Thoughts on Hard Reset

I had some problems with Hard Reset. In a nutshell: it's a FPS which tries to be a cyberpunk Serious Sam. But Sam was rather funny and absurd, and Hard Reset attempts to be serious. So, you shoot robots, get better weapons, shoot more robots, rinse and repeat. There are quite a few moments of first-person platforming, which NEVER works (sorry, Mirror's Edge, but yeah).
Also, the story is really bad. I tried to follow it for a while, but when these bland characters began to talk about "injecting AI matrices" (or something), my mind just turned off.

And it was the best thing I could do to play this game. You see, Hard Reset should be consumed with your senses, not your intellect. The most obvious thing is what's being thrown at your eyeballs: shiny robots, dirty alleys, houses and skyscrapers, it all looks spectacular. There's a great attention to detail here, from raindrops falling on streets, through various ads to random ships flying above. If you just stand for a while and look around, there's always something going on (and I don't mean the fights). There's also a lot of stuff that you can destroy. In fact, you should. Hard Reset wants you to launch "environmental kills" as often as possible: destroy a computer, which causes electrostatic pain to nearby robots; blow up a barrel or gas pipe, inviting some cyborgs to the party etc. You can destroy many other things, just for the sake of destruction - and that's cool. Lights get broken and suddenly it's dark. I remember myself trying to destroy lights in early days of FPS games, I was always impressed when a game let me do it.
But it's the gameplay where your senses, your instinct are most important. A big gorilla robot runs into you with lots of small robots. You apply an electric shock to them by destroying a device and send a rocket or two in their general direction. There's a shooting cyborg in the distance, you switch to machine gun, zoom in and kill him. A few smaller robots survived your rockets, you switch to shotgun and blow them to pieces just before they jump to your throat. And it all lasts 4 seconds. You feel like a total badass, and it lasts longer than 4 seconds.
It's all about quick, twitch decisions. Yes, it's repetitive, but when you pull off another action like this, it always makes you feel good. You can see Wild Flying Hog's focus on destruction; they worked so hard on it, that I spent half of my ammo just shooting around to destroy unimportant things. I'm almost sure the shotgun doesn't track if any bullet hits anything, it seems like it hits everything on the screen that's not far from you. And you know what? It's great. No matter how many of those little, pesky robots jump at you, shotgun will send them flying.
Hard Reset nods to older FPS games. Do you remember when an FPS game told you "Secret found!"? There are cracked walls, which you can blow up to access some of the secrets (Duke Nukem 3D!). Cyborgs, which remind me heavily of Stroggs from Quake 2. Boss fights! Bossess are really big (like they should be) and these fights were properly hard. The whole game was pretty challenging (I played on Normal). Lots of reviewers complained about too rare checkpoints, but I had no problem with them.
It's worth mentioning that it's a PC-only game, and it shows: not only the graphics are great, but you also get a menu with lots of options, including "Exit to system" and "Skip launch movie". These should be mandatory for any game! Why most games let me quit only using their main menu? Why most games force me to watch some hardware/middleware ads before playing?

Flying Wild Hog's message to console gamers?


I enjoyed this quite a lot, applied in average doses (1-2 levels per day). It's available on Steam and Desura



But seriously, first person platforming?

1 Response to "Thoughts on Hard Reset"

  1. zgrany says:

    I'm playing it right now and I can agree: it's old school (I love "secret found") and it's encouraging to blow things up :)

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