A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hard Reset Redux is a downloadable sci-fi shooting game played from the first-person perspective. Using a variety of guns, you spend the game running around and blasting robots. While there's a lot of shooting involved, with bots exploding with sparks and falling apart, there's no blood or gore. Parents should also know that if kids are expecting a shooter experience comparable to more modern games they've been playing, there's going to be a learning curve; this game has a heavy emphasis on exploration, and without being provided with a level map, you're forced to strike out on your own. There may be occasional profanity shown written in word bubbles during cut scenes, and you may see silhouettes of women on buildings, but otherwise there's no offensive content.
What's it about?
In HARD RESET REDUX, you play as Fletcher, a soldier of a corporation combat unit that's entrusted to protect the last city, Bezoar. Machines are trying to take over and absorb a network that holds digitized human minds, thus shifting the precarious balance so humans will all but disappear. It's your job to make sure that doesn't happen, by any means necessary -- and to survive.
Is it any good?
Although this shooter is an update of a 2011 game -- one intended to feel old-school at the time -- this remake can't help but feel creaky and dated. It intentionally sheds modern conventions of the first-person shooter, which means you can't use the environment for cover and there are no interruptions with lengthy cut scenes. Instead, the focus is squarely on shooting enemies until they're dead and traversing the maps. That's where its age is most apparent, because without a map screen you'll wind up hugging the walls on nearly every level to track where you haven't been and what you might have missed leading to where you're supposed to go. This all makes for a disjointed flow to the game -- fits and starts of shooting punctuated by staring at walls and hallways.
Which, honestly, is what many first-person shooters are like, and that's what makes Hard Reset Redux specifically hard to get overly excited about. It's unfair to count what's been done before against this game, but it's also extremely generic. There's a cookie-cutter plot involving a conspiracy, robots, and the end of humanity used as an excuse for blasting and shooting. While you can level up your guns, unlock a variety of new functions on them, and eventually get a sword, these wrinkles can't distract from how disorienting and confusing the core of the game can be -- especially if this is your first time playing an old-school shooter. Without a multiplayer mode, the meat on these bones is on the action described above. It's not that it's out-and-out bad, it's just that it doesn't all hang together all that engagingly. There are other games that do this better, which means this is likely only a look for purists or people wondering how new twists are being attempted on old-school titles.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about cyborgs, androids, and the notion of supplementing human bodies with mechanical or machine-built parts. Is this a faraway fantasy or something we're likely to see in our lifetimes? If so, is this something we should be trying? Why, or why not?
Why are products re-released when the original is still available online or in stores? Why would a company want to do that? Why would someone want to buy it?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Gambitious Digital Entertainment
- Release date: June 3, 2016
- Genre: First Person Shooter
- Topics: Adventures, Robots, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: M for Violence, Blood, Nudity, Strong Language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.