Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Publisher: Gambitious Digital Entertainment
Release Date: June 3, 2016
Platform: PC [Steam], PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Disclaimer: The following review was conducted on PC via Steam. A code was provided by the developer for review purposes.
Hard Reset: Redux is an improved edition of Hard Reset that was released in 2012. The cyberpunk shooter was developed by Flying Wild Hog, the studio that is mostly well-known for its success with Shadow Warrior. The original game was not released on consoles at the time, so it’s nice to see them get some love alongside the PC redux.
The first thing that you might find connection with is the gameplay. The initial release of Hard Reset brought with it a very traditional design in terms of first-person shooters. There wasn’t emphasis on the movement on the Y-axis. Instead, your guns were level with enemies as you were forced to destruct the waves of them pummeling your every move. And, in terms of Hard Reset: Redux the gameplay does not differ from the original, although, having a more modern playstyle akin to other shooters seamlessly survives the transition.
In the cyberpunk future found in Hard Reset, you play through a grim world set in the future where the landscape is completely overrun by robots. These robots are the reason for the human race becoming near extinct. Your job, playing as Major Fletcher, is to face these dangerous enemies and fight for your races’ future.
Your success in survival comes with a challenge. The combat of Hard Reset is generally very fast paced and hectic. I was often facing hordes of enemies at once and some pretty powerful bosses, too. With the ample amount of variety in enemies faced, you have an equally eclectic supply of guns in your arsenal to dismantle them such as a multi-function rifle, which can be improved to include attachments. These encompass traditional repeat firing, to add-ons such as RPGs, grenade launchers, shotguns or mines. To keep riding the rails of tradition, you also have a futuristic canon with similar attachments. To add some flare to the game, this version comes toting a new weapon, a cyber-katana sword. I can only assume this comes from the Shadow Warrior game as it shares similarities in combat.
The other new feature is the added ability to do quick dodges. This allows you to maneuver out of the way of the enemies attacks and melee swings with a little finesse, rather than bunny hopping around the map. This quick dodge can also be used to zip across the map with hefty speed. The boss fights are challenging, as they incorporate waves of enemies as well different mechanics in order to defeat them. The level design is pretty well set out too; there was only a handful of times where I was completely lost and couldn’t work out where to go, even with the mission path being fairly linear. However, this mild stray allows for moments of exploration into side rooms and secret areas for extra loot and experience points.
Graphically, Hard Reset: Redux has been improved significantly, utilizing the latest version of the Road Hog engine. The upgrade features better lighting and special effects, on top of a generally snappier game in terms of performance. You might not think that a game with metal and robots would be drenched in color. Neon signs illuminate streets, and plasma shots are bubbled-blue as they fly towards enemies. For a cyberpunk era, Flying Wild Hog chose for a style that wasn’t absent of color, something that contributes to the overall polish of the game.
The voice acting is few and far between, but sound effects were all on point. Sound effects are key to getting the most out of the game play too, they will often be trigger effects of an attack that is about to happen, or the start of an ambush from ball-like droids rolling around ready to explode in your face.
If you played the original game, you may notice that some of the levels were shortened, or as the developers put it, “re-balanced” to allow for a better pace. That being said, I managed to get just over seven hours of gameplay out of a single playthrough. The option for a “New Game+” mode is also present upon finishing–which is something I will definitely be giving ago.
The lack of a multiplayer mode may prove to be a slight error on the developers part, as the longevity of the game will not last more than two play throughs at the very least. Since the game has such a well designed gameplay and gun mechanics, I would like to see a Quake or Unreal style multiplayer mode. The frantic nature of the game would really excel in a multiplayer format much like we are seeing with the likes of the latest Doom release.
The Bottom Line
I really enjoyed my time playing through the improved version of Hard Reset – it had been a few years since I played the original so it was nice to revisit this game – it is definitely improved in both gameplay, technical and performance aspects. Owners of the original game on Steam will be happy to hear they will get a heavy discount on Hard Reset: Redux (85% off) which is well worth it!
Personally I am not sure it is worth the full price of $19.99 – if you don’t have the original, you may want to wait for the sale season.