A few months ago, I had a chance to see the first hour or so of Hard West 2, Ice Code Games’ turn-based strategy sequel. This is my first western experience of what this different development team is doing with supernatural powers, and while I’ve noticed that the game isn’t a walk in the park at all, the generally faster combat and exciting outside world does attracted me. Today, we’re on the cusp of Hard West 2’s real debut on PC, and for the past few days, I’ve completely immersed myself in the game and checked out everything it has to offer.
But before I get into my thoughts, here’s a brief introduction to Hard West 2’s premise and plot. The game sees you leading a group of criminals across the American West on a revenge mission to take down the evil commander of the mysterious ghost train, traveling a land that terrorizes its inhabitants. . This guy is called Mamun, he tricked you into claiming the train for himself and then tried to take your soul, and now you are desperate to find the ghost train again and avenge Mamun’s deceit.
Much of the gameplay is played from a top-down perspective, as you lead a team of villains across the west, exploring places of interest, interacting with settlements for side quests, healing and shopping, and even finding a starting point battle sequence. Once in combat, gameplay transforms into a turn-based strategy, meaning you must command each character and use their specific number of action points to move around the battlefield, use items, attack enemies and use skills in meaningful ways. There is indeed a system that allows you to take advantage of kills, as the Bravado mechanic resets the character’s action point after a kill kill, which in turn opens up chain kill opportunities and actually slashes enemies fairly quickly.
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Likewise, each playable character has its own set of skills and abilities. Kinkat (the typical villain type) can fire a series of penetrating shots at enemies every other turn, dealing moderate damage, but can hit multiple enemies at once. The magical Flynn can use spells to replace his position with an enemy, gain a position overlooking a high place, or place an enemy in a dangerous area for a companion.
I want to make it fundamentally clear here that, as I kept saying in the preview, Hard West 2 is not an easy game. Even on the easiest difficulty you will find yourself replaying parts of the game when you encounter defeats in combat, although this is not the case, any turn-based strategy game looking to fight on lower difficulties The gameplay guys will tighten up so that you can focus on the story, and as the narrative progresses, you’ll find yourself going horribly wrong. This is because certain systems and design choices make decisions more important and influential, whether it’s about mission objectives, which means some members of the team have to survive, or even when considering healing outside of combat, which is fundamentally No’ doesn’t exist – instead, you have to visit. Doctors restore health at the expense of some money. This all means that every move you make matters because sometimes you’ll find yourself in consecutive fights and not be able to heal in between, which really heightens the challenge when you have to constantly advance through the fight sequence . Reduces the overall health of your team.
I’d say the combat didn’t run into some of the more typical strategy types of X-COM-like issues, because I didn’t run into stupid percentages that basically mean less than 100% accuracy is a failure, and using shot bounces Abilities also make close combat difficult. It’s more fun because you can get creative with how you look at defeating enemies. In this regard, Hard West 2’s combat strategy and turn-based gameplay excel.
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The outside world itself is also one of the things I appreciate about Hard West 2 the most. It’s not too crowded or too big, but it has a nice balance between interesting points and not much free space in between. Each point of interest also usually gives you something useful, be it new weapons and gear, or even some playing cards to increase each character’s personal stats (such as health or speed), and can be used like playing cards The same goes for pairing for additional benefits. This all comes together nicely with a series of tweaks that give players a fair amount of freedom to focus on their respective characters and do it in a way that doesn’t feel overly complicated or complicated.
But one aspect I’m starting to appreciate more is the speed of the game, as I found Hard West 2 to feel too slow at less than four times the game speed — which happens to be the max speed option. This is for roaming the outside world, which feels slow at normal speeds, and that’s true in combat too, especially when you’re facing multiple enemy units that need their eternal turn to make way.
But overall, I really like Hard West 2. I firmly believe that its crushing difficulty will alienate many players, and for many fans, this may just be the biggest change. But for any X-COM and turn-based strategy veteran who’s used to (and appreciates) being completely beaten while playing video games, this should be your cup of tea. Everyone, you have been warned.