Fresh off the back of id Softwares triumphant return with the shamefully bloody but utterly irresistible DOOM comes Hard Reset Redux, a game with origins saturated in classic titles of days gone by. Bearing all the hallmarks and similarities to that of Quake and Serious Sam, Flying Wild Hog’s Hard Reset Redux is a first-person shooter with a heavy emphasis on gunning down anything that moves and doing so quickly. After originally launching on Steam back in 2011, Hard Reset has finally made the leap to the current generation consoles with the Xbox One and PS4, but how does it fair?.
Hard Reset Redux: PC, Xbox One [Reviewed], PlayStation 4
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Publisher: Gambitious Digital Entertainment
Release Date: 3 June 2016
Price: £15.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Publisher]
The first noticeable thing when starting up Hard Reset Redux’s campaign is the frantic speed in which the game is played, not too dissimilar to that of DOOM, Reset throws you into levels, pitting you off against swarms of enemies in a dramatic fight for your very survival. id Software’s recent successful reboot offered players a lightning quick, brain splattered bullet storm of an adventure, a game that would leave your head on the brink of exploding, once it eventually stopped spinning from one of the games many high-velocity fights of course. Hard Reset isn’t so much bright crimson and dismembered limbs but more razor sharp metal meets stainless steel, its enemies not demons sent from hell to make your life, well…hell but robots of all shapes and sizes, robot wars gone terribly, terribly wrong.
The second overwhelming thing is its difficulty, I don’t want to continue to draw comparisons, DOOM and Hard Reset are completely different games in their own right, so I’ll simply opt for “it’s very unforgiving”. Even on its Normal difficulty Hard Reset Redux is a torturous slugfest at the best of times. Health pickups scattered around each level can help to steady a sinking ship but must be managed carefully in order to escape a level with all limbs still attached. A dash ability is provided to players to help sidestep and evade incoming attacks in order to preserve precious health.
The games robots range in scale from small, almost too cute robots with an unerring tendency to explode in your face the moment they get close to you or poking you with their rotating blades to the games larger scale robots who’ll charge the player with ferocious speed or shoot off missiles like deadly fireworks that deal vast damage to the players health. Variety is a good thing in video games, so to see such a collection of different moving, looking enemies, each capable of dealing a unique variation of damage was pleasing.
Of course, there is a story to Hard Reset Redux, then again there was also a story to DOOM, but when the bullets begin to fly, and in game’s like this, they do with frightening speed, that story can be all too quickly forgotten, buried deep amidst the fast pace, intense action that so often ensues. Hard Reset follows the story of Fletcher, an agent working for an organisation, tasked with managing or policing robots before they decide to up and revolt, attacking humans and the organisation in the process. Most companies in video games possess a sinister and shady side and there is no change here. Shameful characters and a large cover up provide the backbone of Hard Reset’s story, which in truth, tries its best to present you with a gripping narrative, that is sadly very hard to follow, even with the game’s beautifully sketched cutscenes that link each level together.
I thoroughly enjoyed Ubisoft’s 2007 XIII because of its catchy art direction, a similar direction features in Metal Gear Solid games like Peacewalker. This style or comic book cutscenes really helped to bring the game to life, leaving XIII with a certain charm to it that would see me return to it over and over again, seriously, I couldn’t pull myself away from that game. I felt that air of nostalgia course through my veins as I experienced very similar touches with Hard Reset. Sadly, these cutscenes only appear for brief passing moments before each level begins, and with an easily forgettable story and action a plenty, it all felt a little lost on me, which is a shame. The cutscenes proved to be more of a filler than anything else, making the loading screen more pleasing on the eye.
There are many weapons at Fletcher’s disposal throughout his one-man crusade against the rogue robots. Ranging from a heavy machine gun to an electricity-based weapon that would fire’s bursts of high voltage towards enemies. I found this weapon to be the most satisfying of all due to the many upgrades available for it after the collection of in-game currency – Nano’s. With the use of an upgrade station, I could quickly transform the gun to deal an assortment of damage including short electricity bursts that would sit stationary on the ground, electrifying any foe stupid enough to wander across it. Hard Reset Redux also throws up a new weapon to use in the form of a Katana, but in all honesty, with the large amount of arsenal readily at players disposal who wants to take on an army of robots with a blade, it all felt a little pointless, the epitome of bringing a knife to a gunfight.
Hard Rest Redux boasts bosses, their sheer weight, and size of which comfortably places the regular hunks of scrap I’d previously encountered before firmly in the shade. Facing off against an enemy easily large enough to crush a man’s body with the tip of its big toe was an uncomfortable experience, but overall, an enjoyable one. Taking on an enemy of that scale is difficult enough without having to swat away regular robots who pose a real distraction throughout large boss battles. The addition of different size robots during boss fights made for an intense and drawn out affair, the way a boss fight should be, a chess game with pieces that need to be moved carefully and correctly to gain the right result.
If you can overlook the obvious graphical downgrade, Hard Reset Redux does offer some interesting gameplay and combat. While players won’t be leaving hell anytime soon, Reset provides a nice alternative with a unique story of its own to tell, if you can follow it…of course. Reset is a challenging title that is likely to infuriate some and please others and with a survival mode to accompany the games main story there is enough value for money to keep players entertained for hours. Clearly drawing inspiration from classic shooters like id Software’s Quake and DOOM, Hard Reset boasts a mesmerising Bladerunner style aesthetic that fits well with the games story and enemies. Some moments left me in awe, some scratching my head but overall Hard Reset is a game worth checking out, once your done cleaning demon brains from the soles of your boots.