September 17, 2012
Game Review By: Mr. Roboto
Release date: September 13, 2011 (Extended edition released July 12, 2012)
Developed by: Flying Wild Hog
Platforms: Windows / Steam
Versions reviewed: Extended Edition
Official site: Hard Reset Game
Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Very High
Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: High
Overview: Not everyone is a team player (I’m still getting used to the concept myself); They would rather play the “lone wolf” type. Then again, sometimes those massive multiplayer servers suffers downtime every so often. Whatever reason leaves you offline, it’s good to have single-player games to occupy your time or practice your (lack of) skills. Hard Reset is one such “offline” game for soloists.
Created by Polish company Flying Wild Hog, Hard Reset is one hardcore action shooter originally released in 2011, but after complaints that it was too short, the extended edition downloaded this past July. The story and visuals definitely recall some favorite cyberpunk media
while the action is reminiscent of early run-n-gun FPSs like Doom and Quake where an itchy trigger finger can help you survive, and a bit of exploration can uncover secrets to help you get ahead.
The Story: It is the year 2436. Humanity has been fighting a loosing war against the robots. Now the remaining humans have been relocated to the walled city of Bezoar. The Sunshine corporation runs and protects a network called “Sancuary,” where billions of (formerly living) human personalities are stored for possible future resurrection. The robots want Sanctuary to expand their limited A.I. and finish humanity off for good.
You are Major James Fletcher, a veteran soldier currently working with CLN. Word comes down that robots have breached Bezoar’s wall, and you are the only one in the area. Time to grab your CLN assault rifle and EEF-21 plasma gun and kick ass.
Strategy? We don’t need no stinkin’ strategy! Unlike modern shooters with their dozens of fighter classes and hundreds of weapons for each requiring players to selectively choose the right combo of fighter, weapons, and field strategy, Hard Reset simplifies things by giving you only two weapons; The CLN standard-issue modular assault rifle, and the EEF-21 plasma gun. Both weapons can be upgraded by collecting “n.a.n.o.s,” the currency used at any upgrade station. Each station gives you options for you guns like a shotgun module and grenade launchers for the CLN rifle, and tazer, rail, and smartgun options for the plasma gun. These weapon modules also have additional abilities like optical zoom, higher fire rates, and secondary firing modes. So the only strategy you need is having the right weapon at the right area.
You also have defensive options like more life, better shields, more ammo with each pick-up, and time-warping drugs for when you are near death.
You’re going to need all that stuff for when you face the bosses.
Hard Reset is HARD. Make no mistake about this, this game is HARD, and not just hard-core. Just how hard?
This was probably done intentionally to compensate for the short length. But also making things hard is the save-game system; There isn’t a way to save your progress normally. Instead, you have to cross certain “checkpoints” or defeat certain foes to get the game to save your progress for you. In between those save-points you’ll face several waves of bots who will hand your ass to you, and negate the progress you may have made.
Extended Play. Going back to the game’s length, originally a good player can complete the missions in about six hours, even with several deaths in the process.
The extension, referred to as “Exile,” continues Fletcher’s journey as he leaves Bezoar to pursue the bots.
The extension is certainly impressive, especially the junkyard with giant blades overhead shredding metal that rains down. The only problem with it is, there are no comic book style cut-scenes like in the original, except one at the very end. Those cut-scenes could help advance the story further as you venture out of the city and into the unknown.
Conclusion: Will all the military-themed MMO shooters looking to become the next… whatever military-MMO title is big this time of year… Hard Reset is a refreshing change for cyberpunk fans. Visually appealing, dangerously difficult, and a blast to play for early FPS vets. Just what the doctor ordered for the offline life.