Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
As the name Hard Reset Redux alludes to, this is a revision of the popular budget shooting game that released a few years ago. The original title was fast, challenging but had its flaws. By and large Hard Reset Redux cleans up most of those issues while staying true to what made the original game so popular in the first place.
If you played the original, you probably have a pretty good idea of what to expect. You get a new enemy, a cyber-katana for melee combat that looks just as cool as it sounds, improved pacing and reduced difficulty spikes and more. Sadly the katana is not really all that functional. It feels tacked on to the original game, which was clearly built with shooting mechanics in mind, not melee weapons. It looks cool, but it is often ineffective.
If you are new to the world of Hard Reset, the story that serves as our backdrop is a pretty basic one where Humans are close to becoming extinct as they take refuge in the last remaining city of Bezoar. Humanity is locked in a struggle with machines that are constantly threatening the people of Bezoar. Our protagonist’s name is Fletcher and his sole objective is to eliminate the mechanized threat. What ensues are numerous major explosions and some pretty breakneck paced battles.
The story is pretty simple fare, but it is told through a series of comic book-like cut scenes between levels. None of it is really going to stick, it is mostly just loading screen filler that tries to give some purpose for your actions. Instead the meat of the game is in its combat, which is constant and occasionally brutal. At first glance, the world is interesting in its use of colors but the visuals do feel dated. While this remains true of the game throughout, that lack of technical expertise on the graphics front slowly seems to fade away as I found myself instead focused on the combat.
Your robotic enemies come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as do the different upgrades you can acquire for your assault rifle and plasma gun. You can find a substance called Nano, used for unlocking new modes for each gun or applying bonuses to the character himself. There are boss fights now and again, and they generally ridiculously overpowered with obvious weak spots indicated by glowing orange on them. These bosses as well as the general gameplay are unapologetic ally old school, which is kind of perfect timing given the recent release of Doom and how well received the title was for blending more modern mechanics with the speed and style of classic shooters.
There are a couple of problems that held back my overall enjoyment of Hard Reset Redux that need mentioning. For one, there are a fair number of framerate issues on the Xbox One. I have no idea if they persist on the PlayStation 4 or PC, but for a game as old as this one, it is both surprising and a little disappointing that this visual stuttering occurs on hardware that should be more than up to the task. Additionally, I felt that the UI could have been a little stronger (a miniature map of some sort would have been nice), and the voice acting is not going to win any awards.
Two of the complaints about the original game were the way the game seemed to spike in difficulty only to plummet again, creating a strange pacing that was never really all that consistent or comfortable. It was also a very short game. The difficulty curves of Redux have been smoothed out and there is some extra ground to cover now. It does nothing special for the story, but it does help to push the play time to closer to ten hours, which is not bad at all for a single player FPS that is all action and never feels like it is being padded.
Hard Reset Redux has the unfortunate issue of trying to recall classic FPS games so close to the Doom release that it cannot completely escape the long shadow of comparison that Doom casts. To its credit however, Hard Reset Redux is a lower priced game and it provides good value as long as you are okay with a game that is fast, furious and fully embraces its crazy action while providing no online multiplayer and somewhat dated audio and visual presentations. FPS fans should enjoy their time with Hard Reset Redux however, so long as they set their expectations accordingly.Score: 7.5/10