Hard Reset arrives on Xbox One (as well as PS4 and PC) in the guise of Hard Reset Redux – a version with several enhancements over the original game that came out back in 2011. Here’s our review.
Hard Reset Redux actually isn’t the re-release of Hard Reset, since PC owners previously got the ‘extended edition’ as well. Let’s hope re-releases of re-releases aren’t going to be the latest trend, or we’ll soon be running out of fresh new games. All joking aside though, Hard Reset is a game we fondly remember from its initial PC version and we’re glad to see it again.
The game was developed by Flying Wild Hog, a developer we actually met when they were showing off a very different game: Juju, which we reviewed a while ago. That kid-friendly atmosphere is nowhere to be seen here, because Hard Reset is an explosive first person shooter with a sci-fi setting. The closet equivalent we’ve seen in recent years is Alien Rage, but since there’s a decent chance you didn’t play that one you can consider Hard Reset Redux to be a bit like Doom 3 with gameplay that’s frantic and straightforward like Painkiller or Serious Sam.
All of that hasn’t changed since the original game, but the Redux version also brings several improvements. A lot of these are visual in nature, with this release for Xbox One and PS4 having upgraded textures/resolutions. The developers also promise improvements in terms of game balance and performance, so we were surprised to find small sections where we noticed a bit of slowdown. Never bothersome, but noticeable nonetheless. Aside from that – which can be seen as optimizations for the existing game – Flying Wild Hog has also added a brand new weapon: the Cyber-Katana. Since so much of the game is about bullets, guns and other projectile weapons, this is a nice change to the gameplay. It allows you to go up and personal for more melee action, using a blade that is charges with the power of electricity.
Hard Reset is very much a traditional shooter. Where in most modern shooters you’ll quickly recover after your health bar has taken a hit as long as you find some cover, here you’ll have to pick up health packs and ammo packs like there’s no tomorrow. There are also plenty of secrets areas and unlockables to be found that make no sense at all from a narrative standpoint, but all add to the fun – as well as the game’s replayability.
While the game doesn’t rock a giant arsenal of guns or enemies, it does allow for plenty of modifications to your weapons while playing. This helps you to switch up your tactics and also makes Hard Reset a more diverse experience. This sounds trivial, but it’s needed, since the game is fairly one-dimensional in its approach to the shooter genre. “Kill and/or blow up everything that moves” is a good summary of what you’ll be doing, and at times you’ll wish things were a little more mixed up. There are boss fights to break the flow, but very often they’re a case of just unloading everything you have and trying to dodge bullets – without a whole lot of room for strategy or tactics.
Still, Hard Reset isn’t a game that’s about strategy or tactics. It’s an old school shooter that focuses on fun, and it’s delivered well and in spades. If you’re into sci-fi shooters (like me) then the game definitely looks the part as well, and it’s an excellent title to sink a couple of hours into. If you already own the game in one of its previous incarnations then you’ll probably think twice before buying Redux, but anyone else who enjoys shooters can safely pick this up at a budget price.