Hard West (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 13.02.2016

Review for Hard West on PC

The Old West really has some bad luck. Despite being a time when many people were out in the wilds, where the tip of the gun could mean survival or death, and dealing with criminals, travelers, and native Americans. The Wild West constantly gets passed over in favour of war shooters, modern shooters, sci-fi shooters, and even mixing fantasy and sci-fi or modern into a shooter gets more attention than them. Will Hard West be the first step to change this? Probably not. It's still great fun regardless, though.

X-Com clones aren't that hard to find anymore. Falling Skies, for example, ripped it off almost entirely and tried its best to staple its show brand on it with little effort resulting in a game that was so utterly boring that it made almost anything else more engaging. It's far from the only game like that either. Hard West, however, tried to be different. Setting itself in what is, sadly, one of the more unfairly overlooked time periods in history, Hard West does something many of these clones did not; put some effort into being unique.

The combat, at first, would seem that it's just a normal X-Com clone. Head on in, hide behind cover like a mole with a gun, only popping out to shoot and rapidly move, and shoot anything that moves ASAP so it doesn't shoot back and, potentially, kill a character. Then luck comes into play and, with one addition, changes the whole game. Unlike in other games in which hits and misses are determined by the Random Number Goddess (RNG), and if one holds her favour or not, hits and misses in Hard West are quantifiable. Dodging a bullet takes luck, a finite resource that is replenished by getting shot. A finite resource that is also used for various abilities. With one tweak the game becomes far deeper.

It doesn't stop there. Abilities, for example, are not determined by equipment (in of itself at least) or levels but through a series of cards following the form of a poker suite. Not only does picking the right cards for a character determine their abilities for the battle but picking cards in the proper hand can grant some nice side-bonuses as well. Of course there is normal equipment as well with its assortment of abilities, such as healing and the like, but its stuff that has been seen before.

Screenshot for Hard West on PC

Additionally, instead of hiding out in a base and shooting aliens the player is encouraged to head out and search for gold across the map with various things coming in to elicit changes. For example, one can go panning for gold, but learning new techniques, while costing money to do, will increase the income by a non-negligible amount. Likewise there are things such as natives to buy herbs from, pastors willing to give blessings, criminal cartels, and other such things.

The game also boasts a half-way decent story following the tale of a young man trying to struggle through a world filled to the brim with supernatural powers, bad luck, and the like. Going into it in detail would require a decent chunk of spoilers, but it is a solid, well-done story on the whole.

This isn't to say the game doesn't have its shortcomings, however. A sizable chunk of time is spent not engaging in gunfights but, instead, dealing with repetitive searches for gold with some poorly marked indications of what is a place where panning for gold is possible and a place with events and potential upgrades. Likewise, the supernatural aspect… well… one of the abilities is called 'The Golden Bullet.' It is basically a shot that guarantees a hit no matter where on the map the target is. Even cover and not even being in sight can't save a foe. Does anything more need to be said about how broken these abilities can get?

Screenshot for Hard West on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The game is solid. It's not going to be legendary in any aspect, and has a few problems such as broken abilities, but is enjoyable all-around and nice to play. Effort was put in and it pays off in the form of actually feeling like its own unique title instead of just another rip-off even if the occasional flashback to fighting aliens happens.




Gambitious Digital





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 None   Australian release date Out now   


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