Deep in the future lies a war between man and machine. Governments no longer exist, and despite cutting edge technology, it is every man for himself in this dystopic future. Humans have been incorporating themselves with bo-augmented technologies and cutting-edge digital software to survive an ongoing war with vengeful machines and their commanding A.I. For Corporate soldier and cyborg warrior James Fletcher, a routine assignment deep into the heart of the city is about to send him and an unlikely ally for the ride of his life. Between him and freedom lies an unstoppable mechanical army. However, he has his mind and cutting edge weapons to see the day through. This is the world of Hard Reset: Redux, released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Originally released in 2009, Hard Reset arrived on Valve’s Steam service and was developed by Polish-based Flying Wild Hog Studios as well as Gambitious Entertainment Inc, the makers of games such as RunGun JumpGun. The game was released at a poignant crossroads for video games in general as many games, both FPS’s and third-person games were leaning towards modern military thriller scenarios. The release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, while revolutionary, was also setting the precedent of corporately developed games, lacking in traits such as single-player campaigns or depth.
Hard Reset came as both a refreshing change, as well as a statement, to the gaming community at large. Hard Reset was a first-person shooter focused on the large and almost arena-like combat of shooters long ago. Levels become loaded with often difficult enemies. Each enemy requires a certain degree of skill, speed, and proper weapon handling to destroy. There is no self-healing and ammo, while bountiful, needs to be conserved.
Becoming a huge success, the team went on to handle the classic 3D Realms game, Shadow Warrior, successfully rebooting that game to critical and commercial success. Recently, the team has released Shadow Warrior 2, achieving even more incredible success as their sequel has been lauded for being a huge step up from the original. Revisiting Hard Reset Redux is not only a visit back to a studio’s beginnings but also a revisiting of what makes the first-person shooter the great, engaging genre that they are.
Hard Reset Redux features all available content for Hard Reset, including DLC’s and expansions. From the start, players are in for a full package of a shooter, with a long, incredibly reward single player campaign. The 20 plus hour campaign, which is full replayable, will have players fight through a variety of environments, with plenty of enemies to destroy and several boss fights.
Players take the shoes of James Fletcher, a no-nonsense tough-attitude soldier with his right eye replaced with a bio-augmented visor. He carries a universal launcher, capable of firing both energy rounds and projectile shots. Initially, the launcher can only fire bullets in minigun mode, as well pulsate electric shots from the blaster mode.
Over time, players will have access to fearsome firearms such as a rail gun, a lightning cannon, a rocket launcher, and an EMP shotgun. Weapons can be selected via a weapon wheel, and each weapon has an alternative fire mode, which is essential for surviving the later levels, where mixing up weapons can give players against the heavily armed and dangerous foes. Players will even be treated to a cyber katana, which can easily slice through machine soldiers, especially as players will find themselves in narrow corridors and underground shelters.
James Fletcher faces a massive robot army that has been built to destroy humans and has even used humans to power their devices. There will be plenty of enemies to shoot throughout the campaign, and each level will require a sense of skill and strategy to defeat. As there is no self-healing and ammunition is finite; players will have to be vigilant for health packs and ammunition.
Gameplay-wise, the game is extremely fluid, fast, and challenging. Machines will come pouring out of corners and walls, all in a single bid to completely destroy you. Speed is important, and being able to dodge enemy fire is quintessential to survival. Every machine downed, and explosive set off is thrilling and exciting. The enemy moves with great detail and equally explodes in tremendous, satisfying explosions as well. Players will die quite a bit uring the course of the adventure, but for every death, there is another chance to outsmart the machines and blast them to pieces.
From cyberpunk alleyways, metallic basements, and even the glowing rooftops of-of a dystopic city, Hard Reset is quite the sight to behold. The futuristic city of cyborgs, machines, and massive, edged buildings is fully-realized and adds to the gravity of the world. The game features a plethora of effects and lighting designs that give depth to this realize world. At times, the game feels very much inspired by the worlds designed in films such as Blade Runner and Batman Beyond. The game comfortably nails the gritty, realistic future world.
If there are any drawbacks to Hard Reset: Redux, there is no new content to play. No new campaigns or modes are featured in the redux version of the game, such as an arena mode, co-op, or a new campaign. Considering the sci-fi world to which the game takes place in, it would of have been nice to see a new campaign and what happens after the conclusion of the original campaign. While it ends nicely, there is simply so much developed for this particular game that it feels like a let down that we don’t get to see more of it. However, the game is highly replayable for completionists and will consistently challenge you until you achieve every last trophy for the game.
Hard Reset Redux is a fantastic revisit to an already stellar first-person shooter. Its gritty cyberpunk setting is immersive, the presentation is solid, and the gameplay is absolutely action-packed, keeping players on their toes to the very end. This is especially rewarding for those that really enjoyed the Shadow Warrior games. If you are ready to put a bullet into a CPU, Hard Reset Redux shouldn’t be missed!