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Review: Hard Reset

Hard Reset got some attention when it was released a couple years back based primarily on it's setting, a futuristic Blade Runner (movie) style city called Bezoar. The major detraction at the time was that it was a little short. In the meantime, the game has been expanded by a piece of free DLC that adds another couple hours to the campaign.

Hard Reset's engine has a lot in common with Doom 3's idTech4 engine. The various buttons and terminals that you come across in modern shooters have the same interface on them that are in idTech4 (little mouse cursors on their displays that are moved by your control scheme, be that a mouse or a gamepad), and it has a nice lighting system, no visible texture pop (on a 2GB GTX 670), and an overall nice visual feel (the benchmark told me I was getting 47fps average on my older system with everything turned up). It's a run and gun shooter, you'll spend a lot of time circle-strafing and running backwards, and there's no "take cover" mechanic.

The story is told primarily through suitably gritty graphic-novel style cutscenes with voiceover (inconsistent quality, but at least native English-speakers). The action is predominantly fights against robots of six main types (small round robots that explode, little ones with a sawblade nose, small ones that can fly a little above the ground, medium sized monkey-like robots that launch rockets, and then two larger gorilla-like robots that can suck up a lot of damage). There are three notable boss battles (again very similar to the boss battles in Doom 3, particularly the final boss battle from that one. The DLC contains another five or six types of enemies and outdoor type areas (four larger flying robots/vehicles and two lizard-like robots of different sizes), and a final boss that is too choreographed (it's not that hard to figure out how to kill giant robots with flashing weak spots, but the DLC drops you convenient blueprints explaining all the weaknesses of this boss well before you reach it, and it's frankly not as difficult as either of the two latter bosses in the main content).

Overall I enjoyed myself, but I wish there was more game. The story kind of cuts off in a transit mode, clearly there could be more story, and I'm interested in seeing it, even if the gameplay is not massively engaging (the enemies mainly just run right at you, whirly bits whirling, and good positioning is most of the solution, along with the RPG upgrade for your rifle).

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