Homefront: The Revolution Impressions
“The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall” – Che Guevara
This is the quote Crytek Lead Designer Adam Duckett used to describe the philosophy behind their upcoming game Homefront: The Revolution. Powered by the latest CRYENGINE technology, Crytek wants to get back to their roots by creating a game that is both of the highest visual fidelity, but also one that gamers will enjoy to play.
Set 4 years into the North Korean occupation of the United States, the KPA rule the land with an iron fist. Their superior technology, especially when it comes to drones and firepower, cause a unique dystopian setting for the player to romp around in.
Philadelphia was chosen as the setting for a number of reasons. It’s the birthplace of Independence, so starting a revolution in the city hearkens back to the 1770s. Also, the KPA know this, and have made Philadelphia their capital, further driving the knife into the side of America.
Crytek set out to create a free-roam city, one where you will need to use a mix of stealth and guerilla tactics to get through unscathed. They have also created a Philadelphia that changes based on your gameplay. As you interact with the city, or act within its boundaries, the game will react accordingly. Score a victory for the resistance and you’ll see the mood and tone in the city change to reflect that.
Crytek showed off some gameplay, and in pure CRYENGINE fashion, the game looks to have some of the highest graphical fidelity on the market today. Our first experience with the new version of their engine was seen with the Xbox One exclusive Ryse: Son of Rome. While that game is arguably the best looking game on the new consoles (at least until Second Son was released), we’ve never really seen the true potential of the engine.
Well, let me say: it’s glorious.
Philadelphia under occupation is a dark, gritty and grimy place. The lighting and shadows are simply superb. The level of detail in the world around you, down to the grains of wood on the table in front of our character was simply breathtaking.
We had one goal in mind: we needed to free some prisoners from the police station. When I say police station, I really mean Police complex. Our character, along with some other members of the resistance set off to accomplish this.
The game also makes use of your character’s smart phone, using it as a surveillance device to pinpoint enemies, security cameras and so on. Also, you make use of the phone to check your current missions, use the map, the camera can also be used as a makeshift set of binoculars, and more. Weapon customization is here, and it looks a lot like it did in Crysis 3.
The combat is a lot like what we’ve seen before, though with some interesting twists. Cover combat is a must, otherwise you will see yourself mowed down by the superior firepower of the KPA pretty quickly. Infiltration, sabotage and subterfuge will be just some of the ways the game will have you accomplish your goals. You have to think like a guerilla fighter, just simply fighting your way through the map won’t do.
Stealth kills are in the game, and stealth is a large part of the game as the KPA uses their drones to seek out any potential threat. More than once we saw our character duck around a corner to avoid the drone’s scanner.
As the player approached the police complex, it was clear that we would never be able to fight our way there without some sort of diversion. One of the NPCs created that, giving us an opening. Still, though, it wasn’t enough. We needed more. Eventually, our character decided that they would likely never make it to the door alive, so another tactic was needed: sabotage.
By strapping a makeshift bomb to a RC Car, the player began to drive it slowly towards the main entrance into the complex. Making sure to keep it hidden, as well as to keep the armed guards from stepping on it, the RC car slowly made its way to the goal, eventually using a truck as mobile cover the rest of the way. All the while, you controlled the car with your smartphone in game.
I should stop and say that at no point did the game seem to stutter, until we got to the firefights. But the game isn’t due out until 2015, so based on Crytek’s track record, I’ve got faith the final product will be smooth…assuming your rig can handle the game.
I did speak with Adam Duckett right after the presentation and asked about their decision to bring it to Gen 4 consoles and PC only. It was simply based on their desire to get back to what they do best – creating great games that simply look the best. The limitations of the 360 and PS3 would have hampered that vision. The game is being built on PC, according to Duckett, so expect the PC version to look absolutely jacked.
In the end, the complete dystopian look into futuristic Philly has me enthralled. Sure, the cover based combat is nothing new, but to mix it with the guerilla tactics the game simply begs you to implore will make for a much more interesting experience as you slowly begin to unravel the KPA grip on mainland USA. Look for it next year on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
Viva la revolución