It’s a simple premise, a cyberpunk noir tale about Major Fletcher, half fixer, half mercenary, all corporate slave. His mission is to save the entire world from the robot apocalypse. Hard Reset Redux found inspiration in the likes of Neuromancer and Shadow Run with a shooter twist.
First and foremost, this isn’t Call of Duty. Your health doesn’t recharge and ammunition can run short. Hard Reset Redux is a call back to old school first person shooter sensibilities. A game that is every bit as much about twitch action, as it is about strategy. No Teammates to follow, just you in the middle of a killing field with dozens of machines, both big and small, trying to deplete your health.
The entire world feels ripped from Blade Runner. Cars fly overhead, as neon holographic signs glow with suggestive advertisements in the rainy night. I could always see the activity of a living world that I would never participate in. The explanation was the fact that the corporation is sending me to a scene of a massacre just after the fact. At the half point, the environments start to shift, color pallets go through a transition as I started to see the bright orange and yellows of the sun rise or the lush greens as vegetation begin to appear. The oppressive undertones of the city shed progressing through the story.
Cut scenes play out in motion comics using dramatic art to push the narrative forward. Not necessarily a bad thing. the story as a whole play out like an 80’s sci-fi action movie cliché. Major Fletcher is sent to pacify a group of homicidal robots, when everything imaginable goes wrong. Ultimate this all leads to some pretty dark realization with cyberpunk flare.
Like all twitch shooters, Hard Reset Redux leans on the balance of feeling almost out of control but not overwhelming. A fine line to walk, but also extremely difficult to maintain. Flying Wild Hogs does a phenomenal job at creating smooth movement, even allowing you to juke out of the way of charging droids or incoming projectiles. Their efforts are spoiled by the occasional sharp plunge in frame rate during segments with an extraordinary amount of enemies on screen.
Hard Reset Redux rewards your carnage and exploration by awarding Nano machines for upgrades. The CLT Assault Rifle and your EEE-21 Plasma Rifle can be upgraded to transform into alternate weapons, such as an RPG or an EMP Mortar. Each of these upgrades can have aspects improved like rate of fire, damage output and even area of effect. With each weapon having multiple forms this allows you to carry around 10 different weapons at once. So you’re never in a situation that requires a weapon that you do not have, a rare feature found in modern shooters that I enjoyed.
One of the hardest parts of the game for me to adapt to, is the constant movement of the screen. Not that I have anything against a little tilt, however I often felt as if I was in a fun house with how the game moved. My play sessions had to be held under an hour due to the motion sickness that I suffered. Searching the menus to find a means by which to stop the head bob proved to be frivolous.
Hard Reset is a fun throw back to a bygone era of shooters that are often forgotten about by younger players. With the exception of the anticlimactic boss battles and the issues with my motion sickness; the game is a decent shooter. Once the colors started to bloom, the game became a visual treat displaying its graphical ability. While not a great title, this is also not a bad one either.