TPG Command Performance: Hard Reset

– By Adam Ames

What if there was a game with the presentation style of Max Payne, the Cyberpunk theme of Deus Ex and the frantic gameplay of Serious Sam and Painkiller?  Today I found out there is such a game, and its name is Hard Reset.

DYING NEVER FELT SO GOOD

In my brief run with the preview build of Hard Reset, I remembered why I got into this business to begin with.  There was a time when games from the FPS genre were simply fun to play.  Titles like Painkiller and Serious Sam were over-the-top action romps where you were engulfed in enemy fire from the very beginning of each level while trying everything you could to ward off your attackers.  You died countless times while enjoying every minute of your experience.  Hard Reset recaptures the atmosphere of those games ten fold as it does not pretend to be anything but a feverish sci-fi shooter.

I spent more time running backwards and strafing in Hard Reset than I did moving forward.  Even on Normal difficulty, I died more times that I would like to admit.  You have physical health and shields to protect you from the onslaught of bad guys. Your health does not regenerate, but over the course of time, your shields do.  The shield regeneration time is extremely slow especially on Hard difficulty.  As is the standard operating procedure for this type of game, you are able to pick up health packs and along the way.  I will be the first to shout from the rooftops about regenerating anything in a game, but the difficulty in Hard Reset is such that you need a little bit of an edge to keep moving forward.  There are no chest high walls or convoluted cover system which is a nice change of pace in today’s FPS market.

THIS WEAPON IS YOUR LIFE

Over the course of the game, you have two weapons: a standard machine gun using normal rounds and a gun which dispenses an electric attack.  Upon first glance, this would seem to be a ridiculous notion in the world of shooters, but it works well.  Both of these can be upgraded or modified into a highly powerful offensive artillery such as a rocket launcher or sticky electric grenade thrower.  The upgrades work by collecting upgrades credits to be used at stations scattered across city.  The feel of each gun gives you great satisfaction when blowing away the mechanical adversaries that swarm around you at each turn.

CHECK, PLEASE.

My only complaint with Hard Reset is the checkpoint system.  I am all for playing difficult games and not being hand-held the entire time, but there were a few moments where I became frustrated.  This aspect of the game can be extremely obnoxious especially after spending a good 5-10 minutes clearing out an area only to die a little bit later on and having to start the section again.  Hopefully Flying Wild Hog will implement, at the very least, a quick save option.

I FEEL PRETTY.  OH, SO PRETTY

You will not find any brown, orange or washed out color pallets in Hard Reset.  The game holds true to the dark and gritty atmosphere you would expect from a cyberpunk theme.  The fantastic lighting and shadows also add to the overall feeling of the game.  I was able to run Hard Reset on Ultra (3Ghz Core 2 Duo, 1GB 460GTX, 4GB RAM) with a few hiccups here and there, but nothing that took away from the action.  Hard Reset ran at a true 1920×1080 resolution with the correct 16:9 aspect ratio in addition to what appeared to be correct scaling and FOV.  The HUD indicators could be downsized a bit to allow for a better viewing experience, but this is a minor problem.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Hard Reset brings back a type of FPS we have not seen for a long time.  In an age where the market is dominated with military, RPG/FPS hybrids and other cookie cutter shooters, Hard Reset shows there is still room for some frantic run-and-gun action.  We can not wait until the final build is ready and everyone can enjoy what is shaping up to be one of the best PC games of 2011.

Below you can read the official press release from Flying Wild Hog:

In the only remaining human city of Bezoar, Major Fletcher, an Army Combat Veteran and soldier of the CLN, is dragged into a conflict between two of mankind’s greatest enemies. He is to discover that nothing is what it seems to be.

 

Hard Reset is an action-packed, single-player shooter for the PC. With over-the-top destruction, loads of enemies, great weapon variety and a beautifully realized cyberpunk setting, Hard Reset is sure to shake up the shooter scene.

 

Hard Reset features:

 

  • A haunting cyberpunk / dark sci-fi setting
  • Fast-paced, old-school shooter gameplay
  • Hordes of enemies to destroy
  • Epic boss fights
  • A deep, experience-based weapon upgrade system
  • High-fidelity graphics with full dynamic lighting
  • Extensive use of physics and dynamic environments

UPDATE:

Hard Reset is now available for pre-order on Steam.  The release is set for September 13th.

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