Forget the Russians - Red Dawn was thirty years ago, Wolverines! Now it’s North Korea knocking on your door, and Homefront: The Revolution is all about bringing the fight right to ‘em.
With most of the Eastern US now a brutal Korean-controlled police state, you’re going to need some help to turn the tide - which is where the new Resistance mode comes in.
We turned revolutionary this week to try out the four player co-op mode, which lets you team up with your fellow freedom fighters for the first time.
It runs in parallel with the main game, but you’ll need to create your own unique character that's dedicated to co-op. You don’t have a battalion of marines to choose from, either; you have to make do with regular joes, each with pre-war jobs that dictate their special abilities.
A retired ex-exterminator might have the know-how to make more effective improvised explosives, but a young fitness instructor has near limitless stamina for sprinting across the battlefield.
Gear and weapon unlocks are shared across all your characters, so you can create different builds to test different play styles. While customisation helps you stand out from other players, and there’s a serious number of outfits and accessories available to unlock.
Resistance crates hold weapons, gear, and one-time XP boosts, and can be bought with in-game currency earned from completing missions. There’s no escaping micro-transactions, so you can also pay real money to unlock everything early if that's the sort of person you are.
The Team Fortress-style approach means you aren’t getting an advantage by stumping up cash, but the random aspect makes it a challenge to get the gear for a particular play style.
For example, while my character had the perks and abilities to be a crack shot sniper, it took five weapon crates before I unlocked a bolt-action rifle, and I still didn’t have a long zoom scope at the end of my two hour play session.
Unlocking a firework-throwing blunderbuss, napalm-spewing shotgun and an assault rifle that shot tripmine grenades was a sure-fire way to turn a frown upside-down, at least.
Every gun can be customised on the fly, with attachments and accessories added when you need them. Run out of fireworks and you can turn your gun back into a regular rifle, too.
The guerrilla tool kit (GTK) also returns from the campaign mode, letting you lob IEDs, distract patrols with firecrackers, or confuse drones and security cameras with EMP hacking devices. Upgrades unlocked through Resistance crates let you get even more creative, strapping explosive charges onto remote control cars and causing chaos from a distance.
Scavenging parts in each map lets you build more on the fly, but the propane tanks, sacks of fertiliser and circuit boards needed to refill your arsenal aren’t exactly easy to spot. Don't forget to loot downed enemies for ammo, either; get too trigger happy and you'll be empty in no time.
There's no shortage of targets, with North Korean ground troops, armoured cars and remote controlled drones on regular patrol across each of the three missions I played. Snipers, heavily armoured grunts and agile soldiers armed with shotguns are out to ruin your day as well.
Take one for the team
Full frontal assaults aren't your only option, but communication is key if you want to take the stealthy approach. A misplaced shot or badly timed takedown scuppers the silent approach, with all enemies in the area going on full alert the moment you screw up.
It’s not a complete loss, though. The main game has an open world, with separate districts to explore, but in co-op you’re boxed into smaller single levels. Missions can end up sprawling over several miles, but the play area only expands once you’ve completed some initial objectives.
There will be twelve missions at launch, which all vary in difficulty and size. The three districts all feel distinctly different too; the KPA-controlled Green Zone proved the toughest challenge, but the Yellow zone slums and lawless Red Zone wastelands kept things feeling fresh after a few hours of play.
The developers have a twelve month content plan to keep players busy, but I still had a tough time shaking the feeling that the Resistance mode borrows a little too heavily from Left 4 Dead. A few mad dash sprints for the final checkpoint and it was everyone for themselves - to hell with being part of a team, I want my win bonus!
Noobs need not apply
It's the difficulty that should help Resistance mode stand out from Valve's Zombie co-op shooter, though. I played through a mixture of Easy and Normal missions, with the latter being particularly punishing. Hard mode will only be for teams that are truly in sync, with a balance of abilities and weapons to take on whatever gets thrown at them.
Resistance mode is shaping up to be an interesting addition to the main game. Sure, it's not as open-ended as the campaign, and you'll have to sink a few hours into it before you've got all the kit to suit your play style, but it'll still be a major challenge to complete all twelve missions as a squad.
I'll have to withold judgment as to whether it'll keep gamers coming back for more until launch day. Homefront: The Revolution should arrive on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on the 20th of May.