Developed by Flying Wild Hog, and originally released in September of 2011 for PC only, Hard Reset is an FPS that takes inspiration from games such as Quake and Unreal. Now the game has come to console in the form of Hard Reset Redux, the nicer, neater, more badass version of the game. This Redux version adds a new dash ability, the katana weapon, new enemies, and enhanced performance and visuals. The game is set in a world similar to that of the terminator franchise, in that machines controlled by advanced A.I are at war with humans. You work as a soldier and uncover the truth about what’s happening in and outside the city you live in.
My first impression of this game can be described in two words. Brilliantly classic. As a player of many modern FPS games, I went into Hard Reset Redux knowing nothing about it. I was pleasantly surprised when the UI and gameplay was similar to that of classic shooters. The key difference however for me was the button layout. The controller settings were surprisingly awkward to get used to I found, and it was a shame there was little option to change that.
Gameplay and Graphics
Like I mentioned earlier, this game takes inspiration from quake and other clasic first person shooters. All information that is needed by the player is compacted into a small circle area at the bottom left of the screen. There you can see your ammunition for both weapons, your shield level, your health level, your upgrade bar, and if you have it unlocked, the radar. This game plays really well and was fairly easy to pick up, despite the controllers feeling a bit strange at first. Switching between weapons is easy, and every weapon is just as important as the other.
An element of this game I enjoyed the most was the feel of progression as you play. Upgrade terminals that are placed throughout every map allow you to upgrade your equipment using your upgrade points, which are acquired over time in game. The available upgrades are broken down into three main categories. Your human weapon upgrade, your electronic weapon upgrades, and your health upgrades. Each are equally important to upgrade, and once they are upgraded to their maximum level you can be almost untouchable. It was incredibly rewarding to feel so powerful.
Another feature that I personally enjoyed was the use of boss battles throughout the game. Boss battles are something that have become uncommon in first person shooters, and I must say, playing this game brought be a breath of fresh air for the genre. They weren’t your one shot to kill bosses either. The difficulty spike was noticeable when fighting these large foes, and being defeated by them seemed to make the game even more enjoyable. The first boss, for example, had taken me at least 4 tries to defeat, but that feeling of want and the need to win drove me forward to playing the game more and more. The graphics in Hard Reset Redux are by no means amazing in comparison to some current games of the same type, however I personally feel this didn’t take away from the game at all. The original look and slightly square appearance of the enemies made their robotic nature seem somewhat more menacing. The boss characters and main characters still looked original and creative, and I would certainly say that this game could still be fun even if the graphics were of a lower quality.
One of my favourite points about this game is its approach on cut-scenes. It uses a very classic comic book style approach, in the fact that the characters read the lines as they appear on the screen. It’s a shame that the cut-scenes can be skipped almost immediately, as I think a large range of players would enjoy knowing the story in between levels a bit better.
Soundtrack and Audio
As a lover of video game soundtracks, I always put it as one of the most important features of a game. The music within a story can set the tone, and if the music can get you in the mood to play the game, well that’s success. Success is one thing that Hard Reset has when it comes to music. Multiple times when fighting enemies I’ve had to just turn up my volume and enjoy the amazing mix of rock and retro that this soundtrack brings. I can say proudly I own this soundtrack now, and I’d certainly recommend listening out for it when playing the game.
Audio is also a very important aspect of any game, and for me this game almost had it perfected. Almost being the main focus in that sentence. Enemy audio was amazing. They managed to blend together robotic sounds with human sounds in such a way that, on some levels, it was actually scary. As for weapon sounds, the weapons from both player and enemy alike suited their needs brilliantly, and nothing seemed out of place.
My only main issue with the audio was the voice acting. While some characters sounded great, and fit into the game perfectly, others, such as the main character, seemed to vary. Fletcher, our main character, seems to try and be the monotone tough guy half the time, and the excited soldier the other half. It’s very hard to take the character seriously due to the inconsistency in the voice acting, and at some points I felt took away from the experience.
Overall this game is one that I would highly recommend to everyone. It’s take on a classic style FPS is brilliant and can be played for hours without noticing. This game includes a full art-book of the game, and even a survival mode, which are both sure to expand the enjoyment you can get out of it. In addition, you can also compete on the leader-boards for the best score in survival, or best overall score for the story mode. It has endless amounts of fun and if you’re not convinced yet, I’ll leave a link to the trailer below.
(Images were taken by myself, and from the Official Xbox Website.)
- Interesting level design
- Boss fights are fun and intense
- Cool weapon mods
- Being swarmed by the same enemies gets old quickly
- Performance issues during key moments
- Disappointing story