I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a casual gamer, and I’m just now coming out of a gaming hiatus that’s lasted the better part of a decade. Old innovations in technology and game play mechanics still impress me. When I try and gush about them people look at me as if I were frozen in ice, some relic of a distant past. Thankfully, games like Hard Reset Redux exist to remind me what playing a first person shooter in 2002 felt like. Keep in mind that the original, non-Redux‘d version of Hard Reset originally came out in 2011. That should tell you something right there.
As stated earlier, Hard Reset Redux is a re-release of a PC shooter called Hard Reset (surprisingly enough), and it purports to have added a bevy of new features. After having spent significant time with the title, I can tell you two things with absolute certainty, however; the game looks pretty and the core shooting mechanics are adequately functional. I can’t say anything bad about movement animations, either. They all looked smooth, and I didn’t notice any texture-tearing when spinning in circles and sending various machines to Robot Hell with my gun.
In Hard Reset Redux, you’re a soldier tasked with fighting a war against the machines in a cyberpunk dystopian future straight out of William Gibson’s wet dreams. Admittedly, there’s more to the plot; however, the game gives you no incentive to care and a prompt on the screen saying “Shoot Things” would be just as sufficient.
Borrowing liberally from some of the greatest science fiction of all time, the game creates a visually incredible world that you won’t hesitate to try and blow up with bullets. There’s a lot done with light and shadow to immerse you in the world, but that’s about the only thing that’ll keep you coming back for more than a sitting or two. Level design is totally generic and linear, with a lot of kill rooms followed by a “Follow a trail and shoot/activate” area, followed by a kill room, etc etc. The assets appear to have come from public domain versions of Deus Ex and Blade Runner in order to elevate the game from the bargain bins at K-Mart, but fail in doing so considering how uninspired they are.
Unlike most first person shooters, which traditionally supply you with an arsenal large enough to destroy the Moon, Redux limits you to a plasma and machine gun, with a Future Katana Sword Thing™ being introduced later. Of course, because no one wants to kill armies of robots and cyborgs with only two types of munitions, the guns can be upgraded at stations scattered throughout the levels. The act of shooting enemies feels like it should…there’s a certain visceral quality that developer Flying Wild Hog nailed to make that part of the experience satisfying. Hopefully you can immerse yourself into that aspect of the game, since the upgrading portion doesn’t add much flavor to an otherwise tepid shooter, and the fun factor of blowing everything up will quickly dissipate when you realize the numerous games available that do the exact same thing only better.
Hard Reset Redux is what you’d expect students from one of those video game colleges you see on late night TV to develop. It’s pretty, it works, but it’s nothing special.
Note: This game was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.