STAFF REVIEW of Hard Reset Redux (Xbox One)

Friday, June 10, 2016.
by Brent Roberts

Hard Reset Redux Box art About half a decade ago, developer Flying Wild Hog released a game on the PC called Hard Reset. Now after all this time they have decided to release Hard Reset on the Xbox One console with a "Redux" edition. Priced in at $19.99, or 1/3 of a regular retail priced game, Hard Reset Redux is tipping the scales on the higher end of some of Xbox's "budget titles". So the question is: Does adding the word "Redux" to a game title make it worthy of charging gamers a premium price?

Starting off, the story and loading screens are executed in a comic book style. Images dash in their confined boxes as they tell the tale of Major Fletcher and his day from hell. The premise of the story is that Earth has once again fallen upon hard times and humanity is almost completely obliterated. This is due to an ongoing war between man and machine. Think of this more along the lines of a dark and gritty Terminator type future with a mixture of a few cerebral Matrix elements sprinkled in. You live in the last remaining city, Bezoar, and having finished your protection shift you think that your night is done; but it's just beginning. During an emergency you must seek out Dr. Novak and you end up doing some form of Matrix mind meld, and it's here the game opens up and Hard Reset Redux delivers its average story.

Each of the game's stages are fairly linear with a healthy dose of backtracking and puzzle solving mixed in between the constant shooting, all in an effort to give Hard Reset Redux a little bit of spice. I'm not talking about extensively challenging puzzles either, but instead of just going from point A to B you may be required to explore area C in order to go back to A, unlock the door to B, and when going through B it will lead you to D, and so on and so forth. While the levels themselves are fairly generic and straight forward, this release being the Redux gives you new enemy placements and even a new bad guy or two. Every level is also riddled with secret areas, but sometimes they aren't so secretive. Let me explain.

In Hard Reset Redux you need to collect NANO, which is an orange glowing cube that acts as currency to upgrade your various weapons (ammunition or plasma) or your combat suit. Again, nothing we haven't seen a million times already, but the execution is done on a quality scale. In order to collect NANO you'll have to scour the levels and blast away doors, walls, ceilings, and more to find the bulk of the hidden areas, but sometimes they are found just by walking around to the other side of a crate. One rule of thumb that I went by was if I saw a large stack of NANO sitting in an area that looks like I had to figure out a pathway to it, then that would be a secret area, and sure enough I was right a majority of the time. Now while we are on the topic of upgrades...

It must be noted that the graphics have received an extensive overhaul for this current generation console release, and they could easily be mistaken for a full on Xbox 360 retail release, or even at times an Xbox One retail game. Sure the levels seem fairly detailed and even the enemies themselves seem to hold their own visually, but the real star of the show is your weaponry, more specifically your N.R.G. weapon. While the levels sometimes overflow with enemies, your N.R.G. weapon has multiple variants, one of which fires out arcing electrical blasts that adhere to surfaces and opponents which, when used in groups of enemies, can create some sensational electricity work. And that's when the truth about this game hit me.

Hard Reset Redux isn't trying to be some cash grab release as demonstrated through the graphic upgrades, new weapons, enemies, and more. Instead, this game is all about mindless slaughtering of robotic enemies with a vast number of secrets in every level so you don't feel like your IQ drops while playing. The real fun is felt through the seemingly endless onslaught of varying evil robots of death. That's it in a nutshell and it is the quintessential core of enjoyment which it does really well. The whole campaign is rather short and if you're going to go for those 'cheevos', then be thankful for that as you replay the campaign.

With a price point of $19.99 + tax you start to wonder if the price of admission is worthwhile given that you mostly get some new enemies, a visual overhaul, and a few more gameplay mechanics. But then you see what else has come from the ID@Xbox program and realize that Hard Reset Redux is one of the better releases to come from this publishing program. There are far worse and far cheaper games that you could buy for the cost of this game, but when you see the quality and effort that has been put into this title, you'll wonder why would you look elsewhere? Despite some faults, some flaws, and a few dings here and there, this is a quality shooter for its price.

Overall: 7.3 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.8 / 10
Sound: 7.2 / 10


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