Wot I Think: Hard Reset

By John Walker on September 9th, 2011 at 12:00 pm.

Ponce.

Announced and released within just four months, the first game from Polish super-group Flying Wild Hog, Hard Reset, was something of a surprise to the world of PC. Dedicated to the platform, it’s a defiant thing: a first-person shooter with no multiplayer, no console vibe, and old-school shooter values, and it’s due out next Tuesday. So does it deliver in its specific niche. Having just completed it, I’m fully equipped to tell you Wot I Think.

Hard Reset had a chance. What could have been one of the more entertaining shooters is rendered often tiresome thanks simply to the hubris of one design choice. That, and its being incredibly short and going absolutely nowhere.

It was obvious from the preview code that Hard Reset’s desire to recreate the 90s shooter was going to be undone by its awful checkpointing. Despite embracing everything else that made old-school shooters so much fun – no reloading, no cover, no regenerating health – for some inexplicable reason they decided to go with the modern vanity of checkpoints. They know better than you where you should restart, and it’s about three battles, a long walk, and one gun augmentation before the point where you died.

(To remove doubt, I’m not trying to win the quicksave/checkpoint debate here. I’m simply taking the logic that, if a developer is clearly incapable of putting checkpoints in the most vaguely sensible places, then quicksave is always preferable.)

Hard Reset is deliberately an extremely difficult game. Even on Normal, you’re being faced with a tough challenge from the start, large waves of robotic enemies frequently pinning you down in the twisting sprawl of city streets. It’s a shooter that remembers shooters were meant to kill you. But it’s also a shooter that forgets how that mechanic needs to work.

There’s something of a story, but it’s so incomprehensibly delivered that it’ll wash right past you. Max Payne-alike comic book sequences offer a low budget (although often nicely illustrated) means of explaining that robot AI has taken over the world (or something), and you’re the one who can run around shooting at it. But it’s mostly such overblown gibberish that there’s not much point in paying attention. It’s pretty telling that they play over the level loads, with an option to have them shush as soon as the next section is safely in your RAM.

But the story’s really not the point here. What you’ve got is the most incredibly gorgeous proprietary engine offering vast, slick cities painted in Bladerunner grey and neon. Made exclusively for PC, none of either console’s ancient limits restricts potential, meaning intricately detailed views stretch to the skyline, while gorgeously shimmering rain-soaked robots litter the screen. And you’re going to shoot at them.

The game’s smartest choice is the two-weapon system. One fires bullets, the other electricity, and each can be augmented to an enormous degree. Using collected “N.A.N.O.” points, and an upgrade station, you can choose which new weapon modes, or modes within modes, (and indeed armour options) to add on, meaning by the end you’ve just as varied a load of weaponry as any other classic shooter, just more efficiently contained within two main guns. And thankfully, since almost every preview pointed out how impossible it was to tell which gun mode was which, they’ve improved the HUD to give you clear feedback about what you’re about to fire.

(They listened to that criticism.)

For great stretches the checkpoint issue doesn’t arise. Well balanced sequences offer some lovely detail. Going into a room and seeing the shadow of a robot disappear around the corner, knocking over a barrel on its way, creates a superb atmosphere, a good sense of foreboding. Heavy, tough fights stand between you and the next destination, in what is a distinctly linear route through the levels. But often you’re tagging a checkpoint as you arrive in each new area, and all is fine.

The problem erupts so miserably on what turns out to be four or five occasions of a slight game, when it puts you in a pocket of multiple waves of enemies. Appearing with a peculiar timing, each new round of enemies rush in usually before you’ve had time to scoop up the needlessly disappearing health and ammo drops from the last lot. Which is fine – that would be a tough, interesting battle. But it’s when you’re on the fourth stage of the fight, and you get pinned by the game’s weird need to fill the already tight spaces with dozens of obstacles. Get trapped in a corner, or simply be unlucky enough to be near a car or barrel when an enemy fires at it, and you’re dead in a second. Which, after a load, puts you back before the first wave of it all. And far too often, a walk away, with an upgrade station between, meaning any previous tweaks you’ve made will need to be redone.

The battles, however, are often genuinely excellent, despite the rather basic AI on display. Enemies run/roll toward you, and then hurt you. But they run in such numbers, or with such force, that it’s a desperate backward scrabble to survive. It’s not Serious Sam, but it’s reminiscent of id’s shooters at their most frantic.

And astonishingly, this isn’t a case where changing the difficulty level is a solution. If I go to turn it down to Easy to get past a particular bottleneck, the game informs me that this is a permanent change, and I can’t change it back. What? Presumably tied into the entirely unwanted achievements, tiered to the difficulty you’re on, it seems to be a measure to stop you, er, cheating at achieving meaningless pop-ups? This is a single-player game. There isn’t even a multiplayer option. So the game is deliberately handicapping itself and me in order to protect something utterly without meaning or merit. There’s no option to turn bloody achievements off, so what do I do? Switch the game down to Easy and then no longer enjoy the excellent challenge in other parts of the game? Or just replay the same section 900 times until I fluke my way through it?

There are a couple of other rather sizeable issues. The first, and perhaps most significant, is the frequent failure to recognise button presses. In the frantic fighting, having the game ignore your wheel scrolls or pressing of Q or E to change weapon is utterly infuriating. And can frequently lead to death. In the later stages of the game you can have some incredibly powerful ranged modes for your weapons, which are no use when you’re being swarmed by six pesky robots around your feet. So when it won’t switch for whatever reason it has, you are overwhelmed and die, and are sent back to whatever point in the history of mankind it was last deemed a checkpoint might be necessary. It’s hard to maintain your patience.

The second is the ending. The story, such as it is, at least pretends to be going somewhere, giving you the impression that there’s more interesting stuff to play. Your character can apparently store other people’s consciousnesses in his brain – or something. It’s honestly such nonsense that caring what was going on became a bit too demanding. But whatever’s happening, there’s a manner of twist halfway (let me stress again, none of this affects the game you’re actually playing – just the cutscenes), and then just when it seems to be about to go somewhere… it ends.

There’s all this promise of your character’s unique abilities being realised, something about nanobots and my brain, making me wonder if I was about to reach a significant turn in the game, a new element being added to how I play for, what, the final third? But in fact the whole thing is over in about six or seven hours, all of that blather utterly unrelated to the steadily unchanging game itself. When waiting for the next level to load after a particularly dull boss fight, seeing the credits appear was just mystifying. Oh. You’re done.

Which is infuriating, because everything that was needed for a great game was in place. Stupid, tiresome checkpointing that had ample opportunity to be fixed, combined with difficulty spikes alongside no option to turn the difficulty back up again, and what turns out to be a meaningless, repetitive romp, all squish down a really fun shooter. Many of the battles, especially early on, offer tremendous challenge, coupled with the wonderful animations and characters of the enemies. It just turns out that those few enemies are all you’ll encounter throughout, and they don’t start doing anything new at any point.

It looks utterly incredible, and deserves to be lauded for that. With so much going on at any point, it ran like a dream once I’d dropped the anti-aliasing down from an ambitious 8x. The enemy design reveals real talent behind the game, their quirky behaviour and exquisite animation constantly a pleasure. And while the levels are nothing other than a series of beautifully gloomy corridors, they’re just open enough to offer easy searches for secrets, and occasionally small arenas for extended fights.

I fought hard to like Hard Reset. But with the way it just stops before it feels like it went anywhere, everything I was forgiving as a step toward the next stage turns out to have been it. Despite having two or three hours of good fun from it, I come away without any of the fondness I’d scraped together. But good grief, the engine is remarkable, the notion was there. Maybe their next game?

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141 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge Tom De Roeck says:

    Sounds like its going to be DLCed to hell and back..

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Or maybe it was a hurried release? Then again, saying ‘Oh , I don’t think we’ll make it, let’s cut the last third of the game’ doesn’t sound like a sound decision to me.

    • jokomul says:

      I sure hope not. That’s definitely not in the spirit of “old-school shooters.” I don’t want to end up paying $75 for this game with all the DLC.

      On a side note, I really don’t mind the checkpoints. I actually think it’s a better system than the quicksave function. In Serious Sam, I always forget to use quicksave and I end up starting all the way back at the beginning. Then you have players like my friend who press it every 5 seconds and there’s absolutely no repercussion for dying. I think the checkpoint system is a happy medium.

    • SIGSEGV says:

      How would DLC “not be in the spirit of old-school shooters”? Doom had Final Doom, Quake and Quake 2 both had two mission packs to play through, Unreal had Return to Na Pali. Paying $10 for a new campaign wouldn’t be breaking the old-school motif, rather it’d be a modern way to deliver it.

    • Waltorious says:

      @jokomul,

      Checkpoints + quicksave is better, surely? I found Half-Life 2 to have an almost perfect system. I don’t buy these arguments about abusing quicksave… that’s a player choice, it’s not forced by the design. I suppose the absolute best system would let you choose whether or not checkpoints and quicksave were enabled. If you are afraid of abusing quicksave, turn it off in the options and just use the checkpoints. Or just, you know, don’t abuse quicksave.

    • Devenger says:

      jokomul: I suppose it’s a case of a checkpoint-save system having the potential to be better than allowing quicksaves (because it fosters consistent skill, which is very satisfying, personally at least), but also being able to completely ruin a game if the checkpoints are poorly placed. I think that some of us are mentally scarred from how bad checkpoints without quicksaves can be (specifically, any developer that doesn’t put their checkpoints AFTER cutscenes deserves some sort of divine punishment), which overshadows how well some games manage to pull them off.

      Then again, a lot of it comes down to the type of game, and how consistently the game plays. I will love BIT.TRIP RUNNER for its ruthlessly long levels that are essentially like irregularly placed checkpoints in the game, but that’s because I know that it will play the same each time, every feature of the level is visible and consistent with past experiences (apart from the briefest of tutorial sections), and failure is no-one’s fault but my own. Specifically, shooters with explosive scenery that kills you instantly is, in my mind, almost incompatible with checkpoint-only play. Any game that forces you to replay long bits you are completely capable of getting right, because of a (possibly) non-obvious, level-specific bit that you got wrong, is automatically frustrating.

  2. Premium User Badge JiminyJickers says:

    Yeah, got the same impression from the demo. Looking forward to what they do in the future, just need to expand on their ideas.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Yeah, same impressions for me, especially the unresponsive weapon switch. You want to switch quickly to the close range weapon? You have to plan ahead, because it will take 2 seconds, if it takes the key press.

    • deadsexy says:

      I think it’s not allowing you to change the weapon while the one you’re currently using is on cooldown

    • LionsPhil says:

      That does appear to be correct, and it’s a horrible, horrible, horrible piece of maldesign. Weapon-switching is completely ignored while those bars around the cursor are still going away.

      I could maybe see “you can’t reconfigure your electricity-spewer while it’s still sore from lobbing out a zap-mine, so you can’t cheat yourself a better RoF”, but not letting me put it away and grab the bullet-flinger to finish off the one little sawblade bot that is chewing away at my shins because I move so slowly is just unjustifiably annoying.

      (If only one could engage the mighty foot.)

    • ChampionHyena says:

      A lot of PC gamers seem to think a quick melee key is solely a console innovation even though Duke did it aeons ago. There need to be more games–old school PC-style FPSes included (or perhaps especially)–that let you just haul off and slam your hell into somebody’s head if you’re busy reloading or switching weapons.

      Hmm. Serious Sam? I never use that damn combat knife.

  3. Abundant_Suede says:

    It looks pretty though. If the engine is that impressive, are there plans to release a toolset? A “Blade Runner” engine could only be a good thing for the modding community.

    • Premium User Badge mrwonko says:

      The other day someone on the steam forums claimed the developers had stated they’d release modding tools if the game did well enough. Looking forward to that, in fact supporting it by purchasing.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      It seems like the reverse should be true. If you have good technology but an iffy game, releasing the toolset with a purchase to develop mods that might interest people is another way to drive sales.

      Plus, with the CDP dna in the development team, it’s something I would sort of expect.

  4. John Connor says:

    The demo ran like absolute crap, and my system isn’t exactly ancient. Even on Medium it barely stayed over 30fps and was incredibly unresponsive (and before you ask the obvious question, I did turn hardware mouse on). Is it just the demo that runs like shit or the whole game?

    • Gnoupi says:

      Maybe there was a problem with your particular configuration, but the game was very smooth for me, even in ultra. HD5870 mobility for me.

    • Shadowcat says:

      You say “even at medium” as if that’s the full extent of the adjustments available to you. Look again. The game still looks lovely on its lowest settings.

    • neems says:

      What is your system spec? Most people have commented on how well it runs.

    • Eclipse says:

      Ran it on my systm at ultra settings (everything at max) and on 1920×1080 with antialias, stable at 60 fps (I had also vsync on of course).

    • LionsPhil says:

      1280×1024 on whatever it configured, which looked pretty and I think was medium-high-ish, from a machine from 2007 with a (high-end) 8-series GeForce.

      I can’t call it a bad engine at all. In fact, its mix of pretty and fast made me think of the Serious Engine.

    • Nim says:

      If the demo ran like crap like you said it did then I can only assume a couple of different reasons for this:
      1. Your graphics configuration was inappropriate
      or
      2. Your “ancient” system is simply not up to the task.
      or
      3. Your computer is running too many processes at the same time.
      or
      4. Your computer is infected with malware or is in a state of disrepair.

      The game DOES NOT RUN LIKE SHIT. It runs fairly well on my non-gaming laptop with a T4500 processor and Mobility Radeon HD 4650 from yesteryear. It’s a beautiful engine which runs nice and smooth. Trust me, I can tell when a game engine is unoptimized.

    • trigger_rant says:

      The demo ran perfect for me, and I dont have a top of the line rig.

    • Premium User Badge It's not me it's you says:

      Yeah, my PC’s not exactly top of the line and the demo ran smooth all the way through on ultra – there’s problems with this game, and with the demo, but for me at least, performance absolutely isn’t one of them.

    • Premium User Badge PoulWrist says:

      Must be some issue with your system, or you just don’t have one that is any good. My 5870 and X4 965 ate it up and cruised away at a steady high framerate of 50-70 in most situations. Jumping into the middle of an explosion and such would drop to 30, sadly.

      But, that’s at 2560×1440, ultra settings and MLAA.

    • John Connor says:

      I have a quad core at 3.2ghz, a HD4890 (which can run basically anything other than this at highest settings with no problems) 8 gigs of ram… This game, which doesn’t really look much better than many of the other games I can max out, has titchy tiny environments and so-so shadows, runs like crap.

      If my configuration or some malware is infecting my system, it only effects this game. Occams razor suggests its not my computer that’s the problem here.

    • kavika says:

      I’m not sure it is a foregone conclusion that it will run like shit, in general or on your system. Rather than telling you that you’re doing it wrong, how about this: What have you tried? Are you interested in solving this problem?

  5. Loix says:

    Two things that instantly put me off, minor as they may be, due to rage:

    * Unskippable intro videos. Instant hate.
    * Navigating the main menu to change options is fucking hideous. Animation every time the window changes, what the hell man? Ended up going in game just to cut that shit out and get my display settings sorted.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Hideous wasn’t much of the problem, for me, rather the 3-4 seconds between each screen.
      It’s pretty, ok, but it has to be functional. Half a second should be the max limit for a “pretty transition effect”.

    • John Walker says:

      It’s a damn site faster than it was in the preview code. Incredibly.

    • Calneon says:

      Was the preview code the same as the demo code? The demo took a good few seconds between menu screens, I can’t quite grasp how anybody would think having longer transitions than that a good idea :S.

    • Shadowcat says:

      That main menu is diabolical. I was so relieved when I found that, once in the game, the option menu transitions became pretty much instant.

    • Premium User Badge It's not me it's you says:

      The main menu in the demo made my blood boil. I thought we’d gotten past being forced to watch pretty transitions between screens when flash-based websites died out in the early ’00s.

  6. ran93r says:

    I was quite intrigued by this but might wait a bit and see if they attempt to fix er up. Also the HUD looks completely out of place, like it was designed by a child being mentored by a clown.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It looks a lot worse in previews and trailers than in-game.

      In-game you’re too busy trying to sidestep bull-rushing things despite wearing concrete shoes (jumping helps…a little) and screaming.

  7. Tiger Schwert says:

    The battles, however, are often genuinely excellent, despite the rather basic AI on display. Enemies run/roll toward you, and then hurt you. But they run in such numbers, or with such force, that it’s a desperate backward scrabble to survive. It’s not Serious Sam, but it’s reminiscent of id’s shooters at their most frantic.

    I couldn’t give a fuck about how badly you think the checkpoints are placed or how bad you find the story to be, but this makes it a terrible game in my eyes. Doom, the best FPS or at least close to that, has two enemies in all its bestiary that run up to you and try to hit you – Demons and lost souls.

    It’s this emphasis in this game as well as Serious Sam and Painkiller on fights where you’re slowly backpedaling away from a massive clump of enemies trying to get to melee range, instead of fights where you’re dodging projectiles and you’re the one trying to get close, that makes me think developers of “old-school” shooters have never actually played an old school shooter and just think that removing regenerating health will make your game good.

    Also you can sprint for like half a second in the demo and you can’t upgrade it in the demo. Probably can’t rocket jump either. Pretty graphics though.

    • DK says:

      There really is no need for a long sprint anyway – the default run speed is as fast as modern shooter sprint in all directions. Sprint is just there to give you a boost that’s just big enough to let you evade the charger-bots. It’s a genuine resource in this, not a convenience tool that’s limited for no reason.

    • LionsPhil says:

      The long cooldown on sprint, combined with the fact it has to be forwards and does all the stupid modern blurry-and-no-shooting nonsense, plus on top of that the tendancy of little robots to swarm around your feet, I found made it absolutely useless for dodging.

    • Premium User Badge HermitUK says:

      It still amazes me that UT’s double-tap dodge move hasn’t been used by more games. Sounds like it’d be the perfect fit here.

      Game itself sounds interesting, but the lack of quicksave means I couldn’t see myself playing it more than once, making the price somewhat over what I’d be willing to pay. One to pickup in a sale, methinks.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Thank you for pointing this out. I have never, for the life of me, understood the fascination with giving the player a long-range weapon and then filling up your game world with enemies who just ignore this fact and try to lop the player’s head off with melee weapons. Literally the definition of bringing a knife to a gun fight.
      .
      It is never fun to simply shoot at your own feet all day. Why oh why developers think otherwise, I will never understand. Borderlands did it. Both fallout games did it (that is all they did do without modded Combat AI in fact, guns or otherwise.) Now this game does it too.
      .
      Sadly disappointed that after all of this time, Hard Reset took this approach to enemies. I would much prefer combat and enemies which can challenge me based on their ability to react and use weapons smartly, as opposed to massive hordes of unintelligent drones hellbent on biting off me knees.

    • ChampionHyena says:

      I love me some Serious Sam and Painkiller, but this is a good point: generally, hordes of melee-ers do not appear in Doom. More often it’s circle-strafing a giant tangled mass of demon-limbs that has a cloud of fireballs spraying out in every direction. With enough ammo (and enough MONSTER INFIGHTING!), you’d just spin around the horde until everything was leaking from a few too many entry wounds.

    • subkamran says:

      I am wondering what id will be doing in RAGE. From all the gameplay I’ve seen, they seem to have mitigated any melee bandits with the sweet sharperang.Too close for comfort? Chop it’s head off. For the most part it seems you do fight at range.

    • GBoyzJay says:

      As a fellow reviewer, I found the “hordes of melee enemies” quite simple. The answer is either shotgun (for the CLN gun branch) or Tesla grenades (for the NRG branch). As noted, the gun won’t shift if your weapon is cooling down, and this can lead to awkward moments, but it’s nowhere near as hard as it sounds.

      Put it like this: I have yet to be killed by the mini-melee enemies, it’s the “Gorillas” that generally get me. And there are ranged enemies, and, in the scene John is referring to (the Garage), the checkpoint is, it’s true, awkwardly placed… but backpedalling is possibly one of the worst things you can do in that particular area anyways.

  8. Calneon says:

    A full price game that lasts ~7 hours, with no multiplayer or extra gubbins? No thanks.

    • MSJ says:

      Is is still “full price” at $30?

    • Shadowcat says:

      Actually, it has a 10% discount at the moment (on Steam at least). Ignoring that, I’m not sure what your “full price” complaint is about. ALL games have a “full price”. If a game was discounted 100% of the time, it wouldn’t actually be a discount. This game’s full price is different to those of the many more expensive games you could buy.

    • tanith says:

      Yeah, with 25 Euro it’s anything else than full price. In fact it’s half of the full price.
      I wonder what you said about Modern Warfare 2 with its 4 hours of singleplayer gameplay and 60 bucks retail price. Twice full price?

    • Calneon says:

      Well, it’s £22.99 before the 10% pre-order discount. That’s the price I usually buy games at (online retailers usually sell for £20-£25). That’s full price to me (as in, not ‘indie price’).

      @tanith – £25 is normal price for a PC game to me, so if MW2 cost £50, then I guess yes, I might refer to it as twice full price :P. Maybe instead of ‘full price’ I should say ‘AAA game price’ or something?

    • Chibithor says:

      There are other currencies, you know. 25€ with discount is half the price of a full priced title like Space Marine, Dead Island etc. on Steam. I can get them for 40€ or so from retail, but it’s not that far off. While the UK retail prices tend to be very low in comparison to other countries, I’d still say it’s fair to call it half a full-priced title since that’s pretty accurate for most countries AFAIK, retail or not.

    • elfbarf says:

      GreenManGaming is planning on adding it to their store this weekend or early next week, you’ll be able to get it for 15%+20% off using the code GREEN-MANGA-MING1.

  9. rocketman71 says:

    Debate?. What debate?. No quick save is FUCKING WRONG, plain and simple.

    Hey, wanna put checkpoints in your game because it raises the tension or whatever?. Go ahead, do it!. But let me choose if I want to use quick save, because otherwise I’ll be thinking about your mother when I play the same section for the 20th time, or when I have to shut down the computer before reaching the next checkpoint because I have to go to bed to get up early to work. Especially if they’re set in the worst places (see Anomaly: Warzone Earth, in which you can go more than once through a checkpoint with a config that won’t let you end the level and you’ll have to start again).

    Checkpoints were invented to “fix” the lack of memory consoles had when saving games. Don’t come and try to sell them to me. This is PC.

    • MSJ says:

      I think the developers got confused. They haer people on the internet complain about how modern games are “easy” with regenerating health and consolised and stuff, they mistakenly thought that quicksaves are a modern invention to assist console gamers and that all old games like Doom uses checkpoints exclusively.

    • Shadowcat says:

      let me choose if I want to use quick save, because otherwise I’ll be thinking about your mother when I play the same section for the 20th time

      Unanimously voted the weirdest “otherwise” ever.

    • LionsPhil says:

      or when I have to shut down the computer before reaching the next checkpoint

      This, hard.

    • Dervish says:

      Checkpoints were invented to “fix” the lack of memory consoles had when saving games.

      You seem to be ranting under the delusion that checkpoints started with the FPS genre.

    • Premium User Badge PoulWrist says:

      The weird part was in the old days we had this thing called “fun” while playing that seems to be absent from new games :p

    • DarkNoghri says:

      I was reading the bit on quicksaves, and thought “I just read about quicksaves somewhere else the other day.”

      Sure enough, arstechnica had an article interviewing the devs. http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2011/09/hard-reset-developer-talks-quick-saves-royalty-rates-and-drm.ars

      Key quote: “”The save system has a huge impact on gameplay, it changes the way people play the game. For example, if a game doesn’t have checkpoints—this can be very frustrating when you forget to save often enough,” Zych explained. “Quick saves on the other hand can ruin a game’s difficulty and balance.”

      Zych pointed out that this makes the placement of the checkpoints very important, and he thinks the team nailed this aspect of the game.”

      Apparently, they didn’t nail the checkpoints as well as they thought.

  10. wccrawford says:

    Wait wait wait, do you serious say that you embrace its difficulty, and then complain about that very same difficulty a couple paragraphs later? You can’t have it both ways. Either you want the challenge and you’re willing to tough it out, or you don’t.

    Personally, I don’t. So the whole ‘no cover, no regen’ thing sucks for me. But for those looking for a challenge, if it checkpoints after every battle, it’s not a challenge any more. It’s just a bunch of little fights that you will probably eventually get lucky enough to win.

    • Squire says:

      I agree here, surely if its in the vein of old shooters they just wanted the checkpoints to be a part of the challenge/difficulty, I enjoyed the demo much, just for the weapon upgrading and secrets, I don’t care if I have to redo several waves and an upgrade station visit, couldnt you maybe purchase something Different this time and then you wouldn’t die at the waves again?

      Also I think 900 times is a bit over the top, can’t you study the [As you say predictable after a short while] enemies wave patterns and ‘best’ them, I mean we are a humans with complex brains, surely we can adapt and outpace a computer game AI? An [indie] computer game AI.

    • Mman says:

      The reviewer liked the general challenge but hated the implementation of the checkpoints. You might disagree, but I don’t see any hypocrisy regarding what was liked/disliked about the challenge in the review.

    • DK says:

      Also, the reason they put you back before your last augmentation machine is so you can choose a different upgrade for the battle you’re having problems with. They are, in fact, trying to avoid “quicksave/checkpoint .5 seconds before the fatal bullet hits” syndrome.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Did you actually read past that point? John complained that he couldn’t turn the difficulty back up.

      Grinding is not difficulty. Grinding is not fun, either. Games are supposed to be fun.

      I agree here, surely if its in the vein of old shooters they just wanted the checkpoints to be a part of the challenge/difficulty

      Wolfenstein 3D allowed you to save at any time.
      DOOM allowed you to save at any time.
      Duke Nukem 3D allowed you to save at any time.
      Quake allowed you to save at any time.
      Half-Life allowed you to save at any time.

      There is nothing “old-school” about checkpoints-only on the PC.

    • Fedexdoom says:

      Also, the reason they put you back before your last augmentation machine is so you can choose a different upgrade for the battle you’re having problems with. They are, in fact, trying to avoid “quicksave/checkpoint .5 seconds before the fatal bullet hits” syndrome.

      This! This is exactly why I dont care about shitty checkpoint locations. It makes sense to me why they would put the checkpoint before your last augmentation machine because that gives you the option to go back and change what you used (sorry for the redundance, it’s just a good point). I can remember many, many, times that I played games with quick saves and accidentally quick saved while falling off of a cliff or in a situation where survival was impossible. I can comfortably tell you that I’ve never been more frustrated with quick saves then in those situations. I can understand the desire for them to be there and, honestly, they should (especially on a platform as feature filled an “open” as PC) but I know I probably wouldn’t even use them and would just play the game the way the dev’s designed it to be played.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      Benefiting from a mandatory autosave because a developer knew there was some important event or choice coming up, is not an argument against save/quicksave. That’s just sensible design. Having automated checkpoint saves before important events doesn’t mean you can’t also give players the ability to define their own checkpoints with a save/quicksave feature.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      The best solution in shooters is combining checkpoints (automated quicksaves) with real quicksaves, like in one Fallout 3. I really don’t understand how checkpoint-only system can appeal to anyone on the PC. Even if the game is as good as Batman AA it is still a pain, and a reason to swearing and cursing both developers and their mothers.

    • Dervish says:

      LionsPhil, you are using the word “grinding” incorrectly.

    • Zenicetus says:

      The other problem that gets glossed over in discussions about checkpointing, is that it assumes an “average” level of player skill for whatever setting is chosen — Normal, Hard, or whatever. There is no average player! We’re all a little different in our skill levels and gaming experience.

      And when the dev team is small, and can’t afford (or doesn’t want) to bring in a decent playtesting team outside the programmers, what happens is that the programmers get very used to playing their own game, knowing all the tricks to get through each sequence because they keep doing it over and over. They have no perspective on what a player new to the game can handle. They think checkpointing is just fine, because it works for them.

    • Dervish says:

      It should be glossed over because it’s not relevant. If the argument is about whether checkpoints are good or bad (or what kinds of checkpoints are good/bad), why the developers did or didn’t get it right is just trivia. Saying, “It’s hard to do well” is just scaring people off the point and doesn’t indicate that the alternative is a superior system–no one is saying that checkpoint placement is impossible to botch.

  11. Kdansky says:

    I’ll buy it the moment they patch in Quicksaves. Not having them is utterly inane, because everyone is still free to use them if the checkpoints suck. Don’t patronize your customers.

    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/1935/saving_the_day_save_systems_in_.php

    As for the people talking about Mario: Have you realized that Super Meat Boy has insanely short (but ridiculously hard) levels precisely because that fixes repeating a long stretch of a known level? Mario Galaxy is way too easy, because else you could never get through the really huge levels.

  12. Dana says:

    Dont listen to John. Its awesome game, if you loved say, Painkiller, you will love Hard Reset.

    • Unaco says:

      “Its awesome game”

      Convinced me! Forget the professional Games journalist and his carefully thought out, measured article… Some random says it’s awesome. Sold!

      I used to like painkillers btw… Codeine based ones. Will I still love Hard Reset?

    • Dana says:

      Dont you have anything better to do ? Like stopping crime, or curing cancer ?

    • Unaco says:

      You clearly don’t know me, and how talented and awesome I am. Posting the odd comment here doesn’t get in the way of my other work. Why, this very morning, while typing a comment on DXHR, I helped topple a North African dictator.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Well, Unaco is at least right this time. John gave a detailed justification for his opinion. You just assert one. But if we take this down to taking someone’s word just on their authority…the professional games journalist kind of wins.

    • Unaco says:

      @Lionsphil,

      What do you mean “this time”?

  13. djtim says:

    After a lengthy ‘debate’ on the Hard Reset Steam forum last night, it turns out you CAN actually quick save, however its just not bound to a key by default.

    open the console (press ctrl+~) and type:

    bind key save
    and
    bind key load_last

    F9 is bound to load_last by default.

    Problem solved!

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      If I remember, FarCry was like that too, originally.

    • Eclipse says:

      awesome, they should bind the keys by default and then RPS can update the review

    • djtim says:

      not sure if it was in v1.0 of Far Cry, but you could definitely bind it to a key after the first patch or so. up until v1.3 it did funny things with triggered events though. Would never have finished the ridiculous last few levels (after getting dropped out of a helicopter with no guns iirc) if it weren’t for a bound quick save key.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      I remember specifically having to use the console to bind a quicksave key in vanilla FarCry, or maybe it was just to be able to manually save at all. Until then, I was at the mercy of the wretched checkpoints, and my opinion of the game improved considerably after getting access to this basic PC shooter functionality.

    • djbriandamage says:

      re: Eclipse’s comment

      Does RPS have a policy to amend a review after a patch? I know the USA edition of PC Gamer Magazine takes a hard line on this – they review “what’s in the box” and that’s the last word.

    • jakonovski says:

      Definitely sounds like a game changer, even for John.

    • Eclipse says:

      @djbriandamage: the game is still not out on Steam, wouldn’t be a patch, more like a last minute fix

    • max pain says:

      Yeah Far Cry would be much harder and much less enjoyable without quicksave.

      Devs argument for not having quick save in Hard Reset was that it kills the immersity, but I think it’s better to let the player control that.

      No quicksave works in some games though, like in Rainbow Six Vegas, where tension makes a large part of the game, and which would be gone with quicksave function.

  14. thesisko says:

    Edit: Too slow :P

  15. Eclipse says:

    The demo was awesome, but the level felt VERY linear, is it the same the whole game? go straight, battle, find some “secret rooms” that are just in front your nose, go straight, battle again…

    That’s not how old shooters were…

    • Squire says:

      Although one of the Dooms [sp?] had a secret where you turn around and the secret is directly behind you when you start…

    • Echo Black says:

      Chainsaw! Find some meat!

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah, the “distinctly linear route through the levels” made me think of that image that rattles around of a DOOM level vs a modern cutscene-cutscene-cutscene sequence. But it didn’t feel desperately restrictive in the demo; no more linear than Half-Life 1.

  16. sonofsanta says:

    Now that’s a shame… the demo was marvellous. Took me a while to get into the swing of things again, but I really enjoyed it.

    I just hope that, like CD Projekt, they keep working at it and improving it and making it what it really should be. There seems to be real hope in the game.

  17. Tiger Schwert says:

    It’s really hard to have a game that’s challenging to beat when you give the player quicksaves, which are basically akin to an infinite and unrestrained rewind ability from Sands of Time or something.

    Checkpoints aren’t that much better though. I’m in favour of a game built around the “iron man” mentality or having to play whole maps at a time if you want a properly challenging game. Put the designers through that and you can damn well bet you’re going to end up with some fair fights.

    But I do think something like roguelike saving systems is good to have. You can save anywhere, but you’re forced to quit the game, and when you load a save it’s deleted.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      I’m sure we could effortlessly list any number of older shooters that resulted in frequent reloads despite giving players the ability to define their own checkpoints with quicksave. It’s a matter of game design that makes a game challenging, not forcing a player to replay easy content over and over, just to get back to the part that is tripping them up.

    • djtim says:

      I guess the problem is, it would be practically impossible for any developer to design a game from start to finish that can cater for 100,000 different players with different skill levels and multiple variables that make up the many facets of gaming ability. You can give try to give them checkpoints and difficulty levels based on what I assume is some sort of normal distribution of skill – however there will always be outliers who never quite fit in with the carefully designed difficulty curve, and who may find the game too hard (or too easy) at different points during a game. These gamers have paid for the game too, and don’t deserve to be frustrated just because they can’t finish a particular section that 90% of other players can finish fine. Quick save isn’t the panacea but it helps…

    • jakonovski says:

      Sounds like some people really need to play Demon’s and/or Dark Souls.

  18. Zyrocz says:

    Won’t buy it, 2-3 hours and a pricetag of 25 euros with no online, not worth it.

    • drplote says:

      Is the game actually only 2-3 hours long, or did John only have 2-3 hours of fun with it?

    • Srethron says:

      John’s review:

      But in fact the whole thing is over in about six or seven hours

      So 2-3 hours he found fun.

  19. Unaco says:

    Good review John… very honest. I know there’s been a lot of support and interest in this as you’ve been covering it over the last few months… It’s PC Exclusive, it’s trying for ‘old school shooter’ style, no DRM etc etc. Is encouraging to see that these things haven’t stopped some pretty grievous issues coming to the fore of the review/WIT.

  20. JackDandy says:

    I didn’t really enjoy the demo. The slow movement speed, and the way the guns handled really wasn’t any fun. Didn’t feel “Old-school”, that’s for sure.

    The graphics were really nice, but I guess I’ll pass on this one.

  21. Echo Black says:

    Ctrl + ~ to open the console, then type “save”. Alternatively, use something like “bind [key] save” (without the quotation marks) to create a macro.

    The functionality is already in, it’s a bit baffling they didn’t release the game with a macro already in place. Perhaps it breaks important triggers?

    EDIT: Looks like somebody already beat me to it!

  22. Stompywitch says:

    Having started off shootering on the N64 (Surely still the king of decent console FPS), I’m not so bothered by checkpoints and initial lack of quicksaves (Until you bind them to a key), and I liked what I played, so this is on the “buy” list.

    • Kdansky says:

      >The king of console FPS

      That makes me chuckle. And no, the N64 is mainly a nostalgia machine. If you’d go back now, you’ll be disappointed.

    • djbriandamage says:

      “The king of console FPS”

      The king of underwater rollerskates.

    • Duckpoop says:

      @Kdansky

      Nonsense, Perfect Dark and the original Turok are still great games in my book. And I agree with him. 1 joystick with C buttons is still my preferred layout for FPS if I can’t use M/KB since I just can’t ever seem to get comfortable using a joystick with my right thumb….

  23. glix says:

    I was really interested in the game, but that seems like too short of a game for me to warrant dropping $25. I guess I’ll just hope that the CDP blood in the dev will mean there’ll be a massive overhauling patch at some point.

  24. djbriandamage says:

    I was really impressed by the demo – particularly how well the engine performs considering the stellar graphics and sound. The presentation is unbelievably polished and the interface and controls are effortless to use. Everything about this game screams quality, and yet I’m just not interested.

    Sadly, post-Half-Life I think the world has outgrown Doom clones. We’ll see whether that statement holds up when Serious Sam 3 is released, but personally I need some investment in the universe and story if I’m going to be bothered being the good guy.

    p.s., I know I’m a monster for saying so but I find blood way more satisfying to spray than grease.

  25. Nim says:

    There is so much whining here what the developers did wrong. If I didn’t play the demo myself I would have believed the game to be a train-wreck of astounding proportions.

    Yes there are some things that are not the best,
    yes it’s a bit difficult at times,
    yes, there is auto-saves (albeit you can get quick-saves working if you bother),
    yes it doesn’t have much of a plot but…

    I’ll purchase it anyway! It’s a great game.

  26. MadTinkerer says:

    Hmmm… I’ve bought far worse, but I don’t think I’ve bought much worse for $30. I’ll wait for a sale (and maybe a laptop upgrade).

    Or at least a patch that fixes everything.

  27. Premium User Badge It's not me it's you says:

    I’m glad this game had a demo – it allowed me to identify I don’t really want this game. I do really want to like it – indie team, gorgeous art, no DRM, et cetera but at this point I’ll probably eventually pick it up as a bit of moral support for future efforts by the team, I doubt I’ll be playing it to any great extent.

  28. Prosper0_cz says:

    “The first, and perhaps most significant[issue], is the frequent failure to recognise button presses.”

    They said part of Flying How are ex -Witcher 2 developers, right? That pretty much explains it I guess:).

  29. magnus says:

    Jesus, is ANYBODY EVER HAPPY ANY MORE? (Sigh) Get on the forums if Flying Wild Hog care enough they’ll listen!

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Why should we be happy with a game that has several major, easily-avoided design flaws?

    • magnus says:

      Probably because none of us wants to stick out any more.

    • Christian says:

      @ResonanceCascade: Because, you know..sometimes things can be plain and simply fun. They don’t even have to be perfect to be that.

      I for one am very happy for purchasing this game and playing it because it’s just that: great fun. I got a few fun hours out of it (2/3 through I guess) and will definitely go for another round sometime soon. And if I get frustrated: meh, I got my money’s worth out of it.

  30. Handsome Dead says:

    but it must be good it’s a pc exclusive~

  31. Barman1942 says:

    I loved the demo, disappointed to hear such bad news from RPS about the final version of the game though :(.

  32. brulleks says:

    ‘ ‘or when I have to shut down the computer before reaching the next checkpoint’

    This, hard.’

    And that’s why it’s called Hard Reset.

    Ba doom.

    tisch.

    /leaving

    EDIT Oh, I do so love the reliability of the ‘reply’ button on WordPress.

  33. Shortwave says:

    Some facts about this game!

    - It looks beautiful and runs silky smooth.
    - I smiled as it allowed me to choose which monitor I wanted to play on .
    Which also prevented me from having to close the game and deal with rearranging my desktop.
    - It does not allow you to save anywhere. I see this as punishment for sucking donkey balls.
    - My first play through of the demo I did on “Hard” and I died twice, not in the same spot.
    I finished the demo with 4HP left.. AND IT FELT GOOD,
    -The game is very inexpensive and at the very least it’s good to support devs like this. Rather than spending the cash on some random last season blockbuster game on sale..
    -Hopefully they will release tools for modding and/or add more later on.
    - This game is good shoot em up fun and as previously mentioned..
    Too bad Duke Nukem forever wasn’t more like this.

    Also. Having the save spots spaced out like that may allow you to make crucial changes to weapons upgrading that could assist at said problem spot? Random thought.

  34. Cryotek says:

    So sad…

  35. Premium User Badge shoptroll says:

    Well that’s disappointing. I think I’ll end up buying this but I want to see if they decide to patch in a quicksave/load feature like Crytek did with FarCry after it was released.

    To Wild Hog’s credit, Doom 2 had quite the menagerie of monsters but by the time you’ve reached Level 6 or so you’ve pretty much seen all the guns and monsters. I don’t think it’s totally fair to fault them here on the monsters except that it sounds like they’re lacking in projectile shooty types.

    The rest of the year is pretty much logjammed and I have an ever growing backlog. So I’m content to wait and see where this title goes from here. Does sound like a solid start for the new company even if this title fell short of expectations.

  36. Brise Bonbons says:

    This will be a hard call. I liked the demo a lot, it felt great and ran/looked amazing even on my aging machine. But this price is a bit steep for the scope of the game – especially given how many other games are coming out right now that I already can’t afford. I mean, for pity’s sake it’s released the same day Red Orchestra 2 is; you can’t expect me to pass that up!

    I’ll probably have to hold off on this one just out of financial necessity. I hope it does well enough to merit further attempts, at least – I definitely want to see more games with this look and feel behind them.

  37. Bart Stewart says:

    This review was helpful — thanks!

    I’d been inclined to pick it up, if only to support the PC-oriented design attitude. But while quicksave can be enabled (like I had to do with Far Cry), the game’s shortness puts me off. There are too many other known-good games in my playing pipeline to pick this one up at its current price.

    On the quicksave issue — which is something that matters to me; I’m still waiting for the mod that adds quicksave to Crysis 2 — the example of Star Wars: Dark Forces and its immediate sequel is instructive.

    Dark Forces was brilliant in being the first FPS set in the Star Wars universe… but it didn’t have quicksave OR checkpoint saves. You die anywhere within a level, you get to restart the whole level. The reaction to this was generally negative (although it’s hard to document since there weren’t gaming sites like we have today). But for some reason, the developers just couldn’t bring themselves to disconnect “saving” from “challenge.”

    So in Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight, they let you save in-level, but the less often you saved, the more “Force stars” you received at the end of a level for buying Force powers. If you saved a lot, you’d still get some stars — just not as many as if you made it through a level saving only once or not at all.

    So is there any good reason why developers who believe that quicksave makes their game too easy couldn’t/shouldn’t use a mechanic like this?

    • Dervish says:

      You die anywhere within a level, you get to restart the whole level.

      That is incorrect. Dark Forces gives you 3 lives at the beginning, and that stock carries through to the end of the game (you can increase it by finding extra lives in secret areas). If you die, you lose a life and go back to the last checkpoint in the level, of which there are several. All the enemies stay dead, all your items stay in your inventory, etc. If you lose all your lives you get kicked back to the mission select screen and can restart the mission with whatever stock you had the first time.

      Although not a system I would want in every game, I thought it worked very well with Dark Forces mission structure, encouraging deathless runs of the easier beginning missions so you have spare lives for the harder ones, and forcing some tough decisions about whether it was worth it to accept a loss against the nastier enemies later on. It also made those secret areas very rewarding.

      As for Jedi Knight’s system, well, what would you give the player in other FPS games? Extra ammo? If the game has some kind of experience system I guess it could work, but gritting your teeth through a saveless run just to get some dinky reward would be lame. As a general rule it’s harder to balance elements against each other the more dissimilar they are–how do you weigh the benefit of saving vs. the benefit of the reward?

    • Bart Stewart says:

      It’s been a while since my last playthrough of DF, but I have a strong recollection of repeatedly dying on both the “ice” and “garbage monster” levels and having to restart them both from the beginning.

      That said, your description of the save system is sufficiently authoritative that I’m willing to assume you must be right. :) Thanks for the corrections.

      It’s still the case that if you do die early and don’t find extra lives, you’re going to be doing some backtracking, and more so than in modern games that have more checkpoints.

      Another difference between DF and today’s games — and I think this touches on your question about what reward would matter in a conventional FPS — is that games today are a little less obviously organized into “levels.” This makes it harder to decide when to present a reward. Without distinct levels, you almost have to go to an RPG-ish model as in Deus Ex HR, whose “praxis points” system allowing the player to select preferred upgrades is functionally almost identical to DF’s Force points for selecting Force powers.

      But this still evades the basic question: why should a meta-game activity like saving state be penalized within the world of a game?

  38. foda500orama says:

    You can bind a key to quicksave in the game’s console.

  39. Navagon says:

    Same enemies and not very long? Might as well just play the demo a couple more times then. :<

    One of those games to look out for in a sale maybe.

    • GBoyzJay says:

      Actually, there are ranged enemies, and you will learn to hate them far more than even the “Gorillas”. They’re killable, fairly easily, by the point they become common… but there are ranged enemies, and they’re as nasty as the Gorilla in this game. Gorillas, btw, are the big hulking ones you may have seen in the demo… the ones that charge your face off. They’re my personal pet hate.

  40. Arcturan Megadonkey says:

    What you’ve got is the most incredibly gorgeous proprietary engine offering vast, slick cities painted in Bladerunner grey and neon.

    But you’re not going to be able to click on any of the screenshots in this article because we’re too cheap to let you view them in a larger resolution.

  41. Jim9137 says:

    So it really got the 90s-00s shooters right! Look incredible – offer no new content!

  42. matrices says:

    Since it turns out that you can enable quick save after all, I’ll give this one a go when it hits $15 to $20. I can forgive a couple notable flaws at that pricepoint – the shooting, after all, is bloody glorious.

  43. roris says:

    The game is awesome. I really don’t think this is rps material – all I read was whining about tiny things which I and most of the demo players had no problems with on other forums. I don’t think this is your type of game John..

  44. GBoyzJay says:

    Okay, some comments of my own, based on my own experiences with the game:

    - Yes, I agree that some checkpoints are poorly placed (the parking lot/garage being the worst offender)
    - Yes, the game is fairly short, and ends abruptly. This is disappointing. But then, nobody appears to have commented that, firstly, it has another old-school mechanic people may remember: You’re scored on level performance, including the good old “Oh hey, there’s a crack with a red barrel next to it… SECRET!”, and secondly, as it is, you don’t get to upgrade everything, as far as I can tell, and, if you upgrade willy nilly, instead of focussing, you are dead, dead, dead. So both an upside and a downside there. Upside, it has replay value (stretching out that 7 hours a fair bit. Downside, you need either the railgun or rocket lawnchair by the appropriate level.
    - The toning down of difficulty is sort of annoying, but then, the achievements you get in a level are directly tied to your NANO (collectible upgrade money), and higher difficulties give more NANO. And score. Not a great design decision, but there’s yer explanation.
    - As mentioned, the reason why the gun won’t change sometimes is because it’s cooling down. Some of you will hate that, and some of you won’t mind. The only two areas where it even slightly becomes an issue for me are, funnily enough, boss fights.

    Overall, it’s not an amazing game, and it does end abruptly (although I have yet to see if it has a “Haha, no real ending unless you do it on insane/EX difficulty” ‘feature’… I’ll ask.), but it’s not necessarily that bad of a game. John, it appears, had some bad experiences. I respect that, because the game can give you bad experiences. And he is actually being fair toward it. But it is, imho, slightly, slightly better than described.

  45. Blackcompany says:

    Despite this review I tried the Hard Reset demo last night. Four times. The action was faced-paced and intense, yet there were sufficient breaks between robotic onslaughts during which time I could take in the sights. And that is a good thing, because there are sights aplenty to take in. This is easily one of the most beautiful games to date for PC. The graphics are top-notch and despite this the game runs like a dream.

    I’ve got a AMD Phenom II Quad Core black with 8GB RAM and an Nvidia GT560 with 2GB RAM for my GPU. I was able to run the game on Ultra with just a little bit of blur when turning the character rapidly, and on high with absolutely no hitches/blurring/glitches at all. The performance was utterly smooth and I more than once I found myself simply stopping in place, staring into the sky at large flying craft overhead, and the mix of heavy flying traffic further above. The cyber-punk city of Bezoar is a gorgeous place and its worth the $26.99 Steam Sale price just to see it on your own monitor.

    Surprisingly, however, unlike with so many other graphically “perfect” games the fun did not stop with sight seeing. For there is more to this world than seeing. Throughout the world there are electrical boxes and idle or crashed flying taxi cabs, police cruisers and cars. There are electronic, holographics advert machines, and electrical boxes glowingly outlined in electric blue line alleyways and walls. All of these things are rendered in high resolution. And all of these things are useful. Cars explode when you shoot them, sending chunks of flaming metal and large fireballs forth to slay your enemies. Exploding barrels blow chunks from walls, and robots, in large pieces like some modern source-engine shooter with far superior graphical fidelity. Electronic power units, when shot, send forth bolts of electricity in short-circuiting blue streaks to interfere with, and explode, robotic foes and those little blue advert machines do the same.

    Yet none of the pieces I saw in the demo feels forced. Nothing feels like it was placed in the world just for the player to blow up or use. Everything is natural, a sort of cyber-organic that makes everything you encounter feel as if it belongs. Except for the drops. These glowing boxes offer “ammo” charges or upgrade points for your weapons, and their presence in the world, while forgivable, could be toned down a little visually. However, this is easily overlooked in the course of the game.

    Which is good, since upgrading is easily, fun and intuitive. Upgrades are offered for both your assault rifle and N.R.G. (energy) weapon, as well as for your combat gear (armor.) When you upgrade weapons, you add new modes. Selecting these new modes means your guns actually change shape as well as function, visually becoming a grenade launcher before your eyes, or transforming in real time to a laser mortar with its own look and feel that is completely distinct from the original plasma gun. The effects are quick, immersive and visually enticing enough that I enjoyed trying different upgrades just to see my weapons transform.

    And what weapons they are. I played the demo four times. Four times I fought the same mini-boss, and four times I defeated it in a different way, using a different strategy, technique and weapon. While energy weapons seem strictly superior to ballistic ones I never found a useless upgrade for either. Grenades are exploding doom, while energy mortars wreak havoc on charging hordes.

    Which brings me to perhaps my only concern in the game. The charging hordes. For there are plenty even in the demo. You will back-pedal, turn, sprint, and blast through waves of foes charging relentlessly forward to try and slaughter you at close range. This is not a take-cover, reload, strategy intensive game. You can use your environment to great advantage and that lends some strategic options to the affair. But this game is far and way about running, and shooting. It is about action. But that action is fast, fluid and utterly gorgeous. I would not want every shooter I play to return this backward-running, horde-infested, old-school feel. But now and then a gorgeous action game is a nice relief from the inventory management, morally-gray, in-depth PC games I tend to favor and its a welcome respite now and again.

    Hard Reset is a good, fun game, at least as far as the demo goes. It may or may not turn out to be a great game, as we play further in and deal with checkpoints and restarts and upgrades we wish we had done differently. The length may disappoint, or we may find ourselves drawn to replay a game we cannot get enough of because of the short length. But Hard Reset is a beautiful, fun, fast-paced return to what made shooters great, and for that I am grateful. As grateful as I am eager to see what else Flying Wiild Hog has in store for fans of this and other genres.

    And that is why I will be buying at least one copy of this reasonably priced, fantastic shooter. To play a good, fun game, and support a developer who obviously cares about PC, puts PC first and foremost, and is capable of phenomenal things on that platform. I just hope others do the same, so that we can see more of what this team has planned for us. If its anything like Hard Reset, I believe we will not be disappointed.

  46. Demiath says:

    Speaking of graphics alone, I still cannot believe that some people think this game looks remarkably good. I played the demo at maxed settings and it’s fine – even excellent at times – but nothing stands out compared to the AAA releases of the genre in technical terms and the art design is bland to say the least.
    As for the gameplay (again, demo only), an emphatic *meh* is about all I can muster…and I’m an old school shooter fan if there ever was one.

  47. stall says:

    You know, I always hate it when people sit around and say things like “Oh, hopefully their next game will be better”. Indie devs can’t make a fucking next game unless you buy this one! Why does everyone just assume that indie developers can magically pull games out of their asses with no funds?

    Seriously. If you want their next game to be better, then buy this one. Indie devs aren’t AAA developers… they are very much so confined by budget and how much their game sales.

    • puzl says:

      So we should spend money on what is a pretty mediocre game, just on the presumption that their next effort will be better? Nice logic.

    • Reivles says:

      On the hope, sir. The hope that it will be better.

      Think of it less as ‘buying a mediocre game’ and more as ‘donating to a vision and cause you support’.

      Besides, I hardly think it qualifies as mediocre. A little too samey, an insane choice with savegames… sure. So the gameplay could have been more polished… but the combat and the looks at least land it a B, maybe a B+.

  48. Necroscope says:

    My experience after playing the game for about an hour has been fantastic. Tons of explosions, shit loads of stuff to destroy, zap-happy weapons, cool enemies, bladerunner styled gameworld is a thumbs up. Wot I would’ve liked is 8-10 different weapons like the oldschool games had. A dedicated rocket launcher or nade launcher and a dedicated lightning gun that…alt-fired shurikens. I’ve read here and elsewhere the game is a tad short which creates a very slight tinge of sadness as I would expect 8-10 hours + for a game like this.

  49. The Snee says:

    I just finished this, and loved it. The weapons are beefy and satisfying, the world is atmospheric, and full of eye catching interesting things (I particularly liked the familiar corp logos). The enemies are fun to fight and blow up so good (someone mentioned the lack of shooty guys in the demo. You get shot at a lot later on, and oldschool dodging is back on the table). Its good.

    I had no issue with checkpoints, seemingly the biggest complaint of the review. they always seemed to come at decent points before something suitably lethal happened. Considering the games focus on not being killed, it seems fine. Plus, if you die, you get to shoot more robots!

    One thing I do take issue with is calling the last boss fight dull. Compared to, say, the last boss of DX:HR its particularly good, and I enjoyed every minute of it, especially the music. The bit where I agree most with the review is that it just…ends. Thing happens, credits roll. No resolution, nothing. It didn’t feel like the end, and I was left wanting more.

    But still, if you liked the demo, it’s worth a shot. Thoroughly enjoyable.