Hard West is a squad based tactical strategy with elements of adventure placed in an alternative past where the dark forces and demons are as real as horses and revolvers. Hard West’s story is divided into eight chapters or mini-campaigns. The first campaign puts you in the role of young Warren. Years ago, on the way to Oregon, the bandits attacked his family and kidnapped their mother.
Warren and his father were settled on a small farm near an unnamed town in order to survive and collect enough money to complete the trip to Oregon. The discovery of gold in the local wilderness looks like a solution to their problems, but things quickly complicate. Each of the eight campaigns has two components – adventure and tactical.
The adventurous part of the game takes place on the maps of the region where you are visiting numerous locations of interest, and through the text menu you choose your next move. You are communicating here with NPCs who can temporarily join your small family or learn a new skill, visit merchants from which you procure equipment and weapons, miners for gold, or explore remote areas where you can discover valuable resources, but also to permanently hurt one of your characters.
A tactical map is a 3D view of typical western sites that can be rotated randomly in steps of 90 degrees. There is a lonely farm, a refugee gang shelter, a deserted main street where a brutal bribe is being prepared or a city square where everything is prepared for hanging up an unhappy person.
Each character gets two action points per move. The first one can move according to his own mobility, or use some of the uncomplicated skills such as filling weapons or applying a drug, while for others you activate the attack or shoot from one of your two weapons to one of the enemies that are in your sight field.
If you are half or completely sheltered, you become a heavy target for your opponents. Once a target has been missed his or her happiness is reduced. The less fortune the character has, the greater the chance that he will be hit by the next bullet. On the other hand, each time the character is hit by a scale of happiness, it grows again so that in the next move, it has a greater chance of being left without injury.
The situation complicates the skills that, besides action points, are also happening. So you will often come to the dilemma whether to use the skills and make the character more vulnerable or to play safely. On the other hand, sometimes you do not have enough luck to activate the skills that you need more than needed. Then you need to plan how to hit your opponent who does a little damage to complement the scale of happiness, and you return them with a safe death.
In addition to weapons and equipment that reinforce your characters, there are also special cards with skills and skills that you can assign to characters, making them more effective during combat. Each of the nearly fifty combat missions in the game is very interesting and carefully balanced. The initial ranks of rangers and bandits slowly turn into conflicts with supernatural, all the way to the bandits, whose adjective demonic does not mean that they are dangerous, but they also have horns and bases of sulfur.
Hard West has only three degrees of difficulty, but the first of them, nominally light, will be a solid challenge, and the hardest will often throw you in despair. A great atmosphere, a robust fighting system and a solid story are more than enough to engage in this adventure in the strange Wild West.
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