Big things have been happening here at MMGaming: no longer are we a tiny site at the corner of the internet. We are now a tiny site at the corner of the internet that some developers actually know about! As such the wonderful people over at Flying Wild Hog Games (non-indie, composed of former The Witcher 2 and Bulletstorm staff just-so-ya-know) gave us the chance to preview their up and coming cyberpunk FPS game for PC: ‘Hard Reset’. So without further ado let’s take a look!
The good old days. Back when Pokémon was cool, Sega still made consoles and when rioters were miners rather than minors. Also the days when FPS games didn’t have this ridiculous notion called ‘realism’. Doom, Duke 3D, Serious Sam: all games where the objective was to blow the living daylights out of hundreds of enemies using a ridiculous arsenal of weaponry. No ring-worlds, no international terrorism crisis to avert and certainly no ‘cover’ button. Ladies and gentlemen the good old days are back in business. Hard Reset brings back the hordes of enemies associated with an earlier era in gaming and teaches us how to have fun in FPS games yet again. At least in my opinion. Because this all boils down to how you like your eggs in the morning: fried in fast-paced action with guns blazing or simmered in the serious and tense duck-and-cover reality of games like Call of Duty. That’s not to say CoD fans won’t get a kick out of playing this game, more that they’ll see it as lacking features rather than streamlining gameplay.
But since it’s my article I get the privilege of putting my opinion: streamlined gameplay. As I mentioned it is pretty run and gun stuff with forcefields / doors closing behind you before large numbers of enemies swarm you and have to be destroyed before progressing to the next area in the level. While highly exhilarating when you are actually fighting the enemies, the areas in between each encounter just feel a bit like filler material. Nothing attacks you and it is painfully obvious when you are about to enter an area saturated with hostility – “Hmmm I just passed a deactivated forcefield into a large open area with health and ammo packs scattered around and conveniently placed explosives / objects to run behind for protection… SEEMS SAFE”. The element of surprise is pretty lacking despite the developers best attempts with the occasional ‘jump-out-of-the-cupboard / burning building’ cheap scare.
That being said the combat easily makes up for it. The environment is heavily involved in taking down your opposition with electrical supplies being shot at to zap your unfortunate foe or sending a shotgun blast into a large pile of explosives in case the voltage didn’t get them. And then there is the developer’s clever way of explaining how a person can carry 10 equally large weapons around at all time: by compressing them into two! Starting with just a machine gun and a plasma blaster, as you work through the game you will acquire ‘money’ by defeating enemies, lying about on the ground (the money, not you) or hidden in secret areas. These can be used to upgrade your current weapons with a secondary fire mode or add new weapon expansions including a railgun-esque energy rifle and the standard issue rocket launcher amongst many more interesting ways in which to decimate those that stand against you. The worst thing about combat is the design of a certain enemy (note that it is so bothersome that I am singling it alone out is a downpoint of the game… that bad). Most are fine but there is one which is just a sheer annoyance. It has lots of health and all it does is charge at you (which is unavoidable 99.9% of the time in my experience). The worst part is it rams you around so that when you come to your senses it charges right at you again. Arggh! But aside from that one small (yet highly concentrated) issue the combat is solid. The best thing is (*drum roll*) this game has some pretty epic boss fights! One was included in the preview and it was easily the best part. Boss fights are not everyone’s cup of tea but for me, what could possibly be better than being locked in mortal combat in a David vs. Goliath (future edition) scenario! Certainly another disadvantage of ‘realism’.
The other great thing about not so realistic games is their design (since as we all know the Mushroom Kingdom would be a far more awesome place to live than the shores of Dunkirk 1940). Set in a dystopian future where humanity has been pushed back to a single surviving city, despite the slightly clichéd plotline, the game looks pretty darn good! While the ‘urban cyberpunk’ look has been used across the spectrum of the gaming world (heck, some parts of the game reminded me of Ratchet and Clank…) Flying Wild Hog have certainly done a good job of it. The music fits perfectly with whatever you happen to be doing at the time with spooky ambient noise in the abandoned hospital setting and cranking it up for the combat to get your blood rushing a bit better (thus saving millions from the deep vein thrombosis caused by sitting about playing games all day). My major issue lies not with the overall style of the game but specifically with an aspect of the level design. Clutter is a pain in the posterior. I don’t know if it was the level designer’s intention that stuff should get in your way but whatever the case it is incredibly irritating when you are rushing about trying to avoid an enemy when suddenly a burnt out vehicle or a barrel or a crate or some other pile of meaningless crap gets in your way. Yes it’s important to have objects to hide behind for cover. But when you are effectively blocked in a dead-end with an enemy due to a crate which is high enough to prevent you from jumping over it but not high enough to protect your face from a stream of bullets, it can become rather frustrating. Rant over.
And that’s about it for my first impressions of the game! My personal conclusion is that I will possibly buy this game when it comes out. Sounds a bit underwhelming but hey I barely ever buy new stuff so to hear me say ‘possibly’ is quite an achievement for a game! Whether or not you (my faithful reader) will buy it all hinges on what I said in the second paragraph: how you like your FPS games to be served up to you. You will either love or hate the run and gun style of gameplay that Hard Reset offers hence why it will either be left sitting on shop shelves or be served with toast as an afternoon snack. I recommend you check out the official page right here for the trailer and if you like what you see then the Facebook page is here. Keep a look out for further Hard Reset info here on MMGaming too!
I don’t even like Marmite.