Hard Reset: Extended Edition

Hard Reset is an old-school FPS, meaning a game for people who think things haven’t really moved forward in the genre since Quake. What it means here is that you don’t reload your guns, you get shot at a lot more, and you pick up a lot of medkits. For my money, Bulletstorm was a much better look at alternative evolutionary paths for the FPS, and it came out before Hard Reset did.

I played it on Easy, since the one thing I read about this game was people complaining about dying fifty times and being sent back to a checkpoint from like 15 minutes and 3 hordes of enemies ago, and it just didn’t seem worth it for a game I was never excited about anyway and wanted to get through in under 8 hours (it took me 7, and I found maybe 75% of secrets). As a consequence, I only died twice, both times when I was acting like an idiot and really deserved it, so it matched my experiences with Bioshock Infinite on Normal, which is to say that Hard Reset was pretty easy on Easy. But I had a little fun, and there were a few tight scrapes even on the low difficulty. I can respect the desire to get rid of quicksaves, but I don’t see why you can’t have regular saving in tandem with your checkpoints–just put the option inconveniently in a menu, make it take 5 seconds longer than it needs to, and while it saves, show some text like, “We designed this game with a certain level of challenge in mind, and would advise against over-saving for the best possible experience.” Sometimes it’s not about cheesing your way through. Sometimes players just want to go to bed.

There was a somewhat cool Attack on Titan-esque premise, where humans have ceded every part of the planet to robots, though the execution of it was somewhat forgettable. The voice acting wasn’t great, and I wasn’t sold on the cheesy comic-book cutscene speech bubbles and fonts, but the art and the game generally looked pretty good. The guns were cool too, and the way you interfaced with terminals was actually a lot smarter than how a lot of AAA games have done it. But I wasted a lot of time with hurdles that I inexplicably couldn’t jump over, and the game could’ve used a map.

Being old-fashioned, but without the ridiculous Marathon rocket-jumps and other stuff I personally miss from old-fashioned FPS games, and not doing a whole lot else to win me over, I’ll say that it was decently made, but an entirely skippable experience.

The reviewer believes this game stands above total mediocrity. It has something going for it, but ultimately few real merits. Most of the time, it isn’t fun, and doesn’t otherwise provide any sort of emotional payoff. Even though it does some cool things, you should play something else instead.
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