Published on September 29th, 2011 | by Derek Strickland, Contributor

Hard Reset PC Review

Developer: The Flying Wild Hog
Genre: Sci-Fi first-person shooter
Platform: PC (Steam)
Price: $29.99

Jump into the futuristic dystopian world of Hard Reset where humankind has waged a futile war against technology. The war is an everlasting struggle and the human race is on the brink of extinction. The high-tech monstrosities have assimilated to annihilate all humans and replace living beings with a collective virtual hive mind known as The Sanctuary. Little by little the machines took the world, and soon the corrupted automatons reigned over the destroyed ruin they left in their wake. The blasted wastelands occupied the machines are known as The Barrens, as they are barren of any natural life.

Not all is lost, however, and there still remains one last bastion of humanity: the city of Bezoar. The metropolis is futuristic and has elements akin to sci-fi classics such as Philip K. Dick’s Blade Runner, combining impressive elements of neo-noir with astounding graphics and high-tech environments. Bezoar is more than just a city–it’s humankind’s last hope at ever rebuilding civilization.

Bezoar is safeguarded by the CLN, an elite combat task force that protects the citizens of the sacred city, acting as wards against the constant and overwhelming threat of the machines. Players take control of a seasoned veteran CLN soldier named Major Fletcher who’s experienced in humanity’s everlasting war of survival against the machines. While Bezoar is heavily guarded and patrolled, machines sometimes break into the city and wreak havoc on it’s denizens–that’s when the CLN comes in and wipes them out.

Reminds you of Blade Runner, doesn't it?

Responding to one such call, Major Fletcher has no clue that the streets of Bezoar will soon turn into an intense and brutal war zone where machines run rampant around every corner. The machines have struck, and it’s up to Fletcher and the CLN to stop them before humanity is wiped out and The Sanctuary is breached. Will our hero be able to destroy the seemingly invincible robotic army, or is humanity doomed to be annihilated by their very own creations?

Hard Reset revives classic elements of first-person shooters and is an action-packed sci-fi thrill ride that’s enjoyable as it is challenging. Every single battle is full of frenetic action as players launch a relentless volley of bullets at enemy robots, some of which charge right at you. You’re never standing still in this game, and movement is quite important if you want to survive–players must constantly strafe and sprint to avoid enemy fire.

This game takes less focus on precision and accuracy and throws players into an insane firefight where reloading isn’t necessary. If you’re the type of gamer who likes to spray gunfire at everything you see, than Hard Reset is right up your alley. Players will also have to make use of the environment around them and use objects such as explosive barrels and destructible computers and electronics that shoot out bolts of electricity that stun nearby enemies. This use of strategy can often be the difference between life and death.

While reloading may not be necessary, you’ll still run out of ammo–and sometimes quite fast–so it’s best to keep an eye out for any glowing power-ups lying on the ground. Enemies usually drop a random power-up when they’re defeated, and depending on the color (green for health, blue for plasma, red for shields and orange for assault rifle ammo) the power-ups will refill important meters. These power-ups remind me of Quake in their style and function, and they are a necessary part of any shooter out there.

These hulking automatons are surprisingly fast and are quite lethal.

The arsenal in this ultramodern shooter makes use of rapid-fire weapons, and the two default guns are the standard CLN assault rifle and the plasma rifle. Both firearms have different ammunition, so if you run out of ammo with one gun you can switch over to the other without any worries. Other weapons are unlocked via upgrades and are essential in certain boss battles, and often each weapon has a secondary firing mode which is unlocked as well.

Hard Reset isn’t just a pure sci-fi shooter–it has a few RPG elements as well with the upgrade system. With these upgrades players can customize Major Fletcher’s weapons and equipment and make him into a force to be reckoned with. Upgrades vary from weapon enhancements–like scopes to the assault rifle–or even new unlockable weapons like the shotgun and grenade launcher. The equipment upgrades are also very useful, and they range from additions to the HUD interface with the map advancements to fortified shields.

Sometimes it’s hard to choose what upgrades you want, especially when you’re not sure how each of them will affect gameplay. Sometimes the current advancements make a dramatic difference, and others you’ll feel like you’ve wasted an upgrade point. Making apt and wise decisions with your upgrades can be the difference between survival and slaughter, so if you’re not sure it’s just best to save and accumulate the points.

The towering cityscape of Bezoar is impressive, especially at night.

Hard Reset also feels like a shooter that puts emphasis on survival. When you’re unloading fire on a smattering of incoming drones and constantly dodging the rushing automatons, gamers are simply trying to survive while dishing out as much damage as possible. In a way, it’s overwhelming and often players have to be lucky in order to beat a certain part. The destructible environments, explosive barrels, and electrifying terminals help in a big way…but overall the game takes the feel of an arena-type survival match where you’re trying to take out waves of enemies.

While playing this game you’ll feel an overpowering sense of victory when you destroy everything around you. The gameplay is invigorating, fresh and throws gamers into a lethal battlefield that puts emphasis on strategy and impulse alike. Sure, if you fill anything with enough bullets it will die, but gamers who get used to making use of the environmental hazards to their advantage will feel more empowered and will have a higher chance at survival–plus it’s just fun blowing things up.

Final Truth:

With a robust and inventive story arc, high-octane gameplay with relentless action, and it’s impressive futuristic style, Hard Reset is a great addition to any FPS fan’s library. It blows away gamers expectations of a PC Indie shooter and instills elements that many gamers out there had thought were dead, including the overall frenzied and high-paced survival action. With the myriad of upgrades and enhancements players can augment their hero as they see fit, putting focus on customization and battle proficiency to be an effective and efficient soldier.

This game pits players in a dystopian sci-fi futuristic world where the survival of the human race rests on one man’s shoulders, putting an interesting and enjoyable spin on the archetypal Hero’s Journey. With a variety of stages and epic boss battles, Hard Reset delivers an experience that gamers can relive many times over and still enjoy each playthrough as much as the first. Highly recommended for fans of sci-fi shooters that are innovative and action-packed.

[xrr label=”Rating: 9/10″ rating=9/10]

+ Action-packed FPS gameplay
+ Rich cyberpunk sci-fi environments
+ Many upgrades to customize weaponry
+ Expansive story featuring comic-style visuals
+ Insane boss battles
+ Impressive graphics
+ Awesome music & sound effects
Unforgiving survival-style difficulty
PC requirements

For more information on Hard Reset please visit the official website. To try a demo of Hard Reset or to purchase the full version, check the Steam web page.

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About the Author

I'm an aspiring games journalist who writes articles focused on everything from Indie Games to next-gen titles. [Twitter] @Mr_Deeke [E-Mail] derek.s(at)gamingtruth(dot)com

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