Hard West – A Classic In The Making

Hard West is a turn based strategy game released on November 18, 2015. It plays very much like X-COM, but despite this manages to hold on to its own identity. The game consists of different acts. Each act is part of a greater story, with you having to complete the previous one to be able to continue on to the next. The story itself centres on a family down on their luck in the old west. You notice somethings not quite right when Death is narrating the game, and you soon learn of the demonic side too!  As with other turn based tactical games you have a team that you can equip. Combat is simple, with a variety of options depending on your gun and abilities. The abilities can be given to your heroes via playing cards, which you can unlock during events in the game.

Part of the gameplay involves a general map, like Jagged Alliance 2 had, with encounters opening up set locations, from your homestead to a local town. Once you get to the encounter, if you are not hostile you can spend time moving into position to setup ambushes, flanking enemies or stopping reinforcements from being deployed. This does require some thinking, as the AI can get spooked if your plan is too obvious, and combat will begin. You can carry up to two guns on each character, and each type has different damage, range, ammo and some have specials.

My personal favourite is the shotgun; it is a close range weapon, depending on the type low ammo before reloading and high damage. It also has a cone special, which will blow chunks out of anyone in the hit zone! The Six Shooter is my next go to gun. Luck plays a role in this game too, every time you are hit, you gain some. Luck will kick in on some shots and you will dodge an incoming attack.

Each useable character has a hand of cards. This hand starts empty, but as you unlock cards you can give them to anyone you like even switching them after combat. As you progress some can even unlock more card slots. Different poker hands give different overall buffs as well as the cards ability.  This bonus can be from just having one high card to a full house and of course jokers are wild.

Between combat you can buy various items at stores, some of which are only useable on the world map. This can be some poison you use to affect a well to whiskey you trade with natives. These events have benefits as well as consequences.

The one part of combat I do not like is if you move too close to an enemy that did not shoot last turn, and could see you, they gun you down. This normally results in death of most of the characters you can play; however you don’t get the same effect if the NPC does it to you. Other than that, I find this game to be a solid game for the price, a little short but fun to play. I feel this game has a lot of potential and should earn a sequel.