Compared to some of the other games in the first-person shooter genre, Hard Reset Redux’s graphics look slightly outdated. Nevertheless, the graphics have been marginally improved over the original release and it shows. Aside from the occasional frame rate dip, Flying Wild Hog was able to maintain the various difficulty spikes in addition to the level of detail that goes into each and every chaotic battle. What was surprising to me was that the spawn locations of the enemies were different this time around and caught me off guard. The developer clearly wanted to shake things up for those that played the game 5 years ago.
Hard Reset Redux is set within a cyberpunk world where most of the humanity has been all but wiped out. The remaining survivors seek salvation within the city of Bezoar, which is the only closed off location left. The machines have taken over vast areas of Bezoar with the intention of destroying the human race and taking over a network called the Sanctuary. This network contains the digital remembrance of human cognizance. As the machines eventually penetrate the city’s last line of defense, a soldier of the CLN – Major Fletcher rushes to the defense of the city. He is humanity’s last hope and all that stands in the machine’s way for total control.
Doesn’t that sound good? There is just one small problem…
Players will be sorely disappointed if they come into this game expecting to see cinematic cut-scenes. Hard Reset Redux – just like in the 2011 release – has the gameplay action moving forward with comic book style story telling. For some, this may be a huge turn off but it feels more like a breath of fresh air considering the majority of games pursue the cinematic route. The issue with the game is not its choice of storytelling but rather the pacing as it can become forgettable within seconds of beginning the next mission. All this approach really does is dilute the momentum from what is otherwise a very solid action title. There is so much potential within the game’s setting that it is a real shame the story wasn’t tightened up originally.
Flying Wild Hog’s Hard Reset Redux is similar to other first-person shooters such as Doom and Serious Sam. Enemies come in abundance with varying difficulty spikes in order to challenge players. These types of games are usually a lot of fun and offer players a variety of options to take on each encounter along the way.
Compared to the original Hard Reset, Redux’s gameplay is virtually untouched with the exception of the spawn locations as well as variations to some of the enemies – cybernetic zombies. What was surprising to me was how difficult some of the encounters could actually be as there was always a group of machines attempting to take me out. The difficulty spikes are challenging but they are extremely manageable when using the right approach. The difficulty spikes mixed with the additional tweaks to the game felt really good but the star of the show is definitely the weaponry.
Switching from your machine gun to your plasma rifle consists of pressing the Q key on the keyboard while using the scroll wheel on the mouse switches to the desired upgrade that was purchased. This feature served a great purpose during my encounters with hordes of enemies because the behavior of the A.I. would force me to think of my approach on the fly (Ex. Switching from shotgun to grenade launcher takes a matter of seconds). While both the machine gun and plasma rifle are offered, I felt myself leaning on the machine gun a lot due to it being more useful when taking on groups of enemies or bosses. This is not to discourage anyone from using the plasma rifle but taking it into a boss encounter will prove to be a longer battle than when using the machine gun. Maybe with an update, the balance between the two weapons could be addressed.
Between using the machine gun and the plasma rifle in addition to switching through the different attachments as I battled erratic groups of machines was both intense and fun. At times, there would be groups of smaller enemies – ranging from spinning propellers to “suicide-like” bombers which eventually lead to mixed encounters with machines that could fly and shoot missiles as well as bigger, “tank-like” enemies. What made me laugh in the early stages of Hard Reset Redux was how innocuous the machines were in the beginning. These laughs quickly faded because, with each passing stage, the encounters would become more intense. Eventually, like a rookie, I stumbled upon the side-step mechanic by accidentally pressing the left shift button while moving in the direction that I was trying to get to. This made my encounters easier and way more enjoyable because I had control over every situation from that point on.
If you are wondering why I have not mentioned the cyber-katana, it is because the use for the sword is very small. It was a nice addition to the game by Flying Wild Hog – through it could have been executed better. The katana pretty much demolishes the smaller enemies but has little effect on the larger enemies. What is annoying about this weapon is that it is such a cool idea but it is really just a glorified melee weapon and we all know how useful they can be in tough situations.
Throughout Hard Reset Redux players will see upgrade booths placed in various locations within each level – usually toward the beginning, middle, and near the end of a stage. When approaching one of these booths players will be prompted to select the main component of their gear and then be greeted by an upgrade tree that can be utilized in any order.
Upgrading is very simplistic in that players can just move the cursor over the available upgrade and then left click the mouse button in order to make the upgrade. There are so many options that it would be impossible to upgrade everything in the tree, which gives the incentive to revisit the game. For me, I simply focused on the upgrades that would allow me to essentially mow down anything that was in my path. The upgrade system in Hard Reset Redux isn’t as robust as some of the most popular franchises but it is satisfying due to the options for each weapon.
When it comes to the weapons, the machine gun and the plasma rifle are the only options that players will get in this game. However, having only 2 weapons to choose from isn’t as big of a problem when you have a variety of upgrades that allow you to change things up as you progress. These upgrades can be accessed by gaining experience from destroying enemies in addition to the nano-canisters that are scattered throughout each stage. Once players are able to earn enough experience, they can go to an upgrade booth in order to purchase anything ranging from a shotgun to a charge shot add-on for their weapons.
There really isn’t much to say about the environment in Flying Wild Hog’s first-person shooter. With each passing stage, I kept asking myself if I had been to this location before or not. Whether it was an open location of broken structures, parking lots, or factories – it simply felt redundant and uninspired to me. What really bothered me was when I walked into one of the earlier stages, I could cheat the boss a little by hiding behind a wall and shoot it from a distance. Occasionally, I was forced out of hiding by the smaller “suicide-like” bomber machines but was able to foil them with my shotgun attachment very quickly. It would have been nice if these stages had gone through additional development because some of them could have used it.
The sound in Flying Wild Hog’s first-person shooter is mostly hit or miss. The plasma rifle sounds just as if it came straight out of a Michael Bay film but the machine run sounds more like a cap-gun than an actual gun.
Explosions were some of the best that I have heard in any games but was thrown in the mud due to the sound coming from my machine gun. It was really disappointing because this issue made it difficult to get into at times.
The music was amazing! When approaching various section of the game, everything seemed to blend really well. Once I was engaged by the enemies the music became more intense and made me forget about the issues with the sound coming from my machine gun. If the sound could match the music in the game, it would have made for an even better experience, which is a real shame.
Flying Wild Hog’s Hard Reset Redux is a nice trip down memory lane with a few added tweaks and adjustments that really enhance the experience when compared to the original release in 2011. The updated graphics, upgrade system, and music were only marred by the limited use of the Katana, sound when fighting enemies, and the environments. Overall, Hard Reset Redux is an enjoyable game with a simple, yet satisfying upgrade system. The developer really took the time and effort to make sure that players were able to enjoy their experience and it really shows. There is something to be said when a developer tries to implement changes to a game that corresponds with their fans. Players who enjoy games in the same category would be hard-pressed to find a better experience at the game’s $20 dollar price point.
|+ Classic FPS Action||– Limited Katana|
|+ Updated Graphics||– Sound|
|+ Improved A.I.||– Uninspired Environments|
|+ Upgrade System|