With the upcoming Shadow Warrior 2 looking to be just as bonkers as the 2013 revival of the series, Flying Wild Hog seemed to have the old school FPS market to themselves, until Doom came out last month. Even their previous game, Hard Reset, had taken an old school approach, but this game didn’t have as grand a fanfare. Hard Reset Redux overhauls that game, expands on its short length and brings this gorgeous looking title to console for the first time.
This cyberpunk FPS tells the tale of Fletcher, an agent fighting off the out-of-control robots that are invading the city. Much like the Doom Guy, Fletcher doesn’t seem to really care about the conspiracy surrounding the situation, preferring to blow things up or have drink, but he does vocalise his displeasure in the proceedings.
Cutscenes that precede the shooting are done in a similar comic book style to the old Max Payne games, with a suitably distinctive art style. They certainly look cool and suit the setting nicely, but the plot is fairly generic as a whole, which may put some people off. All it’s really there to do is give you enough of an excuse to shoot things.
Hard Reset is utterly gorgeous to look, after the spit and polish this Redux edition received, and the fast paced action runs at a solid 60FPS throughout, which is great! It maintains the visual style of the 2011 original, but upgrades and refines the graphics, so that it looks as if it was created in 2016. By capturing the dystopian feel of films such as Blade Runner, it’s easy to get sucked into the cyberpunk setting.
Originally, Hard Reset was criticised for being somewhat on the short side. Redux takes the additions that were made for the Extended Edition, but also adds a few more new things on top of that. Enemy placement is different, with some new variations on enemies such as the cyborg zombies, to rejuvenate the game for those who have played it before. The survival mode also returns, complete with online leaderboards.
Hard Reset only has two main weapons: a plasma rifle and a machine gun. This would be a huge hadicap to the game, if it wasn’t for the fact that you can earn experience through pickups and slaying enemies that lets you upgrade both guns with different firing modes, as well as alternative fire and passive buffs.
This is where the game truly shines. Is that machine gun not good at felling foes? Switch it up to the shotgun mode and blast away! There are so many options for dishing out pain that the game has an old school feel as you run around, dashing to dodge incoming attacks, that the gameplay is as speedy as the likes of the Doom, Painkiller, and Serious Sam franchises.
Enemies here are all robotic, so their weak points aren’t as obvious as one might think. While the aforementioned cyber zombies are largely slow and shambling, Bombs roll up with great haste just to explode nearby. Larger enemies seem a little easier to take down, but their AI is more capable of diverse tactics. You’ll have to be a little wary of not having regenerating health, but having to grab pickups as you play.
On top of the five levels added since the original, Fletcher can also obtain a cyber-katana. This is as cool as it sounds, but doesn’t act quite like the katana found in Flying Wild Hog’s reboot of Shadow Warrior. It is relegated to being a bog standard melee weapon, but it still carves cyber zombies up well, though its uses are somewhat limited against robots.
Hard Reset Redux isn’t exactly easy, despite its still quite short run time. While I was shooting through levels at a rate of knots one minute, a particularly difficult section or two may also had me die a few times. Largely this is down to one or two unorthodox enemies that would quickly slay me, but explosions are another common death sentence, as they have a large blast radius. Thankfully health and ammo pickups are commonplace, so momentum doesn’t dissipate all that quickly.
Honestly, Hard Reset Redux is an easy game to recommend for those wanting a little more of what made Doom such a success last month. Fast-paced shooting, combined with some great visual design and a few upgrades to keep your arsenal fresh. If you’ve not played Hard Reset before, Hard Redux is well worth the price of admission.
Version Tested: PC