Having been a huge FPS fan for so many years, Hard Reset was one of those games I always wanted to play, but I just couldn’t. The incompatibility with my Windows 8.1/10 laptop, just wouldn‘t let me run the game demo. So after much discouragement that I couldn’t play this PC exclusive title, I had given up trying to play it. To make a long story short, I was out of luck..until now. With the release of Hard Reset Redux on consoles (Xbox One in this case), I can now feast my eyes and mind on this futuristic shooter that I have been waiting a long time to play.
In Hard Reset Redux, there’s no melee attacks, no reloading, and heck, there’s no running and jumping. There’s also no crouching, but who needs that anyway? I could almost say there is no zooming in, but it is possible with a weapon upgrade. One traditional type of control for a shooter does exist, and that’s the ability to run. While playing, you can also use that same run button as a dash left or right as well if tapped. This dodge mechanic makes it easier to get away from enemies, and becomes a core part of the game when things get hectic.
Hard Reset is a straight up feel good shooter where you can upgrade your weapons, blow things up (walls, objects), and kill enemies along the way while completing objectives. There is a storyline, which to my surprise has a nice comic book feel to it. The story is told through the loading screens, and they are quite intriguing and tell the story well, and I found myself watching them fully even though the loading was done and I could play. You play as a soldier (Major Fletcher) of the “CLN”, and your primary job is to protect the last city of human existence known as Bezoar. So the human race’s fate is in your hands, no problem! In the end, you are just walking through levels and shooting things. You’ll be shooting certain objects in the environment that will explode or cause electricity to cut through and kill the machine enemies, but the story and gameplay go together well.
There’s 3 upgrade categories in the game. There are 2 main weapons you start out with: an assault rifle, and a plasma gun. The third category is a combat gear section where you acquire new items. What is interesting, as previously mentioned, is that weapons can be upgraded. There is an upgrade machine that is scattered throughout the levels in the game, and comes up quite often. The menu comes up in PC-like form with a free flowing cursor. The Plasma Rifle can eventually be upgraded to: Shock Blaster, Electric Mortar, Railgun, and Smartgun. And the Assault Rifle can be upgraded to: Combat Shotgun, Grenade Launcher, RPG, Proximity Mines. And once upgraded, you can pick and choose any of the weapons you want to use on the fly. The combat gear section includes a Tactical scanner, Trauma Pack, Hi-capacitor, Medical module, and shield emitter.
You never technically have to change weapons since they morph into them, and that is a nice touch. While you have these upgradable projectile weapons, there is one close range weapon, the Cyber-Katana. This one is more of a “fun” type of weapon, but is definitely bad ass when slicing up the bad guys.
At first, I wished there was a multiplayer (either split screen co-op or team deathmatch), but it’s probably better that there isn’t for this type of game. I’d rather have a good single player experience, than a game that was trying to just squeeze in a multiplayer mode for the hell of it.
Over time I found myself sticking to my favorite weapon, the electric mortar’s. Protip: make sure to switch out your weapons depending on the enemy. I had some really big guys come at me, and I was having a tough time taking them down. All I had to do was take out my RPG and one hit, BAM they are dead. As for the weapons, the thing is, this game doesn’t make you upgrade to progress in the game, and it’s entirely up to you, but obviously you’ll be picking up N.A.N.O (upgrade points), so you might as well get the best weapons possible!
The first thing I noticed was how smooth the game runs. From the moment I started playing it, I didn’t get a feeling that it was an older game, but rather the feeling that the game runs so well. Even though I cannot compare it to the PC version (since I never played it), the textures are decent quality. And the textures do look redone for Xbox One, and with that, I didn’t notice any slowdown, and the frame rate remained constant.
The enemies are a mixture of different robot types. And some of them are just too cute you don’t even want to shoot them. There’s all types of machine enemies. There’s a Terminator looking one, along with zombie types that appear to be half-human, and half-machine. They all look very well done for a shooter of its age. The environments are also pretty high quality for what they can be, and the explosion animations are also solid.
The big question: Does it feel dated? I can’t help but think how this game was originally released in 2011 on PC. And yes, it does have an old school feel to it, like a Serious Sam type of game. And to me that is a good thing. In the end, there aren’t really issues with the way the game looks for a 2016 release. Either way, Flying Wild Hog and Gambitious promised an upgrade with at least improved lighting and effects, and I think they delivered on that.
One nice additional note about the visuals is the destructible walls in the game. There’s not too many, but they add a nice feel to the gameplay. I found the later levels to be more visually appealing, maybe even more higher quality than some of the earlier levels, but overall the graphics are good.
The sound in Hard Reset is what you would expect for a shooter. I will say the soundtrack on each of the levels really helps bring out the feel of the atmosphere. Be prepared for the upbeat creepy music in the hospital level, it was disturbingly good. As you enter a room, the door opening sounds with the combination of enemy squeals all just feels perfect. There’s lots of metal clanking sounds in Hard Reset too. You can’t really ask for much more with the electricity sound effects from the weapons, to the the lightsaber sound of the Cyber-Katana.
Overall, the game takes me back to a time where FPS’s were simply just that. Shooting things, trying to figure out how to unlock the next area, and keep progressing through the levels. There’s not too much to worry about other than upgrading your weapons. It’s fast, and it’s fun, and it has a classic feel.
One thing I always like in a shooter is the multiplayer. Hard Reset does not include that, but as I mentioned, it’s just not needed for this game. For replay value, if you play the game for fun on the easy difficulty first, there is definitely enough stuff to do to want to play it again on the normal and above levels a few times over, especially if you are going for the achievements.
Reviewed by Steve Melanson