Indie Quickie: Hard Reset Redux

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What is it and who made it? Before its modern reimagining of Shadow Warrior and the release of cutesy platformer Juju, Flying Wild Hog’s first game was cyberpunk FPS Hard Reset. This is an updated version of that game.

What platforms is it on and how much does it cost? PlayStation 4, Steam PC, and Xbox One at a $19.99 price point. For Steam customers who own a previous version of Hard Reset or the 2013 Shadow Warrior, a permanent discount of 85% off is in place. That means returning players get the Redux for only $3.

How much did we play? Played through the first five stages in full and a short ways into the sixth level in around three hours.

Any technical concerns, hardware requirements, or other details you should know about? I’ve been playing the game on PC at Ultra graphics settings without any bugs or hitches in performance. The only thing I haven’t been able to get to work is the quick load function. It’s not mapped by default, but even after binding it to a key nothing happens when I press it. I have read some reports of comparison videos showing a visual downgrade compared to the original, but that hasn’t been my experience at all. Yes, the graphical changes are negligible, but they are an improvement nonetheless. When I switch from the old version to Redux, I can tell a slight but noticeable difference for the better.

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Why should you play it?

    • Slash & Dash: Borrowing mechanics from Shadow Warrior, Hard Reset Redux‘s two main additions are the new Cyber-Katana and a new quick dash ability. Though subtle, the latter feature makes a significant difference to the playability of the game. As a corridor FPS fashioned after old school greats like Doom and Quake, as well as more frantic early 2000 shooters like Painkiller and Serious Sam, Hard Reset‘s action revolves around blasting through increasingly relentless robotic enemies that like to jump out and attack from all sides. Only sprinting was possible in the original, but now in Redux the sprint key can be quick-tapped while moving to dash forward, backward, or to either side, which allows for a more skillful way to dodge out of the path of a charging behemoth, quickly back away from AOE ground pounds, avoid projectile fire, or dart between swarms of smaller bots. Dashing adds a smoothness to the gameplay that just feels more engaging and refined. The dash move also pairs perfectly with the addition of the Cyber-Katana, a melee weapon that’s acquired a few levels into the story. While you can’t do any combos or special attacks or use the existing upgrade system to improve its capabilities (at least not that I’ve encountered yet), having a melee option for close-proximity combat while also being able to dash around adds a fun dimension to the action as well as the strategic option to conserve ammo while still being able to kick cyborg ass. Plus, having the katana leads to more glorious opportunities to gib enemies up close and personal (or chop up corpses just for the hell of it–see above screenshot), especially the newly added Cyborg Zombies that serve as an ideal form of shambling slice-and-dice fodder. Lo Wang would be very proud.

    • Gimme (F)Five: Another useful feature Redux offers is the ability to hit the F5 key to quick save progress at any time. The game already has checkpoints that auto-save at fairly regular intervals (checkpoints also can now be enabled or disabled from the options menu), but as the difficulty increases it is definitely helpful to manually quick save on your own terms and shorten any potentially large chunks of lost progress after dying.

    • The Works: A lot of other minor touches enhance the overall experience. Graphically, Flying Wild Hog has updated the game to run on the latest version of the RoadHog engine. Playing both versions back to back on Ultra settings, the differences aren’t as drastic as you might expect between a game originally released in 2011 and an enhanced edition here in 2016, but the load times have more pep in their step, the framerate is even smoother, and there are some subtle lighting improvements that jazz things up nicely. What else is there? Well, you can now see your character’s feet, for whatever that’s worth to you. Enemy placement has been tweaked around a bit in spots. A key binding for flashlight toggle has been added. The extras menu now contains a digital art book with pages that unlock as you play through the campaign. For Alienware users, Redux supports AlienFX so you can keep track of health status via your rig’s case lighting (it’s bright green at full health but grows fainter as health is depleted, which is actually a cool perk). To go along with the quick dash, sprinting is now an endless ability. Sprinting in the old version only lasts for a few seconds, but Redux essentially gives you unlimited stamina to dash and sprint as much as you like, which prevents the pace from bogging down during the less interesting bits between the shootouts like it sometimes did in the original.

Parting Thoughts: Hard Reset Redux is more like a Shadow Warrior mod than a monumental upgrade over the game’s previous incarnation, but it absolutely is the best version to play, and for returning players it’s well worth a mere three bucks to revisit for the new melee swordplay and quick dashing. The core game remains intact as a challenging, mindlessly fun retro-style shooter with an interesting weapon system (there are only two primary gun and ammo types, but each can be modded with different shot types), satisfying gunplay and environmental destruction, and tons of hidden secret areas to search for. On the downside, the story is still an incoherent throwaway and the level design is still formulaic and somewhat dull, though at least the pacing is better now. Although it may not bring any overwhelming upgrades to the table, all in all I’d say that Hard Reset Redux is a worthwhile re-release for newcomers and repeat players alike. For more complete impressions, be sure to check out our previous review of the Hard Reset: Extended Edition as the majority of its analysis very much still applies to Redux.

What is Indie Quickie? It takes a lot longer to fully review a game than it does to get a good sense of what a game is. Even with a full-time staff of writers it would be impossible to fully review the thousands of games that are released every year. Indie Quickie is our way to offer snap impressions of the countless indie titles small teams and one-man game studios are releasing literally every single day, and to help guide players to worthwhile games they may not have heard about before.

Disclosure: A Steam code for Hard Reset Redux was provided to VGBlogger.com by the game’s publisher.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!