Kickstarter Shout-out: Hard West

 photo hardwest01.jpg The Wild West as a setting is nothing new to gaming. We have had some fantastic games that are set in the realm of cowboys and Indians, like Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption and Techland’s Call of Juarez franchise. Unfortunately, developers really don’t like putting the Wild West into that many different game genres. If you are getting a game that is set in the west, it is most likely a shooter of some sorts. It’s a shame, too, since you could really do some interesting things if you take the setting and put it into a genre like, I don’t know, something that is like the recently funded InSomnia, the highly anticipated Wasteland 2, or the first two Fallout games. Luckily, I found out about a company called Creative Forge and their game, Hard West. Let us dive into this world of revolvers and ten gallon hats; this is Kickstarter Shout-out: Hard West.

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Hard West puts you in the boots of six different characters, with, of course, six different scenarios. They will be interconnected, so this means that you won’t be going in having to explore the world to understand what the heck is going on. However, the game will be filled with exploration and side adventures for you to enjoy if you want to take a break from the main story or scenario you are playing through. I am curious to see how the characters will be developed, and what their underlying intentions are. The west is a cruel place and sooner or later, your survival rate will drop to zero. Make every bullet count.

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Hard West is an isometric action game with RPG elements. The developer of the game, Creative Forge Games, has said that it isn’t a traditional RPG in the sense like Septerra Core or the first two Fallout games. Combat will be fast-paced and punishing. You know how in most RPGs you chip away at an opponent’s health bar? Well, you don’t get to do that in this game! Back in the west, all it took was one or two well-placed shots. The developer has even said that the combat is like the recent X-COM games, so if you like those tough, but satisfying tactical battles, this will be right up your alley! From what I can tell from the Kickstarter page, you will be able to dual wield, get blinded by the sun, and even make bullets ricochet off objects to kill unsuspecting enemies. You can even hide in the shadows to catch your enemy by surprise. The Kickstarter also hints that even though you will be fighting mostly human enemies, there might be something else on the dusty trails that can‘t be explained. The overall look of the gameplay looks similar to X-COM, The Banner Saga, Valkyria Chronicles, and other tactic-heavy games. I have my concerns, but I will comment on those concerns later on in this shout-out.

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The graphics really fit the mood of this game. It’s very dusty, brown, and has that taste of a land that will not forgive you coming to the west unprepared. I know I talk about how games should use more colors, but if the color doesn’t fit the mood, then it shouldn’t be used. The music is also very western, with hard-hitting guitars and a vibe that is similar to the more gritty western films. One of the vibes that the developer is wanting to recreate is of the Coen Brother’s “No Country for Old Men.” From what I have seen in terms of concept art and the trailer, it looks pretty accurate to what they want to do. The music is being composed by Marcin Przybylowicz, who worked on the critically acclaimed The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.

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So, what are my concerns for Hard West? For one, I hope the difficulty is fair. There is always a fine line between what is difficult but fair, and what is difficult but punishing. They need to make sure that every character follows the same set of rules. There is nothing more frustrating than you not being able to do something, and yet the enemy can do that exact move that you weren’t allowed to do. They could also add a mode for people who just want to enjoy the story, but all I am looking for is that the challenge is fair.

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This was a very cool Kickstarter Shout-out to find out about. I love the style of gameplay featured in this Wild West-themed game. It is definitely unique, since at first glance, it looks like a game that is trying to be like the old computer RPGs of the 90s. Luckily, it has its own identity, and isn’t trying to copy other Kickstarters like InSomnia. The Kickstarter has 15 days left and is at over $67K of their $70K funding goal. They have stretch goals that include a Mac and Linux version, and two more scenarios. If you love games that are set in the west, but are not a typical third or first-person shooter, you should help back Hard West. Congrats, Creative Forge Games! Hard West gets my Kickstarter Shout-out!

(If you want to support this Kickstarter, go to this link!)