Flying Wild Hog have brought an old school shooter into the modern gaming world of perks and killstreaks. Hard Reset is a back to basics shooter, with some modern touches. Set in a dystopian world of machines, Hard Reset gives you big guns and lots of enemies to dispose of. Is it any good though?
Hard Reset is set in Bezoar, the last remaining human city. Machines have taken over, and you play as a CLN officer, tasked with keeping the machines at bay. Unfortunately, they find a way in and take over the city. From here on in, the story gets a little confusing. The cut scenes between levels are presented in a gorgeous comic book style, dark and gritty, and the rest of the game follows this style. Dark, destroyed streets reflect the neon lights from the various establishments and holographic advertisements. The story does not have as much polish as the gameplay, but it doesn't even matter. It's not about a deep, emotional story; it's about the destruction and the awesome guns.
The combat in Hard Reset is so basic, it's like playing Doom. For the most part, you can't look down your sights. You can't throw grenades, and you certainly can't melee your enemies. Nope, strictly shooting. It's a good job then, that the world is littered with explosives and electrical boxes, which send 1000s of volts through entire groups of enemies, as the electricity arcs between them. You have two weapons, the CLN gun and the NRG. The CLN is a standard assault rifle, spewing out bullets like there's no tomorrow. The NRG is, as the name suggests, an energy gun, and fires plasma and electricity. To start off with, you just have standard automatic fire. But for killing enemies and exploring the levels, finding secret areas, you are rewarded with NANO points, which allow you to not only upgrade your combat armour, but also your weapons. Eventually, you can end up with shotgun and grenade launcher attachments. You never actually get more weapons; your original weapons upgrade and transform through the different stages.It's a great way of mixing up the gameplay without the added confusion of many different weapons to choose from and pick up.
The enemies come in all shapes and sizes, from the small machines with their chainsaws, to the huge "gorillas", and even bigger machines later in the game. The small ones come in droves, making up for their weakness by attacking in huge numbers. The numbers are often overwhelming, and the panic is not helped by the clumsy manoeuvrability of your character. Sprinting is very limiting, and turning whilst doing so is not easy. It's a shame that the movement of the character is one of the problems with the game, as it is obviously a big part of the game. Otherwise you'd just be stood still, which is not much fun.
The weapons and effects are very cool
Overall, Hard Reset is a great game for fans of Doom and Quake. It's incredibly simple in terms of gameplay; run, shoot, run, flip a switch, shoot some more, rinse and repeat. Don't expect blockbuster set pieces and intense characters, like Call of Duty. Instead, just enjoy the destruction while it lasts, which isn't terribly long at all. There is an EX mode once you have finished though, which is basically a New Game Plus; start the game again with all of your previous upgrades. It adds some life for completionists, but will probably be ignored by the majority. The graphics and effects are absolutely beautiful on Ultra settings, and Flying Wild Hog deserve some applause for their engine. To draw in a bigger audience though, their storytelling definitely needs a little work.
by Louis Gardner