If you want the perfect example of a zombie franchise, you can look no further than Homefront. While it might not feature the shambling hordes of the undead, it's a AAA series which is unwelcome, rotten to the core but refuses to die. After 2011's painfully pedestrian shooter failed to wow audiences, THQ's efforts to kick-start a new franchise with a "vast transmedia strategy" amounted to nothing. Unfortunately, rather leaving it dead and buried, Deep Silver decided to resurrect the brand, and produced the Daikatana of 2016.
The story is largely the same as last time, with North Korea having somehow invaded and occupied the entire USA; a setting which might offer for some ludicrous or even chilling setting if executed properly. Unfortunately, the story is so deeply mired in action movie cliches and horrific voice acting that you'll only find investment by laughing at its incompetence. Homefront actively assists in this self-parody by having the heroes refer to North Koreans as "norks" - A nickname just better than "jubblies" but well below "knockers". Every B-movie trope is wheeled out, every dead horse is beaten and every possible done-to-death idea is hit home without the slightest iota of originality.
The mechanics are sadly no better, and it sticks so close to oversaturated open world ideas that it might as well be an Ubisoft game. Combat is mediocre at best, proving to be a mere shadow of what Far Cry has been offered; with brain-dead A.I, and downright boring quests which turns the whole experience into a single, massive grind with little to no reward. The weapons feature nothing beyond the tired mix of pistols, assault weapons and sniper rifles, none of which offer any sense of satisfying recoil or impact upon your foe. This would have been the nail in the coffin for most games, but Homefront just keeps going, screwing up even bare basics. The open world proves to not only be insanely small but lacks any sense of personality, with obviously missing assets abound and no landmarks or iconic settings to help make it stand out.
Then we have the bugs. While the programming quirk is to be expected of almost any open world game, Homefront takes the cake. Multiple missions retain a bizarre error which prevents your guns from firing even with full ammo, bodies fly up into the sky when killed and the frame-rate is so uneven it will make you physically ill. This isn't so much half-baked as it is half decayed.
Homefront is ultimately just another example of why publishers shouldn’t shut most of their budget into marketing over the actual game. Avoid it like the plague, folks.
HOMEFRONT: THE REVOLUTION / DEVELOPER: DAMBUSTER STUDIOS / PUBLISHER: DEEP SILVER / PLATFORM: PC, XBOX ONE, PLAYSTATION 4, OS X / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW