Hard West – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure, Indie, RPG, Strategy
Developer: CreativeForge Games
Publisher: Gambitious Digital Entertainment
Platforms: PC
Tested on: PC

Hard West – Review

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Good: Easy to learn gameplay
Bad: RNG can be frustrating
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When you think of possible settings for video games you’ll come across – in order of frequency – Zombies, aliens, military infantry, pirates and cowboys, with the first being a tie and the latter also. When you think about a game like X-COM set in the Wild West, you might think that it’s nothing special as it’s just people shooting other people. The game however does do something really interesting. It’s story wise and decision wise that changes things up. 



The story starts of really sweet and endearing as a family ventures out on the Oregon to find their fortunes in hopefully finding gold. However things go astray as the mother is soon abducted and the father and son are captured and sold to white slavers. The father escapes and tells his son to hide. The first thing you learn is that the mother doesn’t survive. Not a good start. Time passes and you grow up. However as you grow up, tales are told of how the devil walks the lands and people become ravenous and seemingly possessed. It can be naught but lies and hearsay, no? As the story progresses  you’ll come across a very seemly, attractive and kind mister. However, something is off about him. He offers you and your father a deal. Don’t trust strangers and for everything gained something of equal value will be lost. What seems like something inconsequential, will soon cost you… or at least the main character Warren, heavily.



Surprising detail is put into the graphics. There’s a very borderlands feel to the game as the aesthetics aren’t quite lifelike, but also not completely cell shaded. They set the scene which really feels like you are out in the Wild West. Hard West is surprisingly very graphical. When you shoot a target and it’s a hit, a giant spurt of blood cascades from them. You almost feel sorry for them as they bite the dirt. As you navigate the menus and the options in battle and in between to buy items, you won’t be annoyed by poorly designed menu boxes. The visibility of every option makes the game easy to learn the ropes.


What adds to immersion or can break it completely is the sound. Bad voice acting can throw you out, but great voice acting can really liven things up. This is what Hard West does really well as the voice acting is just right. What also breathes the very essence of the wild west is the music. If tunes in game are out of place or they don’t mesh with the overall feel of the game, it throws you out of it. However at whichever time in the game you’ll think you are in the rough and hard parts of the Wild West.



Hard West is a tactical turn based adventure with RPG elements. If you need any reference, think X-COM set in the Wild West. At least the site of the game says it is. It’s painful to say, but they are quite correct. It often happens that a developer makes lavish exclamations of their game being an equal to an acclaimed game and then their game is panned. However Hard West does what X-COM does and that is entertain. Don’t think that this is just man on man gun violence. There’s also a supernatural element, which keeps things interesting. No aliens, but demons.

You control your characters by right clicking and commanding them to move to cover or places on the battlefield. You can see where you’ll be in full cover or where you’ll be partly covered. If you are in full cover by something other than cloth or thin wood panels you’ll be safe. If  however you’ve nothing between you but the previously mentioned items, they’ll shoot right through it and hit you.

Hard_West_01So be mindful of where you place your characters. If you are partly hidden, and they miss you, your luck will decrease, this is done by the percentage they have of hitting you. When it hits zero you’ll be hit. Taking a hit decreases your health, but ups your luck. So taking a bullet isn’t always a bad thing. As you win battles you’ll gain loot and cards. These cards can be used to change your character as every card has a certain effect. Some will heal you when you aren’t in broad daylight or cloak you if you are in shadows. Some will give you better luck or a group heal when they are in range. Decking out your squad wisely can really turn the tide in battle.

The RPG part comes into play as you buy weapons and armour with the loot you’ve accumulated. This ranges from outfits to weapons, or even items which boost your luck or health.

There is one major difference in gameplay to X-COM. If your characters die in the story, it’s game over and you have to try the encounter again. In X-COM you’d just lose the infantry, but this isn’t possible in this game for story reasons. If the normal mode difficulty modes aren’t difficult enough already, you can add iron-man mode to it and battle injury mode. The former will force you to redo the whole campaign section should you die and battle injury mode doesn’t let recover your health upon a new encounter with enemies.


Hard West claims to be like X-COM, and admittedly does it well. It’s a different setting but an equally interesting story. The art visuals and graphics coupled with the sound make for a really beautifully crafted piece of work. Definitely worth checking out. The tutorial is clear and explains it so you don’t have much to puzzle together while the price/content ratio is spot on.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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First game ever was Crash Bandicoot 3 Warped, ever since then, gaming has been something that I've gravitated to. Reading's fun but not as interactive. Always up for a bout of online multiplayer. If that multiplayer is co-op. So if you are up for a friendly co-op session, hit me up. Rahenik's the name to search on PSN.

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