Hard Reset Redux (PlayStation 4) Review

By Nikola Suprak 27.07.2016

Review for Hard Reset Redux on PlayStation 4

It is always hard to tell when the time is right to relaunch or reboot a game. How much time needs to pass before a game really needs a slight upgrade in visuals or a minor gameplay addition before it feels like the biggest thing added was a little subtitle on the end of the cover art? Hard Reset was a game released in 2011, and Hard Reset Redux is basically just that with only the smallest of new additions. Whether or not this comes recommended largely depends if the original version has already been played, but if it hasn't, this is a great time to buckle in to one of the most action-packed shooters in recent memory.

The first thing that really jumps out here is the aesthetic. Not just in the futuristic dystopian level design, although the initial backdrops do a great job conveying exactly what sort of society this is almost immediately. Beyond that though, the cutscenes are told comic book-style, with hand-drawn images relaying the story, accompanied by little text boxes. It is a very visually striking experience at first, even though the graphics themselves perhaps aren't as sharp as some other modern shooters. It does a good job establishing a mood quickly, although the game as a whole doesn't take advantage of this. The comic panels don't seem to serve any real purpose beyond looking cool, because as the story unfolds, it doesn't really feel like a comic book sort of experience.

In fact, the story is really sort of muddled here. It isn't hard to figure out exactly what the supposed "twist" will be mere moments after the game starts up. The game pretty much telegraphs it from the very first cutscene, and does it so obviously that it is almost more surprising that they expected this to actually be a twist when they finally reveal it. Beyond that, the story is somewhat hard to follow at times. It isn't that it is particularly complicated or thought provoking, but rather that they speed through things like the audience is already supposed to be familiar with these locations and characters instead of just getting introduced to them moments ago. Important points seem to be rushed past like the story was being told on a time crunch, and the plot seems content to run by every thirty minutes, yell some words that you don't quite follow, then push you right back into the action before it is possible to ask any questions. It just isn't a very interesting story, and what is here isn't even told particularly well.

Screenshot for Hard Reset Redux on PlayStation 4

Hard Reset Redux actually feels out of place with most modern shooters on the market, but fans of retro 90s shooters should feel right at home. This is a swarm-based shooter with an emphasis put on action and reflexes instead of strategy. Huge swarms of enemies will appear, and it will take a constant supply of bullets and running backwards to escape the ever-present spectre of death. There isn't cover to hide behind, and there won't be moments of exchanging gunfire back and forth while ducking and waiting for health to regenerate. Run, shoot, keep running, keep shooting, oh no run faster they're catching up is pretty much the flow for most of the game, with only brief moments to catch your breath in between all the action.

It might sound a bit repetitive, and honestly, it can get that way at times, but it is also the same sort of high octane, intense fun that is sorely missing from the most recent generation of shooters. Enemies are wickedly aggressive, chasing and following as soon as they catch sight of something warm and squishy. It leads to some really intense and engaging shooting sequences, where survival is determined not by how well someone can hide behind a chest-high wall but how accurate their shooting and how quick their reflexes are. There is a decent variety in enemies and weapons, so although the constant shooting does grow a bit monotonous at times, the game does a good enough job keeping things fresh that it never becomes too boring. It is hard to keep a game that is nothing but 95% of the same thing over and over again engaging, but Hard Reset Redux manages to do just that. Part of that comes from the fact that the game is a little on the short side, but it is mostly due to the excellent shooting mechanics and thrill of the quick, heart-pumping encounters.

Screenshot for Hard Reset Redux on PlayStation 4

There really isn't much to do outside of the shooting, however. The levels themselves are fairly linear and lack any sort of fun, visual appeal. Large chunks of the game look very similar to each other, and the lack of a sense of exploration makes it feel like you're progressing down one long linear corridor from beginning to end. Hidden secrets along the way do help a bit, but they never really stray far off the path and most of them are pretty easy to find. It at least gives a little more to do, as digging around will be useful to find enough goodies to allow for upgrades. Both things like the character's base stats and their weapons can be upgraded, and the two starting weapons can be upgraded into entirely different guns with their own rates and kinds of fire. It is a nice touch to allow for some level of customization and character progression like this, and as such, it makes things feel a bit more modern without drawing the gameplay out of that very comfortable early 90s feel that it was clearly going for.

Screenshot for Hard Reset Redux on PlayStation 4

In terms of actual new content, the additions here are rather sparse and inconsequential. The biggest alteration seems to be that the enemy spawn points or exact number or kinds of enemies are sometimes slightly different. Granted, there are scenarios where these alterations do help. Things have been reworked just a bit here and there to make the flow even better, and a good amount of time seems to have gone into optimizing the layouts in such a way to make the action as intense as possible. Beyond this though, there really isn't much else. A melee weapon is handed out at some point, but it is significantly less useful than all the amazing weapons that are already available. Beyond that, this is the same game. Same weapons, same enemies. Heck, things almost look exactly the same, as it wasn't that long ago that the original was released. All the good, positive things previously mentioned are still absolutely true, but it is hard to justify another go around if someone already played the original title, because things are essentially the same.

Screenshot for Hard Reset Redux on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

While Hard Reset Redux might not be a wildly innovative experience, it is that same sort of intense, fast moving fun that really defined the early-era FPS titles. The emphasis is on constant action and an extra shot of adrenaline right into the heart if the action starts to lapse for even a second. The difficulty, repetition, and adherence to old genre staples might dissuade certain individuals from the ride, and it certainly isn't one of the best shooters currently available on the market. Still, even with these shortcomings, it is all good fun and remains that way all the way to the end. It is the video game equivalent of the summer action blockbuster. Perhaps it is not the most cerebral or original experience, but occasionally, huge guns, explosions, and enormous hordes of monsters are all that is needed for a good time.

Developer

Flying Wild Hog

Publisher

Gambitious Digital Entertainment

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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