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This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Homefront The Revolution.

Transcript Edit

Well, here's a franchise I never thought would have the balls to show its face around these parts again. Homefront, the contemporary shooter hinging on the ever so slightly barmy premise that North Korea could be a credible threat, rather than the national equivalent of a talkative Counter-Strike player. Oh but it's alright, it's an alternative universe North Korea, that found a whole bunch of money and military tech in a Christmas cracker or something, and now wants to muscle a considerably weaker country on the other side of the world, for no adequate reason. But if you're gonna make alt-North Korea so wildly different to the real world equivalent, then why do you even call it North Korea? Call it Bastardstan, or Spermany. I feel like the starting point must have been a slightly creepy desire to kill North Koreans, and then they had to tortuously contrive a scenario in which the conflict wasn't totally unfair.

The first Homefront was a linear shooter about as worth committing to memory as the lyrics to Agadoo, and Homefront: Revolution seems barely connected at all. Incidentally, well done for using the single most overused subtitle you fucking- Oh, hang on, my mistake. It's actually called Homefront: THE Revolution. Well that's all right then, carry on!

In Homefront world, North Korea is a global center of tech manufacturing, and the US is crippling indebted to it. GUYS, IF YOU WANT THE VILLAINS TO BE CHINA, JUST MAKE THE VILLAINS CHINA. Dancing a twelve foot radius around it is just undignified.

Anyway, the People's Republic of Chorea call in the debt, occupy and enslave the US, and you're part of a guerilla resistance movement to take the country back. The problem is, or rather the first problem on the dizzying pile I prepared for today, is that while the whole alt-universe thing ask us to mentally disassociate from the Korea we're familiar with, we're simultaneously asked to root for America based on our knowledge of the real world version, rather than the deadbeat nation-wide slum presented for us here. I don't know, it doesn't seem like Korth Norea can run the place any worse.

Oh, but the evil lurking behind the friendly façade of the occupying force is revealed in the intro sequence, as our character is interrogated by a sadistic torturer before escaping and rejoining the resistance... who mistakes us for a spy and takes us to be interrogated by their sadistic torturer, and I guess we're supposed to think it's cute this time? What purpose could these sadistic torturer speed-dating sequences sequences possibly have, except to establish that both sides are cocks? And the Schmorth Scmoreans at least have better hygiene.

So, with our investment in the struggle completely not established, the game finally gets going, with a shuddering cough, and a little squirt and piss into its pants. Homefront: The Refrigerator has technical issues the way the Waffen-SS had a few bad apples. This is the worst audio mixing that I've ever heard in what purports to be a finished game. "Is that all you've got, Yahtzee? Do you really give that much of a shit about audio mixing?" "No, I bloody don't! Nobody does! So imagine how godawful the audio mixing has to be that I consider it important to mention!" I was being talked to by an NPC on our way down a corridor and my fucking footstep sounds was drowning out his speech! It was like my shoes were trying to do the Bane voice!

But even if you're the kind of biblical messiah who can forgive the sin of bad audio mixing, the framerate was so awful I could practically hear the clicking of the joints of the old man turning the crank, and the game freezes for five seconds every single time it autosaves, like you're trying to watch an Youtube video on an oil rig. And whenever it happened, every single time I would cross my little fingers and say a little prayer: "Please, crash! Come on, you pussy. Give me the excuse."

No such luck, but Backyard: The Renovation is a sandbox game, which are at an increased risk of buggering up, and there's always the chance of buggering itself to death at some point. It's a sandbox shooter in the inevitable "liberate all the districts" mold, but I wonder if as the medium has evolved, we've rather lost touch with the essential purpose of the sandbox shooter. The word "sandbox" implies carefree entertainment free of the restrictions of linear game design, and the word "shooter" implies that the bang-bangs will be going into the man-mans. But it seems like there's nothing that Human: The Resources wants to avoid more than those two things, with the possible exception of adequate QA testing. The game cheerfully supplies you with shitty standard FPS weapons and puts an emphasis on weapon modding and crafting, and then if you're actually trying to get into a shootout to make use of it all you get a clip around the ear, because enemies just keep on coming and your health bar empties faster than a cake shop after your mum gets off the leash. "Guerrilla warfare, you idiot! Stop trying to have fun! And go hide in a bin!"

The districts are split between secure yellow zones, where you use stealth to avoid having fun, and contested red zones, where you use motorbikes to avoid having fun. The motorbikes are just there so you can quickly get around without having to fight things, and even if you try to run the enemies over you go straight through them. It takes quite a bit of effort to make motorbiking around the combat zone not fun, so well done on that front, Homefront.

In both kinds of districts, liberating the individual regions largely involves finding the one slightly obscure route through a stronghold to press the "Liberate region" button, at which point the occupying armed enemy soldiers all shrug their shoulders and piss off. But maybe all your resistance chums get so inspired by your button pressing prowess that they chase the baddies away, but frankly I doubt it, cause I saw the resistance in action, and "inaction" is precisely the word for it. You can enlist passing resistance members to aid you, and I attempted this precisely once, because my new chum has spent the whole time consistently standing in the doorway I was trying to get through.

Yes, the buggery continues. The AI in this game would struggle to pass remedial colouring-in lessons. The characters must all have hitboxes like brick chimneys, cause they can get stuck on discarded crisp packets. The one incident which was the defining moment of the game for me took place in the resistance hideout, where I guess I'd forgotten to flush the toilet properly before I left because two NPCs came over and pinned me to a wall. They both stood staring at me, refusing to move, and every time I tried to get past them they'd hurl foul-mouthed abuse. Well, fuck you too, game. If I wanted this treatment I'd have attended my brother's wedding!

And if Hurdy: The Gurdy doesn't end up in the year's bottom five, then it's a fucking depressing six months ahead. The problem, by which I mean the rancid underlying problem upon which all the other problems scuttle and defecate, is that it's chasing a trend that we've already left behind. No one wants contemporary shooters anymore; Battlefield decided it's going to wring some fun out of World War I, and good luck to them, cause that's like wringing apologetic tears out of Hillary Clinton, while Call of Duty is off to fight Zargon warships on the Planet Shithouse. Meanwhile, the success of Doom and Overwatch shows a lean towards good old-fashioned fast-paced fun violence on a layer of shrink-wrapped bum cheeks.

Homefront: The Revolution is just a game that's past its time. Its time was 1346 AD, when the Black Death broke out.

Addenda Edit

  • People person: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • So, the current official list of acceptable villains is North Koreans, South Africans and gingers.
  • Apologies if you are watching this on an oil rig.
Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2 · Hellblade · Agents of Mayhem · Sonic Mania · Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle · Destiny 2 · Metroid: Samus Returns
Q4 Knack 2 and SteamWorld Dig 2 · Cuphead · Hob and A Hat in Time

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