Turn-based fans of tactical shooters will likely appreciate this challenging, atmospheric, and sometimes strange computer game. Hard West falters in a few areas, but it's hard to deny its charm. First, the good news. Though clichéd and over the top, the story will draw you in, and the music and graphics will keep you interested as you move about the map to visit locations -- such as outposts, saloons, churches, abandoned mines, and more -- but it's the turn-based tactical action that'll keep you intrigued. For each fight, you'll choose your party, equip them with weapons and items, unlock special abilities through the cards you collect, and take advantage of the environment such as taking cover, and ricochet bullets off metal objects.
The game claims to give the player choices that change the path and story somewhat, but this isn't necessarily the case; for example, choosing not to pursue a gang in favor of exploring still forces a fight with that posse anyway. Other glitches, such as choosing to pay for information but being prevented from doing so, are infuriating. The action is fun, but spending the action points for each move -- firing a weapon, moving to another spot on the map, healing and other spells, and so on -- isn't as intuitive and fluid as it is in other games. "Luck" plays a part in your success, too, but there's no explanation of how the Luck stats are accumulated (maybe it's random). Fun, challenging, and with lots of replayability, Hard West is an interesting computer game for turn-based lovers, Western aficionados, and perhaps those who like supernatural yarns -- even when they're as ridiculous and trite as the one running through this single-player romp.