The city of Bezoar has been lost, Major Fletcher is on the run to the Barrens fighting new enemies to discover the truth about the Overseer. Hard Reset: Exile DLC Expansion continues exactly where the original game left off. It is FREE to owners of the original game and is automatically included when you buy Hard Reset, now known as Hard Reset: Extended Edition.
Editor’s Note: This is supplementary to the Hard Reset review. This covers just the expansion content.
Fletcher is doing his best to survive, but the robots aren’t making it easy on him. While you may keep in the same difficulty, the sheer quantity of enemies increase. However, there are a lot of corridors. So much so that there really isn’t much room to explore as you could in the first part of the game. You’ll still need to find N.A.N.O., the game’s currency for upgrading your NRG, CLR, and Combat Gear at specific stations.
There were seven levels in the original game which took about 4 hours to complete, on Normal. Exile extends that making the total game last about 7 hours with five new levels, that are a refreshing change from the clean city of Bezoar. The barrens feature highly industrial and broken down areas filled with huge machines that crush and destroy. The story remains thin but told mostly in motion comics between levels. Datapads are new to the expansion and are sprinkled throughout levels to give you insight to what happened.
This expansion suffers heavily from a viscous circle of: enter a room, try to flip a switch, fight a group of enemies, then the door unlocks. The original game was a bit more open and offered different setups, but it really stands out here. That said, the battles are intense and frenetic as you cycle through your weapons to dismantle the hordes of enemies coming your way. No new weapon types are introduced, so if you played the original, you’ll still be using your CLR for Rifle, RPG, and Shotgun and your NRG gun for Plasma, Mortar, and Smartgun usage, among other modes.
When you’re done with the game, there is EX Mode, where you can start over and keep all your upgrades and tackle the higher difficulties with a chance of success. A handful of updates have come to Hard Reset since release that have fixed bugs and introduced new features: Heroic Mode, the newest and highest difficulty in the game, and Survival Mode which is arena-based where you must survive increasingly difficult waves of enemies. Survival is neat, but is the best chance to shoot a bunch of enemies without the story intruding.
Several enhancements were added to the graphics. I noticed smoother framerates, improved lighting, color separation effects, and overall improvements to the engine. If you’re a graphics hound, the eye candy will be a visual delight with great textures and immersive lighting.
Hard Reset: Exile DLC falls on its face right out of the door if it were just a standalone game. It being a part of the Hard Reset: Extended Edition, feels more like a complete package though there are some repeating mechanics that get in the way of the fun. The new, true boss battle is as exciting as it is long – much more rewarding than before. This cyberpunk dystopian tale is now fully-featured and is tons of a fun and worth owning.
A Steam code for the DLC was provided by the publisher for review purposes.