Blow in the cartridge.
I love when games don't waste my time. There are instances where I couldn't give a shit what a game's story is. If robots are running around and my primary goal is to shoot as many of them as possible, I don't want it explained unnecessarily. Just give me a big gun, make it pretty and explodey, and let me at it.
That's exactly what Hard Reset: Extended Edition does. It's beautiful, it's got cool guns, and there are plenty of robots to shoot. What little narrative there is—conveyed in quickly paced comic-book style—is only there to knock back the last of your beer, and for good reason too.
Players take on the role of Major Fletcher, a soldier with some mercenary group or another. Tasked with protecting the last human city on the planet, Fletcher has to fight off tons and tons of machines as they attempt to take over Bezoar where billions of digitized human minds are kept on "The Sanctuary" network.
I hate to break it to Fletcher, but digitizing all those human minds only makes it easier for the robots to get at them. That's the kind of thought process that will quickly undermine Hard Reset's excellent, old-school FPS mechanics. You can write off Duke Nukem Forever as a sign that this kind of gameplay should have stayed dead and buried, but Hard Reset shows that shooting a bunch of stuff can still be exciting.
Players need to focus more on strafing and quick reflexes than cover or tactics. Enemies fly at you with reckless abandon. It doesn't matter if they're simply impaling themselves on your assault rifle barrel; they're faster and stronger than you.
Luckily, Hard Reset's engine keeps pace with the baddies, rendering dark, forboding environments with ease in one moment and lighting them up with explosions and electric bolts of light in the next. It'd be nice if there were a few more weapons to choose from, though.
The original release only allowed players to take on baddies with the CLN Modular Assault Rifle and EEF-21 Plasma Rifle. Extended Editon adds a few more to the list, but there still isn't a laundry list of guns to choose from. There are several upgrades to choose from and different firing modes add the illusion of weapon variety, but it still feels like there were ideas left on the table.
Extended Edition also attempts to augment the diminuitive game length of the original release with new, varied levels. These are much appreciated. If you're dropping the cash on a brainless romp like this, you at least want to feel like you got enough out of the experience.
And Hard Reset is brainless, to be frank, but it's also damn difficult. This is not for the faint of heart. Normal feels like Hard and hHrd feels like "holy shit, why are you doing this to me?" Extended Edition provides for more than enough of the enjoyable shooting, but it'll take plenty of time for you to get to the end-game if you're not accustomed to old-school twitch mechanics.
Hard Reset: Extended Edition is the epitomy of a Steam sale game. It's sure to attract plenty of buyers at a sale price, but do yourself a favor and install it, enjoy it, and blow some robots back to hell.