Review: Philly Rebels After North Korea Invades 'Homefront'

This image released by Deep Silver shows a scene from the video game, "Homefront: The Revolution." (Deep Silver via AP)
This image released by Deep Silver shows a scene from the video game, "Homefront: The Revolution." (Deep Silver via AP)

Americans are worried about a lot of things: jobs, health care, climate change, terrorism, too many guns, not enough guns. But hey, at least we haven't been invaded by North Korea.

If that scenario has been weighing on you, though, you might find some solace in "Homefront: The Revolution" (Deep Silver, for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, $59.99). In this alternate universe, Kim Jong Un's army is powerful enough to occupy parts of the United States — but make the mistake of setting up headquarters in Philadelphia. (You know the locals won't stand for that for very long.)

You're Ethan Brady, a new recruit in the fearless resistance led by Benjamin Walker (not the guy from "American Psycho," Broadway lovers). When Walker is apprehended, it's up to you and your ragtag rebel band to find him and bust him out. You have plenty of ammo, but the North Koreans have more.

The occupiers have divided Philly into color-coded neighborhoods. The Red Zones are wastelands, populated mostly by Korean People's Army troops. For the most part, your missions here consist of killing as many enemies as you can and setting up safe houses and supply depots.

The Yellow Zones are more interesting. They're where the civilians live, and while most are sympathetic to your cause, some are collaborating with the KPA. In a Yellow Zone, you need to keep a low profile while committing more subtle acts of infiltration, sabotage and propaganda. Win over enough hearts and minds and your neighbors will eventually rise up against the oppressors.

Exploring the Yellow Zone is a nice change of pace from what is, at its core, a standard first-person shooter. You can accomplish some goals without firing a bullet, and there are a few clever environmental puzzles, like figuring out how to get to the roof of a boarded-up building to hack a transmitter.

Still, while "Homefront" brings some worthwhile ideas to the genre, the execution is sloppy. The artificial intelligence controlling the KPA soldiers is all over the place: Some will zero in on you ruthlessly, while others will walk right past you without a shrug. The graphics frequently slow to a dead stop, which is particularly troublesome when you're engaged in a tense firefight.

I would be more forgiving of the glitches if the plot was more ambitious than a collection of "Red Dawn" America-under-siege cliches. There are thousands of people in this dystopian Philly; surely some of them have interesting stories. The Korean forces are so thoroughly faceless that they could just as easily be Russian or Cuban or Martian.

Most disappointing, I didn't hear a single Philly accent during the 20-plus hours I spent in "Homefront." Other than a few familiar landmarks, the setting could be any generic bombed-out city; it doesn't capture the flavor of Philadelphia at all. Now where's my hoagie? Two stars out of four.

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Online:

https://www.homefront-game.com/

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Follow Lou Kesten on Twitter @lkesten

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This article was written by Lou Kesten from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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