While the weapon design that Hard Reset builds itself around is fraught with issues however, it does also bring great strength to the game - mainly in how the marriage of these new ideas to traditional gaming conventions often breeds very memorable game moments. Players are forever balancing familiar skills with newer concepts or subtle variants - the exploding barrels of old complemented by electrical conduits that, when shorted, efficiently stun robotic foes.
The balance of these ideas isn't perfect yet, however. There are enough gas canisters and power mains laying around to suggest that Bezoar City is a place with a suicidal bent, especially given the lack of people on the city streets. It's a sentiment we sometimes found ourselves sharing when dealing with some of Hard Reset's more challenging enemies.
Oh crikey, the enemies. Coming in every shape and size, from tiny and sprightly ones that blow up in your face through to curiously floor-bound helicopters, Hard Reset's monster zoo is one filled with intimidating foes in huge number. The general rule that applies to all of them though is that the bigger they are, the less interesting they are to fight and the more annoying they prove to be.
This is going to hurt, isn't it?
One of the most common enemies is basically the 'bot equivalent of Serious Sam's bull bad guy, except bipedal and without the excuse of being as intelligent as a really big cow. Constantly charging towards you and smacking into the environment, these 'rambots' take a huge amount of damage to defeat and show up far too regularly for something so hard to overcome.
Worst of all though is the jockstrap giant, or the Atlas as he's called in Hard Reset. A veritable collosus, the Atlas could kill you just be stepping on you, but somehow finds himself restricted to fighting you in a small arena with cuff-mounted cannons. With glowing weakpoints that are easily targeted and a cycle of attacks that quickly starts to loop, he's an incredibly incongruous character for Hard Reset's typically taxing firefights. Worse, he's boring and unsatisfying too - defeating him feels like slogging towards a forgone conclusion.
Instead, it's with the hordes of smaller robots and the medium-sized enemies of the non-charging variety that Hard Reset hits its pace. Searching through destroyed hospitals at the whim of a mysterious benefactor, duelling with machine-men hybrids in corridors literally studded with explosives - that's where Hard Reset feels the most fun.
It's the story that will provide the real acid test for Hard Reset though, as what we've seen of it so far - mainly told through Max Payne-style graphic novel sequences while the game loads - is enough to tantalise, but not understand. It's also, with a world as interesting and flush with detail as Hard Reset's, primarily what we'll play the game to experience.
Hard Reset is speeding from announcement to release in record time and, to start with, that made us worried. Now, we've played a bit and, while our doubts haven't disappeared, they have been mitigated somewhat. There are some things we really like and there are some things we really hate - mainly the jockstraps. The deciding factor will be the story and we're anxious to see how it turns out.
Hard Reset is a PC exclusive FPS being developed by Flying Wild Hog Studios and which is set for release this September.