There is one word that describes Homefront: The Revolution’s beta perfectly, janky. The graphics harken back to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the framerate is jerky at the best of times, and the collision detection is just pathetic. To put it bluntly, this game in its current state would have only just passed as triple-A on last-gen consoles. Now, you may say “beta is beta”, but frankly, even for a ‘closed’ beta this lacks polish. It is rough, and that makes it hard to play.
However, that does not mean it is not fun. The game has some interesting ideas and mechanics. I like the squad based interactions, the stealth aspects, the hacking enemy vehicles, and I even like the combat, unrealised as it is at this point. That said, there is nothing groundbreaking here. It has many of the things we have come to expect in first-person shooters; destructible environments, dynamic AI, and gear progression, but does none of them with any sense of originality.
It is not all doom and gloom. The game has potential. I enjoyed the minimalist HUD, the unforgiving AI (I found myself getting killed in normal difficulty for simple mistakes), and the voice acting, which was superb for a beta. The Infiltration and A Las Barricadas missions were a lot of fun, and the non-linear approach to the objectives and the freedom of how you engage in combat make for some fun moments.
The thing is I cannot recommend you spend money on this game. They hope to release Homefront in May, and I have to say, I cannot see them being able to do that. To improve it enough in that time from a week’s worth of beta data is ludicrous. If this was a month long open beta, with a dedicated bug-fixing sub-Reddit or forum, they might manage something, but not with their current development strategy and timeline. The beta gameplay I experienced was a huge leap backwards from what I had seen in demos and trailers. It is an even bigger step backwards from what I have come to expect on the Xbox One. Therefore, I cannot in good conscience give this my approval. You should not pre-order this game. If you are excited about it, wait until launch and buy it from a retailer offering a release-week discount. See what the reviews of the final game have to say.
I am sorry to rain on Deep Silver’s parade, so to speak, but this beta is shocking. I was excited when I got the email with my pair of codes and cannot see my initial disappointment fully evaporating as I stew, waiting for the release. I mean, just look at the footage from IGN Gamescom 2015, how can you spend six months dev time and walk so far back from that. I guess the ‘Ubisoft downgrade’ is infectious.
Please bare in mind that these are first impressions of pre-release content. Depending on whether the published supplies APGNation with a copy or I buy a copy, I will review the fully game in its completed state, and I do genuinely hope that they will address the issues raised by the community and in this first impressions.