I’m going to start by saying that Hard Reset is a fun game. It is also very pretty.

Set in a dirty cyberpunk city [the last city with a human population], you play as Fletcher. A soldier employed by a corporation named the CLN.

The story is explained between levels in a motion comic style, which looks pretty cool. Though the dialogue isn’t that great [some of the lines come off as cheesy], it works. The game starts off with you being sent into a breached sector of the city to find out what’s going on.

The game very quickly throws you into the action, things were exploding not even 5 minutes into the game. The first issue I encountered was that a lot of the enemies use melee, while you can only use ranged attacks. This is an issue because there are very few ways to counter their attacks, the best you can do is back pedal or jump out of the way, which isn’t bad when against a small group, but it is very easy to get overwhelmed. Nothing really seems to slow the robots down, or push them back, so if you get surrounded you’re done for.

Note: I would suggest some kind of upgrade that allows you to push robots back.

That isn’t to say that the fights aren’t fun, if you manage to avoid the onslaught.

The enemies themselves are pretty cool, which is a good thing as there aren’t many types.

fig 1. You better get used to these guys, you’ll be seeing them A LOT.

You have 4 basic types, tiny robots that run and jump at you, tiny robots that run and jump and then explode at you, giant robots that charge towards you and then human sized robots that shoot at you.

There are other variations in these types.

Upgrades.

The upgrade system in this game is simple – which I like – but a lot of the upgrades didn’t seem to make a huge difference, I also found that I only really needed two of the weapon upgrades. The shotgun for the “CLN Firearm”  and the Rail Gun upgrade for the “N.R.G Weapon” [N.R.G. Energy. Get it?]. Between them, these two upgrades cover everything, the Rail Gun for long distance shots, and the shotgun for medium range, though late into the game I tried out the RPG and that proved very useful in the final battle.

I think the upgrade system would have benefited from less upgrades, but more expensive and useful. Like I noted before, a lot of the upgrades didn’t seem to make a noticeable difference. Though this may have been due to me playing on normal rather than hard.

fig 2. The menu for upgrades is quite nice and easy to navigate.

The menu you use to navigate upgrades is something that I feel is noteworthy, you upgrade at terminals located at various points within the levels, and you aren’t taken out of the game and into a pause screen when upgrading, you just walk up to the terminal and point and click at what upgrades you like. This kind of menu is pretty good as it doesn’t break immersion and is quick to open and close.

The environment.

As I said before, this game is very pretty. The visuals are simply amazing.

fig 3. Late into the game you’re in for some fantastic views.

Unfortunately, the amount of detail has seemed to come at a cost. Navigating the levels can become tricky when it comes to jumping on crates [which is required to progress in some levels]. I’m not sure what the issue is, I think it’s a clipping issue, but I found myself pushed off some objects but some invisible force, despite being required to climb over these objects to progress. At the end of the day, it took too many tries to complete a task that shouldn’t have been difficult.

The game emphasizes on using the environment to your advantage, there are lots of destructible objects and lots of explosions. You can also shoot certain electrical devices to shock any nearby enemies, this is very useful as enemies can get overwhelming.

I’m not sure whether this is a bad thing though, but a couple of times I found the area completely cleared of all hostiles simply from one explosion. Which caused another explosion. Which caused another. Which in turn caused another. Honestly I have no idea how I survived.

fig 4. If it looks like it might explode, it will explode.

Despite the environment being pretty cluttered, and having a very dirty look due to that whole cyberpunk robot apocalypse thing, though levels are pretty easy to navigate through. I never once found myself lost or confused on where I need to go next, I do however have one complaint about the layout of the levels.

The secrets.

Each level has a number of secret areas for the player to find, if found the player is rewarded with some credits to buy upgrades with, the issue is that these secrets are hard to find, not because they’re well hidden, but because there isn’t much that really makes them a secret. I stumbled upon almost half of the secrets without meaning to, simply because that is just where the level pointed my to, and I was confused as to how the area I was in was considered a secret. The other half though, I’m not sure how I’d go about finding them as there isn’t really anything to look out for. I guess that’s what makes them a secret though. I dunno about the others.

The boss fights.

Throughout Hard Reset there are these super powerful enemies that fire rockets but move slowly, I think these are meant to be some sort of mini-bosses. They’re pretty hard to kill. Unless you find a blindspot.

It’s pretty easy to just hide behind a corner and poke out when they’ve stopped bombarding you, taking away a lot of the challenge. Which is a shame as there doesn’t seem to be any other way of avoiding them. Unless you employ a different dirty tactic. Paralyzing them. I found it pretty easy to paralyze them with the shotgun upgrade and pelt them with shots, by the time they’d regained movement I was able to just paralyze them again, this is made hard somewhat by a group of tiny robots attacking you, but they don’t seem to respawn and are easily defeated.

fig 5. These guys act like mini-bosses, and the first time you meet ‘em they’re in a pair. Have fun!

This next part may be kind of a spoiler, anyway, another boss I think is worth mentioning is somewhere around the start of the last third of the game, it’s a giant statue that comes to life. The first half of the battle is hard, his attacks are very hard to avoid and you have lots of little robots chasing you. The second half is much, much easier. You have no little robots attacking you, and he has a very easily exploitable blind spot. It’s very easy to just hide in the corner of the map and poke out when he’s stopped attacking.

fig 6. Player, meet Atlas. Atlas, meet player. At least, I THINK that’s his name.

In summary, the boss fights are fun, but far too easy to exploit. Except the last boss. The last boss is great.

The story.

Spoilers past this point, guys.

The story isn’t bad. It’s nothing to jump and scream about, but it isn’t terrible. I think it’s worth mentioning though because of the ending. The game ended at the mid-point of the story, with none of the plot points cleared up. The game simply had no closure and ended at what felt like a mid-game boss, though apparently there is DLC coming out for the rest of the story? I’m not sure how true that is, but if it is then I have no issues.

Overall.

Overall, Hard Reset is a fun game and I recommend it, it’s fairly short [4 hours on normal mode, with no particular rush to finish] and does have a few downfalls, but the game really makes up for them with the immense battles and beautiful environment. If I were to give it an arbitrary number, I’d give it a 7.