footstep. The Red Zone is a key example of the KPA’s dominance outside of the City and with the resistance heavily outnumbered, players will have to work and operate well as a team to complete objectives that are key to taking back the land and the City.
Because of its location within the Red Zone, Enemy At The Gates as a mission provides both the perfect scale and environment for players to learn all about Homefront: The Revolution’s different attachments and gadgets. With tall accessible buildings to climb, perfect for getting to grips with the games many sniper rifles, there is also a wealth of armed KPA Soldiers, Enemy Drones and powerful Vehicles to outmanoeuvre and take down. Enemy At The Gates also provided me with my first opportunity to take to one of the games memorable assets – the Motorbike, which is great for getting around the KPA at speed, the Motorbike will also available in the single player campaign.
If there is one thing I learned from my time with Homefront: The Revolution’s Resistance Mode it’s that life as a member of the Resistance is a painfully tough one. Nothing is handed to players on a silver plate, you will have to fight for everything you own in an unforgiving and dangerous landscape where the civilians are forever the underdog, looking for their moment to take a shot at the strong and at times overwhelming KPA.
I also learned that despite the original Homefronts fatal flaws, it still had a great deal to offer players. Dambuster Studios might very well be onto a winner with Homefront: The Revolution if the new cooperative mode is anything to go by.
The Homefront: The Revolution Beta, runs from the 11th of February – 14th for the Xbox One. For more information on Resistance Mode and the chance to get involved with the Xbox One Closed Beta visit Homefront-Game.com today.