Hard Reset Redux Review
Hard Reset Redux by Flying Wild Hog is new and improved version of the original Hard Reset: a distopian, cyberpunk fps attempting to give classic fps games a comeback. The new version brings together all the features of the previous editions along with a graphical and content update. Since I haven’t played the original, I’m going to go ahead and take their word on that. At this point, I have no reason to distrust them. I probably wouldn’t let them watch my cat or something, but they don’t really have a reason to lie to me. Anyway, once again, I find it most effective to break down my experience into three parts.
What I Expected
As far as classic fps games, I’ve played Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein, and the like. These games comprised of levels. These levels mostly broke down into corridors and rooms. Find the key, open the door, move on. Enemies lie in wait around corners and behind doors. They also had horrible graphics by today’s standards, but I wasn’t expecting that. Honestly, I was expecting that formula with current generation programming and visuals. That means polish. I expected an exceptionally clean, visually beautiful, cyberpunk Doom with robots instead of demons.
What I Wanted
I wanted it to be better than those classic games had to be. The controls of those games were a nightmare. It was hard to differentiate between separate textures. The same graphics had to be repeated so often that it was easy to get lost. Animations were blocky and stiff. Compared to how far we’ve come, those games had many problems. Don’t get me wrong, they are fantastic games. They just show their age, that’s all. There’s nothing wrong with noticing how far we’ve come since their release. I didn’t mind the thought of tracking down keys, just as long as the task was clear. Perhaps I was wanting a lot from this game. However, with the decades between Redux and the classics it claims to mimic, there’s been plenty of time to get the basics right.
What I Got
Waves. That’s what I got. Waves. Waves upon waves upon waves.
I really tried to like this game as a whole. I buckled down, put on my optimistic face, and tried like hell. I promise. But even now, all I can remember when I think about the game are the waves. I’d go round the corner, through the door, down the stairs, and find a wide open room. I’d sigh. I’d always sigh. The room would be absolutely littered with ammo.
And health packs.
The game wasn’t even trying to keep it a half-baked surprise. Sometimes, I could swear I’d hear the game sigh too, right when it all came into view. I’d take a couple of steps, the music would start playing, the barriers would go up, the doors would lock, and the enemies would come.
Wave 1: minor enemies. Small swarms of rodent bots. After clearing them out, the music and barriers stay up. I suppose that was my cue to grab some of the goodies spread across the map before… Wave 2: bigger enemies. They may have guns or just giant robot fists. Regardless, they are stronger, but there are less of them. Wave 3: flying enemies or big/swarm enemies combo. Sometimes there’d be rockets or explosives involved to kick up the action. After that, the music would die down, the barriers would drop, and I’d be free to move on. Two corridors later, I find myself in another large, open area littered with item drops. I sigh. Ugh, I’m bored just writing about it. This being pretty much the entire game, it was hard to overlook. The entire game was either those fights or the hallways to make it to those fights. However, there were aspects of the game that did try hard to compensate. But before that,
That’s one of the loading screens. You see this when you die. Needless to say, I saw this a bunch of times. It’s pretty much just that still image. There’s snow or something fluttering around too, but that’s it. Empty nothingness. Maybe it was the game telling you this is the future of the city since you died. Perhaps it’s forcing the players to reflect on the consequences of their actions. Or, the developers were just too lazy to incorporate anything better. You be the judge.
Anyway, Hard Reset Redux did have some redeeming aspects. The weapon system was neat. You pretty much have two weapons: a rifle and a plasma rifle. Each one uses its own ammo. The only kind of updates in the game are in the form of weapon and equipment upgrades. The grenade launcher is actually just a function you can buy for the regular rifle. The same works for the plasma side and the rail gun. This also means that spraying bullets takes the same ammo used to launch a grenade. No, the game doesn’t explain why. When I stopped to ask, I ended up dying.
The weapons and upgrades were fun to play with. Trying out the different mechanics and figuring out the best weapon for each scenario almost made the boring waves of enemies worth it. Of course, though, most enemies in the game can be taken out with [insert favorite gun here]. The game isn’t entirely picky on which one you use, especially since they share the ammo pool. Aside from the guns, I did come across a third weapon from out of nowhere.
The sword was too cool to pass up. It was just jammed in that little terminal up there. It was hardly a monumental moment, but I suppose not every game can make you sleep for 7 years when you touch the sword. Regardless, I was psyched. “I’m gonna finish the rest of the game with the sword!” I declared. Out loud. This is how far I got.
I was pretty embarrassed. I was alone, and I was embarrassed. However, not as embarrassed as I was at the story of Hard Reset Redux. Listen, I’m not even sure I can call it a story. It’s more like a rambling. The “story” is told between missions in a comic book-style feel. The dialog is fully voiced, and it is voiced pretty well. But honestly, I couldn’t follow a single second of the plot. Terms are thrown around without any kind of explanation to what they mean. Groups are mentioned the same way. Weird, cyberpunkey stuff happens, but again, no explanation. I owed it to the game to give the story a chance, so I paid attention after each mission. I still can’t tell you what the hell Hard Reset Redux is about. Just shoot robots, okay? Well wait! Not all robots!
That’s Harold. I think he’s some kind of sweeper bot. But regardless, he’s harmless. My weapons tried to lock on to him a couple of times, but they couldn’t fool me. You see, other than Harold, I pretty much spent the game alone. No, I don’t count the things I shot. Harold wouldn’t follow me, as he apparently had super important street sweeping to do. I didn’t care, though. For those few wonderful minutes, I had a friend. No! A soul mate.
Alas, I had my job to do and Harold had his. With a final kiss (and an attempt to ride him like a horse), I took off to shoot at more things. It was around this time that I found a scenario that nagged at me. It was a small annoyance, but it really stuck out to me. In the next area, there was a barrier in my way. I needed to track down its power source and blow it up in order to move forward. The problem was where the barrier was and where I needed to go.
I needed to head down those stairs. All that’s really in my way is this little railing. yes, it’s up to my waist. In fact, I was standing on the back of a bench against the guardrail here. At best, the top rail came to my calf or knee. But try as I might, I just couldn’t hop over. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a jump button. I jumped for longer than I’d like to admit before realizing the game wouldn’t let me move on unless I moved on how it wanted me to. Like I said, a small grievance, but it just added to the existing problems.
I’m not sorry I played Hard Reset Redux. The weapons were neat to play with. Occasionally, a new kind of enemy would join the wave rotation. There was almost enough to keep me invested. I even found myself impressed when I came across a peculiar boss fight.
This ended up being a multistage fight that kept me on my toes. I swapped between different weapons to handle both him and a nearly constant wave of small enemies. Between the enemies and various explosives, I leaped, sprinted, hid, and held the trigger down until something died. That first time, it was me.
So, I pulled myself together and tried again. I conserved ammo, reserved health packs for emergencies, anticipated attacks, and quickly took care of the little swarms. In short, I had fun. That fight was the experience I was wanting all along from the game. It was a straightforward fight against an enemy. I had to think and act according to my surroundings. And after a bit of struggling, I vanquished the towering behemoth.
But, it just wasn’t enough. A single boss fight can’t be enough to make up for all the boring gameplay before and after it. No matter how much I wanted it to, it just couldn’t.
Once again, I really wanted to like Hard Reset Redux. And I do like many aspects of it. The weapons are neat, the upgrades are nifty, and Harold is my bff. Unfortunately, there are only so many identical waves of the same enemies a man can go through before he decides to set the controller down. I truly feel that Flying Wild Hog has a lot going for it in this title, and I would absolutely love to see them take the elements I really enjoyed to a new level. I just hope they do that instead of making Hard Reset 2: Ride the Waves.
Final Verdict: 2/5
Available on: PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC; Publisher: Gambitious Digital Entertainment ; Developer: Flying Wild Hog; Players: 1 ; Released: June 3, 2016 ; ESRB: M for Mature ; MSRP: $19.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a review copy of Hard Reset Redux given to HeyPoorPlayer by the publisher.