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Hard Reset Redux (Xbox One) Review

The popular cyberpunk title from the PC, Hard Reset Redux is now available for consoles. This first-person shooter is chock full of destruction, weapons and robots.

The developers at Flying Wild Hog are looking to break the conventional mold of the FPS, as they did when they originally released Hard Reset on PC in 2011. Now, did they break the mold with Hard Reset? Well, while not quite ground-breaking, there are definitely new elements to this game that I have not experienced on a console in the last decade.

Let’s set the mood of the game with a quick recap of the story. It is the 25th century and humanity is on the brink of extinction. A robot army has risen up and decided to eradicate the human population, but all is not lost as humanity has walled themselves off into cities to try and stave off that extinction, though the robots are a constant threat. Gamers will play as Major Fletcher, a seasoned soldier of the CLN, a corporation-based military operation. The CLN is tasked with protecting the last human city of Bezoar.

Fletcher’s job is to patrol the wall and make sure there are no breaches from the murderous bots.  All in all, Fletcher had a relatively good life, or as good a life can be had with the threat of extinction right around the corner. That was until he was having a drink one night after work, and he received a call about a breach in his patrol area. He reluctantly leaves his local watering hole and investigates the sector to find that a massacre has taken place.

Hundreds of humans have been slaughtered at the hands of these grotesque abominations and Fletcher must solve the mystery as to how these robot beasts entered into the normally safe and secure city of Bezoar. Before long, it is revealed there is a traitor in the ranks of the corporation and they allowed the robots to breach the walls.

Fletcher is now tasked with eliminating this traitor and is about to succeed when he is incapacitated and captured. The next few scenes reveal a startling truth that rocks Fletcher to his core, and it’s in this next chapter that the real journey of Hard Reset Redux begins.

Hard Reset Redux is a terrifically fun game to play. The gunplay is tight and super responsive, and it actually reminded me of Halo 2 a bit. That’s a good thing since we are talking Bungie-type stuff here. Someone asked me the other day what I meant by “Bungie-type gunplay,” and I have to say this, it is the slickest and most responsive FPS game I have played since Bungie released Destiny.

Another different aspect to the it is there is no reloading. Now I’ve played a lot of video games, mostly on consoles and rarely on PCs, but for the most part there are not many experiences in a console FPS where reloading was not included. This aspect came as a bit of a shock to me and honestly took a bit of time to get use to.

How it works is that the weapons in this game have a set amount of ammo when you pick them up, and once that ammo is gone, the gun is empty. Players can reload the weapons through pickups dropped by enemies, so it’s a little different than usual.

Let’s talk about the weapons in Hard Reset.

Players will start off with two weapons, a machine gun, known as the CLN weapon, and the NRG weapon, which is an electricity-based weapon. And through the upgrade system, players can unlock variations of each one.

For example, the CLN weapon can be upgraded to turn into a rocket or grenade launcher. Players can choose between which type of weapon to use through the bumper button. The electricity-based weapon can be upgraded too, and can lay mines or fire off a powerful rail shot.

While playing in the early stages, my experience did not require a plethora of weapons. However, using just the machine gun and standard electric blast, I made it through a good portion of Hard Reset Redux. It wasn’t until later levels that my play through required some trial and error to find which weapon would work best against an enemy.

It appears that each enemy has some weakness to a particular weapon. So while I did not need to necessarily switch weapons, it did make my journey easier to pair up the weakness with the correct weapon. These weapons are a blast to play with but the real icing on the cake is the katana, yes, you read that correct, the katana.

About a third of the way through the game, players are given this amazing weapon. This katana can be compared to the electric gloves Batman receives in Arkham Origins, wait….what, did he just drop an Arkham Origins reference on us? I know, only about 10 people will get that one (I dug it -ed).

Maybe I should compare it to the Hyper Beam in Super Metroid on the Super Nintendo instead. I know that is an older reference as well, so I will throw one more out, hmmmmm, how about the Golden Gun in GoldenEye? Did I age myself well enough there?

Suffice to say, the katana kicks major ass and does not stop to ask questions. The slicing mechanic is smooth and easy. I had the “cut assist” option to the “on” switch, so that may have been why it was amazing, but regardless, the katana makes for a great addition.

Now it is not so overpowered you won’t need other weapons however. If you happen to get into a large crowd chances are your health will take some major hits, but by “sliding” to avoid damage and picking off enemies one by one, the katana by itself is the hero of the game.

Another feature of Hard Reset Redux is the ability to quickly “slide” in any given direction. This function is fun and creates some great game play situations. It creates the ability for players to play to their strengths.

Tankers can dodge quickly, strike massive damage and slide out before being hit. Snipers can sit back and dodge incoming fire while targeting enemies. This feature is another notch in the belt for really good features in this game. Players will need to learn which weapons work best while avoiding the onslaught of murderous robots hell bent on the eradication of Fletcher.

Much like his weaponry and moves, the enemies Fletcher will be fighting are pretty interesting. The robots have been trying to take over earth for decades and humanity is holed up in these micro cities, so there are flying robots and crawling robots both small and large, the scale of robots is a great addition.

One minute the player will be fighting little ankle biters only to look up and see a giant four-story tall robot targeting Fletcher for destruction. There are enough enemies to keep the game fresh even when some enemy models are reused and given a different color. There are also a lot of different options that you can make use of in eliminating the enemy other than your arsenal, and I’m referring to the environment.

The environment in Hard Reset Redux is a vital point of destruction and devastation if correctly utilized. Littering the levels are flammable barrels, gas cans, explosive electrical barrels, and electrical signs. Each one of these items can be blown up.

Players are urged to incorporate the environment into destroying robots. For example, an electrical generator will shoot out arching beams of electricity if fired upon. These arching beams can badly damage whoever gets in the way. This dynamic environment creates an interesting sandbox of opportunities to blow up robots. And let me tell you, it is glorious.

Imagine this, Fletcher drops into a room filled with explosive wall mounts and electrically-charged, explosive barrels. The room suddenly fills up with robots, all with an intent to do some serious harm to him. The player is now presented with numerous choices to which way to destroy the robot threat. Creating a chain of explosions while catching the robots in the blast is quite the exhilarating experience. This is just one option in a rather large number of methods used to kill baddies.

As Fletcher unravels the mysteries of his journey, Hard Reset does a great job of presenting the first chapter in this series. The adventure itself is an epic quest for the truth of Hard Reset’s world and Fletcher is a pivotal character. His story is really just beginning here.

Hard Reset Redux is a relatively quick adventure too, clocking in at around 10 hours. There are several features aimed at the replay value of this one though.

The N+ feature, one of my favorites, makes its way onto the game. Players that have finished the game may start a new adventure using the same character they have created from their first play through. I for one have already started my second play through so you can imagine what my opinion of the game is going to reflect.

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