It’s funny to think that DOOM has “brought back” the old-school shooter when developer Flying Wold Hog have been doing it or years. The developer is known for the upcoming and anticipated release of Shadow Warrior 2 but the team made an excellent Cyberpunk First Person Shooter back in 2011 in the form of Hard Reset. Now, five years later, the game has been released for consoles and PC with improved visuals and gameplay.
Hard Reset Redux is set in a dystopian cyberpunk city. Visually, it’s breath-taking in places as you look up and see massive screens displaying advertisements, something that would feel familiar to those that are fans of the Blade Runner movie. Everything feels like that old-school cyberpunk. Lights litter the rain-soaked streets and the overall visual design is nothing short of incredible.
As this very much feels like an old-school shooter, there is very little story and the bit that’s told is done so through stylish comic book scenes that take place while the next level is loading. It’s interesting enough if you care but it also doesn’t hamper the gameplay if you simply just want to go around shooting enemies.
And you shoot a lot of enemies. There are small robotic type enemies as well as humanoid enemies that feature a fun diversity to the combat and how you approach the next area as waves of enemies rush you. You are armed with two main weapons, a bullet type one and a plasma type one. As you can image, each weapon is effective against different types of enemies.
As you take out enemies and search for secrets, you will find these orange containers that fill up a bar and once that happens, you will unlock an upgrade point. Upgrade points are used to unlock and improve weapons and attachments for both your weapons. This means that the rifle can be turned into a shotgun and the plasma blaster can shoot out arc shots. Rather than have 10 different weapons, you have two that have attachments. It’s an easy enough way to help you understand all the weapons but the game also features a weapon wheel should you want to navigate your weapons that way too.
The gunplay feels smooth and impressive. There’s a satisfying kick to the shotgun when you get up close and personal as well as the visual symphony that happens on screen when you start blowing up explosive barrels and electric boxes in the environment. Unfortunately, this is where the one major disappointment I have happens. When action gets hectic, and especially when explosions start happening all over the environment, the game struggles to keep the 60 frame a second gameplay. It’s noticeable but never really lasts more than a couple of seconds but can definitely diminish the flow of combat.
I played Hard Reset in 2011 and found it incredibly enjoyable but slightly flawed. To me it was an underrated gem. Thankfully, this game has been given another chance with Hard Reset Redux and that means it has the chance to capture a whole new audience. A great, fast shooter.