Hard Reset Redux Review

By Lexley Ford, 6 months ago
Flying Wild Hog's Hard Reset Redux is a remastered version of the 2011 PC FPS title Hard Reset. The Xbox One version features the original game as well as the "Exile" expansion pack that was released the following year. The entire game has been ported to the latest incarnation of the developer's own RoadHog engine, giving access to more advanced lighting and particle effects.

Reminiscent of games like the original Doom and Doom II, Hard Reset aims for fast-paced and frantic action, although this remastered version also rebalances the gameplay to deliver an experience more suited to the current generation of consoles. But after five years since the original game's release, is this remastered title worth some attention?

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Hard Reset takes players into a dark, cyberpunk setting akin to that of Deus Ex or Blade Runner. You take control of Major Fletcher, a soldier of the CLN in the last remaining human city, Bezoar, following a war with an army of AI controlled machines. Fletcher is sent to investigate a breach in the city walls that has resulted in the death of countless citizens. The whole sector has been wiped out and the only things that the player will encounter are psychotic machines that are bent on the destruction of the human race.

Most of the plot is told through a series of motion-comic styled story boards, although there is very little to the plot as it boils down to little more than the robots are bad and must be destroyed. By the end of the game, most of what little plot there is will likely have been forgotten, or you will still be wondering what has actually happened in the first place. Even the game's ending comes out of the blue and with very little explanation as to what has occurred.

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The early game's setting of Bezoar is largely repetitive and fairly linear with only one route to most of your objectives. The dark grey buildings, underground tunnels and tight corridors hark back to a time when wide open spaces in games weren't commonplace. Most of the action occurs at ground level, so there is very little reason to look towards the sky even when most of the best scenery is located upwards. This is a shame as the updated engine allows for some decent lighting effects that may easily go overlooked.

It isn't until the later barrens locations of the "Exile" expansion pack that the player gets to experience some new scenery, where lush vegetation and ruined buildings replace the dark grey cityscape. This is short lived, however, as before long you are once again returned to the dull interiors of factories. Despite its largely linear design, there is still some room for exploration; destructible walls, hidden lifts and elevated walkways are scattered throughout the game's world. Discovering hidden rooms and following optional paths reward the player with additional N.A.N.O, the game's currency that is used for upgrading weapons and armour.

Bezoar's skyline is one of its best features Bezoar's skyline is one of its best features

The gameplay is fast paced, as is to be expected from an old-school shooter. Enemies come in a variety of forms, from small, fast, knee high robots with a tendency to charge straight at the player, to larger, more tank like robots that also like to charge straight towards you. There is also an array of flying robots that pepper you with gunfire from a distance, and the obligatory shambling zombies that like to swarm the player. This variety helps to keep players on their toes and the action frantic, but it often feels as if the AI only has one setting: full-on attack.

There is very little variation on how enemies will choose to engage you and the difficulty is only ramped up by increasing the number of enemies to kill. Because of the AI's tendency to force enemies as close to the player as possible, the larger enemies can easily trap you against the terrain, especially in areas without much room to manoeuvre. These larger enemies also take a lot of pounding. During the earlier stages of the game, when the player might not have as many weapons in their arsenal, this can often lead to a quick and painful death. Despite this, the action is still fun with many enemies on screen at a time, testing your skills, reflexes and ability to deal with a mixture of situations. Unfortunately, during some of the more hectic moments in the game and most noticeably during the game's boss fights where the number of enemies is at its highest, there are some very noticeable frame rate issues that break the immersion and can become fairly distracting.

The energy weapon can be used to deal with many enemies at a timeThe energy weapon can be used to deal with many enemies at a time

As with many FPS titles from the late 90s and early 00s, explosive barrels are plentiful and many parts of the scenery can be used for destructive purposes. The title actively encourages you to do so by awarding more N.A.N.O per kill in this way. Many also open the way to secret locations. As you might expect, Fletcher can be hurt by these hazards too, so keeping an eye out for them is key to survival when enemies are so gung-ho that they tend to blow up these barrels as often as you do.

Major Fletcher only has two main weapons that are best described as conventional and energy weapons. Additional firing modes can be unlocked for each of these, which instead gives the feeling of 10 different weapons. Because of this, there are only two types of ammo that need collecting and the weapons use shared ammo pools. Ammo also regenerates up to around the half way point, so even if you run out of ammo for one weapon you can switch to the other and let the ammo pool fill itself back up. The conventional weapon gives players access to the usual FPS fare of Rifle, Shotgun, Grenade Launcher and RPG, while the energy weapon has a little more variation and can morphed into a Bolt Mortar, a Railgun, and a multi-locking Smartgun.

The Katana gives players a different way of battling enemiesThe Katana gives players a different way of battling enemies

Weapon upgrades allow for a variety of different play styles, although the RPG or Smartgun combined with the Shotgun will see you through most situations. This remastered version of the game does add a third weapon that wasn't available in the original release, an electrified Katana, but this cannot be modified in any way even if it does makes short work of some of the smaller enemy varieties. Once many of the other weapons have been upgraded, the Katana becomes almost useless unless you happen to run out of ammo, something that is fairly unlikely.

As for its achievements, Hard Reset offers a varied set of challenges to attempt. Of course, there are the usual progression achievements for completing certain levels on varying difficulties, but there are also achievements for completing most of the game's levels with no deaths on each of the game's difficulties, something that is no simple task on some of the more difficult modes. Certain achievements will task players with completing a specific task, such as using the hydraulic presses to crush all nine of the large Gorilla-bots on the Factory level. These aren't difficult to achieve but do add extra flavour to the list. Finally, the achievements for finding all of the secrets in Bezoar and the Barrens may take some time to unlock without a guide.

Summary

Hard Reset Redux is a fairly competent FPS that channels the pace and tenacity of the old school shooters that inspired it. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough meat on the bone for it to be great. The world is largely repetitive, enemies aren't particularly interesting, and the story is almost non-existent. Although it does show its age and suffers slightly from some frame rate issues, it is a decent, challenging game that will interest those with a fondness for the classic FPS games of years gone by.
3.5 / 5
Positives
  • Fast, frantic, fluid action
  • Challenging gameplay
  • Plenty of hidden secrets
Negatives
  • Story is almost non-existent
  • Repetitive environments
  • Some frame rate issues
Ethics Statement
The reviewer played the title for approximately 12 hours, unlocking 36 of the 54 available achievements. A download code for the game was provided by the developer for the purpose of this review.
Lexley Ford
Written by Lexley Ford
Lex has been gaming for nearly three decades and has been a Newshound for TrueAchievements since 2011. When he’s not writing news he can normally be found immersing himself in a good story, both written and in-game, or just blowing stuff up (only in games).