Hard Reset is brought to you by polish developer Flying Wild Hog, the same guys who would later on bestow upon us the 2013 Shadow Warrior remake, or as they say, “bold re-imagining”. It’s their first game and man, what a game! Using their own in house ‘RoadHog Engine’ they blow us away with this fine slab of an FPS game. Would I say Hard Reset is an ‘old school’ style shooter? Hell yes! There’s only one rule and that is to shoot anything that moves and, in many cases, even things that don’t move!
Now that we’ve lost the interest of the tactical FPS fans, and have most likely stopped reading, let’s get on with it, shall we?
This is how you do an old school shooter in 2011. Great visuals, beautiful graphics, silky smooth engine, kickass weapons and industrial-electro-metal-whatever music! It screams polished in every sense of the word. 40 hours or so of playtime and I have yet to encounter a bug! It’s one of those games that slipped under the radar but the fact that it doesn’t have any multiplayer modes doesn’t help either. A co-op mode would go a long way in a game like this especially with the recent rise in popularity of online co-op shooters.
I have to admit, when I first played this game I didn’t get it. I played it for maybe an hour and then put it down for a few months I’d say. Then one day I played it again on a whim and it hit me like a ton of bricks! This game has a very unique and haunting feeling to it. To put it into words is difficult. You have to play and experience it for yourself to understand. I love playing it at night and just allowing myself to get lost in its beautiful cyberpunk world. The visuals are a definite highlight. The sounds create and emphasize the dark atmosphere throughout the game.
As with a lot of games in this genre the storylines can be quite cheese sometimes. Basically robots have become a threat to the world and are on the verge of taking over so your job is to go out there and annihilate those sons of bitches!
The way the enemies attack are similar to games like Painkiller and Serious Sam. These sinister looking robots attack in groups and often charge directly at you followed by the occasional boss fight. The fights are extremely fun and rewarding due to the beautiful visuals, destructive environments and arsenal you have at your disposal. Once an action packed fight is over the game retreats back to its very ambient dark feeling and you’re once again free to roam about and explore this gorgeous cyberpunk world.
The explosions in Hard Reset are some of the best I’ve seen in this type of game. You can expect to see a lot of sparks and mini explosions just from a single RPG shot for example. Most of the environment around you is destructible even essential lights that you need in order to see are destructible, however, those magically reappear eventually. I found that amusing for some reason and find myself constantly destroying everything possible to see what stays broken and what doesn’t. You can use a lot of these destructible environments to your advantage as they inflict damage upon your enemies when shot at. Shooting an ATM machine for example will electrocute nearby enemies whereas shooting a vehicle will cause it to burst into flames inflicting damage with its blast radius.
Hard Reset features an impressive and unique weapons system. You only have 2 weapons but their fire modes can be upgraded 5 times, giving you 10 different types of guns technically. You get these upgrades by collecting ‘N.A.N.O’ currency that can be used to purchase said upgrades. They are orange canisters that’re scattered throughout the maps. Unlike modern shooters, you’re actually encouraged to explore and search every inch of a map to get your weapon upgrades.
The CLN Firearm upgrades give you traditional weapons; assault rifle, shotgun, grenade launcher, rpg etc whereas the N.R.G. Weapon upgrades give you the more sci-fi oriented weapons; plasma gun, blaster, rail gun etc. It’s also worth mentioning that all the upgraded weapons have secondary fire modes and 3 available upgrades each so the possibilities are endless on how to blow stuff up™
Once you beat the game you can replay it from the beginning but this time you’ll have all weapons you’ve unlocked in the first playthrough making this time around a lot more fun since you’ve got more toys to blow stuff up™ with. You will also continue to unlock new weapons/upgrades because it’s not possible to unlock everything in the first playthrough. The replay value in this game is very high for some people.
While this game doesn’t have much in common with classic FPS games like Doom or Quake in respect to weapons or enemies, I would still highly recommend it to fans of that genre especially if you like games such as Unreal or Painkiller. The gameplay is sure to please any fan of old school shooters. Don’t pass this game up, it’s definitely worth checking out especially with such a low price tag; you can usually pick up the retail version (like I did) for less than $10 on Amazon or even less for a Steam version on sale (I should’ve waited for this! –sucks not having achievements!)