Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hard Reset - back to basics.

So last night I picked up the controller and pressed Start on Hard Reset, the new Cyber punk FPS that's making the rounds online, and as reflect on the game right now all I can think is that it's farking hard.

But we'll get to that later...

Right from the start this game looks freaking sweet. The start menu twists and turns as you swap through options and pick things, in the back ground gadgets and gizmos click into place and the whole thing really sets you up for what's coming up.

The opening cut scene is a bit of a drag because it's done in this limited animation style, with moving pictures, which would have been cooler had the art been a little better. It goes from awesome art piece to lame scribbles and kind of spoils the other wise polished feel of the game.

As you enter the world you are greeted by Blade Runner-ish back ally, with neon lights and flying vehicles scattered across a decaying urban back drop. It all looks very fancy, but you don't get much time to take it in immediately because just up head are a pack of robot drones, that sort of look like the Mousers for the old Ninja Turtles TV show.

I going to admit to you right now that I have no idea why these things are attacking me and what it is I'm actually suppose to do. All I know is that I have a weapon in my hand and I have to shoot stuff... I guess.

So yeah, whatever story this game has is lost on me, I did try to pay attention when I played the demo, but with the actual game I sort of just skipped the intro about half way through it and now I have no idea what is going on. At one point in the game I had to place some sort of device that did something to these machines... fuck it... shoot stuff.

Aside form the story, the rest of the game is pretty straight forward. Things get in your way, and you have to blast them to pieces. Where Hard Reset cooks the beans is with its mad action, mad unforgiving action.

This is game developed by the creative minds that gave us Pain Killer and Bullet Storm, so one thing it knows how to do is pump the adrenaline. When talking to a friend of mine about the game, he said something about how he only plays "tactical shooters." What does that mean? Is that when you crouch behind something and then pop every now and then to deliver a head shot? Or is it when sneak around a corner and then through in a flash grenade before busting down to pull off a Mozambique Drill?

man fuck that... seriously... tactical shooter my ass.

I don't think you can afford to crouch behind anything in Hard Reset, there's actually no crouch button, the minute the action starts you find yourself jumping over obstacles and side stepping baddies as they rush you to rip you apart. You find your self constantly moving, while unleashing an unrelenting chain of gun fire at everything that moves. Make that an unstopping, relenting chain of gun fire because you never have to reload! As you kill enemies they drop items which replenish your health and ammo as well as give you points to upgrade your gear.

And health drops is what you pray for because there's no bull shit 'regenerating health bar' to baby sit your ass.

I will admit that while the action is mad and frantic, constantly keeping you on your toes, the weapons of Hard Reset leaves me feeling a little empty. You start of with these two guns, one of them is some sort of plasma/ energy weapon that I hate using cause I hate energy weapons, and this one particular looks pretty fucken lame.

What I have been using is this other weapon which is some kind of sci-fi assault riffle. Now these are the only two guns in the game, but what you can do is spend upgrade points to modify these weapons. What these upgrades do is essentially give your weapon the ability to morph into other weapons.

Upgrade station.

This is a pretty cool idea I guess. The "machine gun" mode that it starts off with is alright, but once you set up the grenade launcher and the shot gun addon, that's when things really start cooking. Down the tree for the gun there's also a RPG mode and some other cool stuff. So far I've spent all my upgrade points on this gun, so if I get to a point where I need to use the plasma gun, I'll be proper stuffed.

You can also upgrade things like sprint time and some sort of awareness thing that shows you where enemies are, which I think is a bit redundant because like... they're right in front of you >_<

The baddies in the game are some of the meanest mother huggers I've had the pleasure of shooting up. These guys rip onto the screen with only one goal, and that's to tear you a new one. They smash aside dumpsters, jump off of buildings, crash through windows and whatever else, just so they can mess you up. And the difficulty isn't because they come in massive numbers, which they do, it's the mixture of enemy types during any given encounter that makes the blood boil. But no matter how hard this monster gets, it never feels cheap or unfair. As the game pushes on, it forces you to develop your trigger finger, as the fights only get bigger and badder.

When it comes down to it, Hard Reset is a shooter in the purest sense of the word. Remember when you first played Call of Duty and thought "shit man... this is so damn cinematic". it was special... now days every single shooter plays out like a Jerry Bruckheimer film, and I'm not saying this is a bad thing. But it's just a nice change of pace to simply player a shooter to shoot stuff. The team behind the game obliviously had some hard set idea about what they wanted to put out, and they stick to their formula relentlessly through out.

Hard Reset looks great, plays frantic and doesn't even know it's own story... all in all... a great way to kill some time. It's definatly a great game experience, especially for fans of sci-fi/ cyber punk and action. The pick up and play nature of it is also a plus.

It definitely fills a niche for me right now, between Borderlands and waiting for Rage.

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