Almost a year after its release, Flying Wild Hog rereleased Hard Reset, and reworked all of the old copies into Hard Reset Extended Edition, which includes the newly released Exile downloadable content, adding five new single player chapters and picking the story up right at the end of the campaign. If this is your first time playing your game will flow flawlessly into the new content. Everyone else will just have to click continue game on the main menu.
Hard Reset is a single player shooter that pits you against giant hordes of robots. Your goal is to get to the end of the level and turn everything in front of you into scrap. The plot is some tale of encroaching robot hordes, giant memory banks and corporate conspiracy. It flirts with some interesting concepts, but nothing is ever really fleshes out or even necessary for a game whose only real objective is kill everything that moves.
It’s the killing everything part that is important and it feels fantastic. There are only two weapons in the game, a bullet-based gun and an energy-based one. What you primarily switch between is firing modes that you unlock as you gain experience. Both weapons start as machine guns, but feel drastically different by the end. I personally loved using the rocket launcher and railgun modes. Each gun pulls from a supply of ammo and the different modes consume it at different rates.
The robots themselves are challenging enough, but too often the real difficulty comes from having so many enemies thrown at you you die before you can even realize where those shots are coming from. It’s not too difficult to dodge death, but I don’t really want to have to slip out of a bind; I want to blow it to hell. Even though it happens more times than I would prefer, burying bullets in robot skulls feels satisfying; they nailed the act of shooting and I loved to do it.
The easiest way to move through those bullet filled corridors is to utilize the environment. The halls are littered with explosive, EMP and shock hazards. A bullet or two will set them off in the face of a pissed-off robot or you if you make a mistake. As in Bulletstorm, the draw beyond finishing the campaign is to go back and maximize your score. There aren’t combos, but the more efficient you are, the higher your score. There are also a survival and several challenge modes available once you complete the campaign, but even then it’s worth the entry price for the main game.
Hard Reset is an ode to the shooters of a previous era. The horde of robots for you to obliterate with your arsenal may be limited, but the act of blowing them apart is incredibly entertaining. While franchises like Serious Sam have prevented the “shoot-everything-that-moves” genre from dying, another, cheaper title is a welcome sight. The Exile DLC adds so much content for free and until July 23rd you can pick up all of it for a little over $3 on Steam.