So let’s paint the picture here. It’s about 2pm on a Saturday afternoon, except this Saturday happens to be New Years Eve, and I am reminded by my Google plus feed that if you are, indeed, Australian it has just turned midnight, and the party is in full swing. I, however, find myself sitting at my desk thinking about the past week I spent with Hard Reset.Hard Reset is the first game from the indie studio, Flying Wild Hog, and, to be fair to them, it is a fairly simple idea. Make a modern shooter that plays like Quake or Doom, and set it in a socialist cyberpunk future. The execution is, by contrast, a little hit and miss. What you end up with is a mixture of aspects from almost every sci-fi shooter in the last 15 years. The game play is very Quake 2, the level design sort of reminds me of what would happen if Quake 4 and Half-Life 2 had a secret love child, and the upgrade system screams like it was copied straight out of Singularity, tied up, gagged, and dumped straight into the game.
The story is pretty much as you would expect from a game like this. You are Major Fletcher, a proud, deep thinking, border line alcoholic, bad ass soldier of the corporation that has charged itself with the protection of humanity. Your job, up until now, has been to keep guard of the sanctuary, a network that holds billions of digitized personalities and is the enemy machines’ key to surpassing their evolutionary limit.
The game starts with a Max Payne-style story board, which you can see by watching the story teaser trailer, after which you are dropped into a bright neon world heavy with particle and post processing effects. You are also given 2 guns, both based on a modular design so as you get upgrades, switching weapons is literally a case of a muzzle, barrel, or N.R.G coil reconfiguration. The problem is the weapons have absolutely no feel to them. If this was Quake I would be laughing manically as I unleashed 50 rounds from my assault rifle into the nearest cyborg’s mutilated human head. In Hard Rest it is almost a non event, a distraction placed to fill time to the next secret hunt.
Ah yes, the secrets. I love secrets in Shooters. I have always felt every shooter needs a good, well thought out, well placed set of secrets, and I’m not talking Call of Duty style Intel drops. I mean Quake style! I love it when games give you an opportunity to take a break from the persistent explosions and wave upon wave of enemy invasion forces and instead presents you with a new challenge by taunting you with a cleverly placed power up or weapon which has you saying a loud “How…. The…..BEJEZUS am I supposed to collect that!” Hard Reset has many of these moments and it is the reason I kept playing this game… well, that, and I kept saying to my brother, who was sat playing it on his machine next to me, “Does this remind you of Quake loads?” The further we got into the game the more the answer was yes.
That is one thing I almost forgot to mention. My brother got Hard Reset the same day I did, except he chose to play the game on hard, and I opted for a more casual (and apparently correct) choice of normal. On hard we found there were places that I would breeze through but Robbie (yes my brother is called Robbie Williams. No he isn’t the famous one from the Boy/Man Band Take That but yes it does work on girls very well) would struggle with. The further we got into the game the worse the problem became. It’s almost like the way the difficulty levels have been scaled is a over exaggerated.
So would I recommend this game? Yes, but not for the story, game play, or anything I have mentioned above. I would recommend this game to anyone who thinks Call of Duty is innovative or has never played the hardcore, old school shooters of the mid to late 90’s. I would recommend you buy this game because what Flying Wild Hog have done here is made a homage to the founders of the genre, and, for a first game from a new developer, it’s a pretty good effort. With some support from the public, I look forward to seeing what they can do next, and that is why I recommend this game.