It’s no secret that Homefront: The Revolution went through development hell for the last four years. After changing development studios and going through various publishers, The Revolution is a classic case of an unrealized vision. GamingBolt’s review mentioned underwhelming gameplay and a ton of technical issues with the game with regards to performance and to be honest Homefront The Revolution may be one of the most disappointing games of this generation, especially given the scale and ambition that Dambuster Studios were aiming for. It may be right up there with Asssassin’s Creed Unity in terms of performance but there could be a number of reasons why a game that should have been a CryEngine technical showcased turne out into such a disappointing game, technically speaking.
To begin with, let us take a look at the PC version first. The graphical settings include a fair number of settings such as Anti-aliasing (which varies from FXAA to SMAA Medium (2x). We found the AA options to be quite odd given that how SMAA 2x is only limited to Medium and how there is a lack of any MSAA setting. Further options include Game effects, Object, Particles, Post-processing effects, Shading quality, water and shadow quality, anisotropic filtering, field of view, depth of field and lens flare. All in all, there is a reasonable amount of settings which may give an indication that the game is highly scale-able. As far as requirements go, the developer recommends an Intel Core i5-2500K or AMD FX-8320 and GeForce GTX 760 or Radeon HD 7870 along with 8GB of memory. Again, just like the graphical settings, the recommended requirements sound pretty decent and most rigs will be able to run the game just fine, right? Well, not really. We tested the game on a couple of different configurations to see how well the game scales according to hardware.
First, we tested the game on AMD FX 8350 and Radeon R290x 4GB along with 8GB of memory, which is above the game’s recommended requirements. Unfortunately, playing the game with every setting notched up resulted into a terrible performance. The game was literally unplayable at this setting. When we switched the game’s settings down to High, the game was somewhat playable but at times our PC was struggling to reach a consistent 30 frames per second. Our second and third set ups included a Radeon R390 and GTX 970, with 8GB of memory and Intel i7 5960x, which is once again above and beyond the recommended settings. The results were once again pretty disappointing with sub-30fps performance on both at Very High settings. Although, we did witnessed long stretches of OKAY frame rates, performance was largely disappointing. However, switching to High settings with the same configuration resulted into a fairly decent 60 fps performance with drops to lower 50s.
In short, our impressions of the PC version are disappointing at this stage and this only made us even more skeptical about the console versions. So how do the console versions perform given their limited CPU capability and GPU prowess? Well, it must be noted that CryEngine is largely a CPU bound engine so if you are expecting a locked 30fps experience on both consoles, then prepare yourself for disappointment. Homefront The Revolution just like Assassin’s Creed Unity has those moments where it runs at 30fps but we are largely looking at sub-20fps performance. As we mentioned before, Homefront The Revolution is an ambitious game. It utilizes a dynamic weather system, features a fairly big open world, has complex enemy AI, dynamic lighting and a ton of other physics effects but for a game that has been in development for such a long time, there is no excuse for such performance parameters. The PS4 and Xbox One are absolutely identical in terms of core assets, largely similar performance (Xbox One has better performance due to slightly better CPU but that difference is not something players will notice) and if there is anything that differentiates them it is the image quality. The PS4 version runs at a full 1080p presentation whereas the Xbox One stays at 900p.
There is also very little to choose from between the console and PC versions. Other than the potential high frame rates that the PC build can offer, the PC version has better shadow quality, screen space reflections and better textures in some places. Console players won’t be missing out much as the PS4 and Xbox One versions are running at the High setting equivalent on the PC build.
I hate to label Homefront The Revolution as a disaster on consoles and gaming PCs. It’s technically a very ambitious game which is eventually marred by a host of optimization issues. In many ways, Homefront The Revolution is an example of the importance of performance optimization in video games. Your game may have the best graphics in the world but if it is not doing justice to underlying hardware then it should have stayed in development instead of rushing it out of the door.
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