Review: Hard Reset Redux
Hard Reset Redux is a first-person shooter game available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. Hard Reset originally released on PC in September 2011 and is developed by Flying Wild Hog who have also created the Shadow Warrior re-make. The development team is building an excellent reputation of crafting fun, old-school first-person shooting games, but can Hard Reset Redux attain the same level of quality from its console debut on PS4 in comparison to Shadow Warrior?
The story revolves around a future in which humanity is on the brink of extinction from machines that are already controlling a vast amount of the planet in areas which have become known as the Barrens. The potential hero of mankind is as an army combat veteran named Major Fletcher who is a soldier of the corporation combat unit CLN who is tasked with protecting the only remaining city inhabited by humans called Bezoar after the machines have broken through the protective barriers in their quest to assume control of a network containing billions of digitized human minds known as The Sanctuary.
There are four game modes including: a Story Campaign, Ex Mode, Heroic Mode and Survival Mode with the Ex Mode and Heroic Mode being unlockables. The story campaign spans twelve chapters with a progressively unfolding storyline, while the Ex Mode is a further playthrough of the story campaign, although you are able to retain all of the weapons and levels you have attained throughout your first playthrough, therefore allowing you to maximise your impact on every enemy across the entirety of the game. The Heroic Mode which is another different playthrough of the story campaign, but this time the ability to save your progress is disabled as are mid level checkpoints; therefore you will have to approach each level strategically as if Major Fletcher dies just once, then you will be returned to the beginning of the current level and have to battle through all of the enemies all over again.
The Survival Mode tasks you with surviving for as long as humanly possible in order to earn the highest possible total score from surviving as many waves as possible and killing as many enemies in the process as possible too which is certainly easier than it sounds as hordes of enemies from throughout the game will run straight at you with the express purpose of killing Major Fletcher as quickly as possible with a new wave spawning within seconds of killing the entirety of the previous wave. You will receive an assault rifle and a plasma rifle with weapon and ammunition drops being produced by defeated enemies which can be quite helpful in your quest for survival, although there are no weapon upgrades at your disposal unless you earn them within the Survival Mode itself, regardless of what you have already earned in the story campaign.
Hard Reset Redux is a bundle of all content from the original game and all post-launch PC expansions including Hard Reset: Exile comprising of new levels to continue Major Fletcher’s story as well as new weapons, increasing enemy variation by adding new enemy types and an enemy boss, although some elements of the Exile expansion that were previously exclusive to the new levels have been integrated into the rest of the game. Beyond the inclusion of the Exile expansion which effectively takes the original game up to the Hard Reset: Extended Edition content, there are also some further additions and enhancements such as a Cyber Katana for close quarters melee combat, the ability to dash, various gameplay re-balancing, performance and graphical enhancements, and more besides.
The challenges feature provides you with 54 challenges to overcome ranging from killing 100 enemies in campaign mode, killing 20 enemies with one shot, killing 30 enemies within 20 seconds, killing 10,000 enemies, finding 25 secrets and even destroying 5,000 destructible items in campaign mode and much more besides, while on the road to completing the game with the challenges feature including a rather helpful breakdown of how close or far away you are on from achieving each challenge.
N.A.N.O. is effectively in-game currency which can be collected for the purpose of spending it at the HX-10 upgrade machine in which you can purchase new weapons, upgrades and combat gear. There is a wide range of weaponry that all pack a real punch and combat gear with Major Fletcher starting out with an assault rifle equipped with a Pirahna Gatling Barrel Block and a Plasma Rifle equipped with a Tempest Plasma Generator. CLN weapons include an assault rifle, combat shotgun, grenade launcher, RPG and proximity mines, while N.R.G. weapons include a plasma rifle, shock blaster, electric mortar, smartgun and most impressively of all is the railgun. Combat gear is also rather effective with initial equipment loadout including a tactical scanner which provides a directional damage HUD indicator, while further combat gear includes a trauma pack which triggers an enhanced perception mode when health is critically low, hi-capacitor which increases the maximum weapon capacity, a medical module that increases the maximum hit points and a shield emitter that increases the maximum capacity of the shield.
Every weapon has multiple upgrades available for purchase, although the previous upgrades must be installed before the next upgrade within each specific weapon or combat gear set can be upgraded such as the assault rifle which has a secondary weapon mode that allows for zooming on target module via a magnifying scope referred to as Cyclops and an increased rate of fire produced by a turbo engine called Firestorm. Further examples of upgrades includes the RPG which has a primary weapon mode as a rocket launcher called Ares followed by Razor that is a secondary weapon mode producing a laser guidance system and Trinity provides a cluster missile which is guaranteed to leave a mark on Major Fletcher’s enemies, while the same can be stated for the railgun which has a primary weapon mode named Wasp that allows the weapon to fire through obstacles with a penetrating particle beam, a secondary weapon mode called Sting that magnifies using an x-ray scope and a faster recharge known as Venom. Even some of the combat gear upgrades are interesting and quite useful such as the Cerberus equipment upgrade that adds enemy positioning to the HUD indicator for the tactical scanner, alongside many more CLN weaponry, N.R.G. weaponry and combat upgrades.
The character design is as varied as it needs to be as the enemy design includes machines in a variety of sizes and shapes with their own attacks such as claws, saws, guns and more besides and pace of movement that are determined to achieve their objective of capturing the Sanctuary and destroying anything in their way including the brave and heroic Major Fletcher. There isn’t that much humour produced by Major Fletcher in comparison to Shadow Warrior other than a couple of sarcastic comments made to his superiors when discussing his next set of mission objectives during the comic book art strip videos, although that direction fits into the bleak tone of the subject matter.
The environment design is varied from open streets to large structures and buildings with areas containing secret passages that usually lead to some ammo and health supplies, while looking up at the skies immediately provides the impact of a futuristic setting as there are hover cars moving towards their respective destinations as multiple large structures can be seen thousands of feet in the air. Most impressively of all, there are plenty of destructible environments that are so well constructed to a point of strategically placing destructible objects within a certain radius of each other in order to set off a chain reaction of explosions that you can lure enemies into by getting their attention, making them follow you and perfectly timing when you shoot at the destructible object. The destructible objects include lights, tables, chairs, glass, wooden crates, neon signs, hover cars, fans, electricity boxes, explosive barrels, boxes and much more besides with each destructible object having their own reactions. For example, the electricity boxes and fans will send out a huge blast of electricity and proceed to electrocute anyone or anything standing nearby, while hover cars and explosive barrels all have a huge impact and will most likely result in immediately killing multiple enemies.
The statistics include a varying range of statistical analysis such as your total points score and challenges score; time played; the amount of challenges completed, secrets found, enemies killed, damage done, deaths, objects destroyed and damage received; the individual mission score for each of the twelve chapters; and the individual survival scores for each of the four survival scenarios.
The extras menu consists of an artbook, movies, and credits. The artbook, titled The Art of Hard Reset: A Visual Journey, initially contains 8% of the artwork unlocked with five images available from the beginning and the further 92% unlocked as you progress through the game. The artwork follows the story and the characters while the movies, which are also unlocked as you progress through the game, provide a full recap of the story. The well presented and atmospheric credits showcase the talents of those who worked on the development and release of the game.
The performance during remote play is excellent as the graphics, audio and general performance are all of the same quality of the PS4 version with the exception of some optimisations in an attempt to fit the control scheme onto the Vita. The controls of primary attacks and secondary attacks have been moved from R2 and L2 to R and L respectively, while L1 for displaying the weapon selection wheel is now assigned to holding the bottom left of the touch screen and pressing R1 for dashing and holding R1 for sprinting have now been configured to the bottom right of the touch screen with the DualShock 4’s touch pad being replicated on the centre of the Vita’s touch screen for opening the journal as well as select representing the share button. The refinements to the control scheme provide the feeling of an appropriately optimised experience which is perfectly complimented by a comfortable control scheme as though it was purpose built for the Vita.
The controls are well mapped to the DualShock 4 controller with the control scheme consisting of pressing R2 to perform a primary attack with a sword or gun; pressing L2 to perform a secondary attack; pressing R1 to dash forward or holding R1 to sprint; pressing L1 to display the weapon selection wheel; pressing X to jump or use an item; pressing square to select a CLN firearm; pressing O to select a N.R.G. weapon; pressing up on the d-pad to display your current mission objectives; pressing left or right on the d-pad to cycle to your previous or next weapon mode respectively; pressing down on the d-pad to toggle your flashlight on or off; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to move; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to look around the surrounding environments; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu. Tapping the touch pad opens your journal, while the light bar utilises a variety of colours and tones to produce an indicator showing the status of Major Fletcher’s health ranging from a bright green to show full health steadily declining into lighter shades of green into yellow, orange and dark red when on the brink of defeat from his enemies, alongside vibration when firing a weapon at his enemies.
The left-handed control configuration provides three sets of individual options to switch the buttons layout for the weapon selection wheel from L1 to become R1 and the sprint of R1 to become L1; the L2 and R2 button layout for the secondary attack of L2 to become R2 and the primary attack of R2 to become L2; and the sticks layout for moving your character with the left analogue stick to become the right analogue stick; and for looking around with the left analogue stick to become the right analogue stick. The alternative control schemes are an extremely positive design choice as it will certainly allow for players from different first-person shooter games to find the control scheme that is most comfortable for their play style.
As this is a game which originally released on PC in 2011, you would be forgiven for expecting that the graphics would have aged and would not be on par with PS4 games before playing the game, but it is the true sign of an excellent remaster when the developer makes the effort of updating the graphics engine from the original version of their internally built RoadHog engine to their updated RoadHog engine which graphically pushes the PS4’s powerful hardware as much as Shadow Warrior. RoadHog version 2 creates dynamic lighting effects for every object whereas the original RoadHog engine provided baked ambient occlusion only worked with static objects, therefore producing a massive improvement in lighting and shadow effects. Hard Reset Redux also possesses spectacular particle effects such as sparks and electricity, amazing smoke and flame effects, blood splatters, rain droplets and heavily destructible environments, alongside the game performing smoothly throughout as all of the characters and enemies have fluid animations and look as detailed as the environments.
The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, game mode menus, statistics menu, options menus, extras menu and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left and right analogue sticks, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the touch pad. The background of the menu screens consists of complex machinery as sparks fly in a seemingly futuristic environment.
The audio comprises of excellent performances from the cast of voice-over artists including Jim Manney voicing Major Fletcher, Dave Hilton voices Policeman 2, Lauren Lee voicing CEO, Assistant and Haven Dispatch, Larry O’Brien as Haven and Policeman 1, Dustin Parkhurst as HQ Operator and Bob Walter as Professor Novak and Spike One. The sound effects include Major Fletcher walking, sprinting or dashing, gunfire from your weapons, a range of attacks from machines and their respective weaponry, explosions from environmental hazards such as explosive barrels and electric devices when shot at and ambient sound effects such as heavy rain that breathes more life into the surrounding environments, alongside atmospheric music, while the DualShock 4 speaker sporadically produces a voice-over detailing your latest objective.
The trophy list includes 54 trophies with 40 bronze trophies, 12 silver trophies, 1 gold trophy and 1 platinum trophy. The majority of the trophies can be earned as you progress through the story campaign such as the Rookie bronze trophy for collecting 10 full N.A.N.O. bars; the Bad Boy bronze trophy for killing 100 enemies; the Naughty bronze trophy for destroying 50 destructible items; the Perceptive bronze trophy for finding 5 secrets; and more besides. Harder trophies include the Treasure Hunter and Millionaire silver trophies for finding all secrets throughout Bezoar and Barrens respectively and the Achilles gold trophy for completing the campaign mode on the Heroic mode which is harder than the insane difficulty level. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 25 to 35 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are four difficulty levels including easy, normal, hard and insane with the Redux release providing re-balanced difficulty levels, while changing the placement of enemies to new areas in comparison to the original version of Hard Reset makes the game feel fresh and as difficult as a game is capable of being during a first playthrough even for players who are very familiar with the original game. Normal difficulty provides enough of a challenge, although the major differences between each difficulty level being a certain increase in the amount of damage you receive from every enemy, while the damage you deal to enemies is vastly decreased to such a point that you may have to even double or treble the number of times you shoot or make contact with your sword before having the same effect during the insane difficulty level in comparison to the easy difficulty level and in some cases; there are even a greater quantity of enemies to contend with.
There is no local or online multiplayer which is surprising as it would have added new layers of gameplay in regards to the potential of competitive multiplayer for between two to four players locally via split-screen and significantly more players during online multiplayer in Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and more besides, while co-operative multiplayer would have provided a full story campaign for two players via drop-in/drop-out split-screen or online multiplayer.
However, there are online leaderboards which focuses on top 50 rankings, the rankings of those situated around your ranking and friends rankings with each leaderboard containing each player’s rank; name (PSN ID); and their score with the positioning of each player based upon their total points throughout the four individual environments from Survival Mode and the total score between all four of them totalling to five leaderboards.
The replayability stems from an entertaining story campaign, survival game mode and two unlockable game modes in the forms of ex mode and heroic mode, challenges, four difficulty levels, upgradeable weapons, unlockable art and movies, 81 secrets to find and competitive online leaderboards which collectively provide many reasons for players to keep on returning to the game for an extremely long time even after the initial playthrough.
Overall, Hard Reset Redux provides plenty of fast-paced old-school first-person shooter gameplay reminiscent of the original Quake games which makes Hard Reset Redux a highly recommended game for players who are fans of the old-school first-person shooter genre, while containing enough new content for players who are familiar with Hard Reset from its original PC release in 2011 to play and enjoy the Redux version as it possesses the same level of quality as Shadow Warrior that elevates it to a must purchase at any price.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Entertaining and challenging story mode across four difficulty levels
- Unlockable game modes
- Challenges essentially provide 54 secondary objectives
- Upgradeable weapons
- Unlockable concept art and videos
- Large environments to explore with 81 secrets to find
What I Dislike:
- No multiplayer