With the recent release of doom having reignited the excitement that once existed for more traditional shooters, developers: flying wild hog have re-released a remastered version of the 2011 game hard reset which was mostly well received amongst critics. The game takes place in Bezoar, a cyberpunk city with explosive barrels and electricity panels laid around conveniently for you to shoot and create havoc. Given what the game wants to achieve, which is to create a decent and straight forward shooter that is rather focused on the mechanics compared to more modern games that have to go through a whole checklist of things, here the narrative takes a back seat and only serves to provide context for the levels.
Furthermore, the gunplay revolves around fast movement/dodging and also upgrading your arsenal which includes the two customisable weapons you start off with. The two weapons include the CLN and N.R.G. one of which is lead based and the other plasma based, both of which can be customised to serve several functions. The different functions include transforming your weapon into an RPG, mortar, grenade launcher etc. there is also a blade similar to that seen in shadow warrior which has been included that is a lot of fun.
Story may not be the game’s main focus, but there’s still a plot at the heart of the game. It’s told through a comic panels accompanied by voice acting during the loading screens. Voice acting is way below average by today’s standards (but this may be on purpose as a call-back to older games). The overall story arc is mostly incoherent and confusing proving to be one of the game’s weaker element. However, the developer knows the audience for its product and the chances are that old school shooter fans are likely to overlook the story anyway.
The game succeeds in providing anywhere between 4-6 hours of fast paced shooting. The recent release of Doom proves there is still a fairly sized audience who appreciate shooters that are purely mechanically driven. Hard Reset may not match up to the market leaders, but it still has enough to offer.
As fun as the fast gameplay and playing around with the customisable weapons are, the settings of all the levels are just way too similar. The repeated use of similar colour pallets (mostly grey) causes the game look repetitive very quickly. This is also not helped by the fact that apart from dodging and shooting enemies there is very little variation involved in taking out the enemies on screen. The enemy types introduced during the first 2 acts of the story are all too few. It takes some time until you customise your weapons, resulting in first couple of acts being the least interesting of the bunch. Furthermore, there is no multiplayer which does no help the longevity of the game, but given the price point this is somewhat forgivable.
Hard reset very much counts on the nostalgia that its potential audience have towards a more old school shooter and for me it very much succeeds in taking me on a nostalgia trip to a time where shooters were mostly just about the gunplay. However, I am also very grateful for its short stay and low price point as the game was starting to become repetitive and apart from old school shooter fans I really do not see this game as one to be purchased by just anyone looking to spend their hard earned cash.