DescriptionHard West is a turn-based strategy game in a western setting combined with some supernatural elements. The player controls up to four characters through several scenarios with mechanics reminiscent of the X-COM games. From the main menu eight scenarios can be unlocked eventually, with three difficulty settings and optional modifiers such as combat injuries (debuffs for damaged characters, but stronger over time) and ironman where the entire scenario needs to be restarted if a critical character is killed. The main story has frontier themes and tells how a couple and their son travel the Oregon Trail. In a small village along the way, overrun by outlaws, the mother is kidnapped. The father has to rescue her, which is played as an interactive tutorial. The game then starts several years later when the son, Warren, has grown into the man. Oregon was never reached and they tried their hand at farming instead, also prospecting mines to collect enough gold to aim for Oregon again. While several scenarios continue the main story with Warren at the center, there are several spin-off scenarios, like vignettes, that introduce additional, separate characters, but with many common elements for the themes and stories. Every scenario generally has the player starting over again, as advancements are not shared between scenarios.
Between the several combat sequences the story unfolds gradually. Using icons, different locations on a map can be visited with role-playing elements for conversations, small quests and many encounters that involve choices and consequences. For instance, Warren has several ways to try and lift a curse for his father, other families will ask for help with no immediate return, and there are several mines that can be entered with limited permits using different techniques providing varying yields of gold. Players can use the gold to invest in additional weapons and items, including bartering, but it is possible to invest in advanced mining technique as well, for chances of more gold. It is also possible to trade tobacco and liquor across settlements. These story and RPG sequences are always shown on a map with icons, text and dialogue choices.
Combat takes place in small environments where both sides take turns. Characters have action points for movement and actions, health, several guns, abilities, and luck as a very important factor for success. The amount of luck has a large influence on the hit percentage, but missing shots reduces it, encouraging players to get closer for better hits. The game emphasizes using a cover system with objects, doors, windows and obstacles that highly influence the hit chance, combined with the distance, whether the line of fire is obstructed and the type of weapon. Fatalities are also permanent. Rather than relying on classes, for every combat sequence characters can be customized through several weapons, items such as boots and elixirs, and most importantly ability cards. These cards (perks) are earned gradually and several can be equipped for each character. These provide abilities such as shadow generation while using cover, more luck, transfusing luck for health, having bullets ricochet etc. Certain card combinations, modeled after poker hands, provide powerful combinations with additional bonuses
Enemies are only revealed when in the line of sight and then disappear right away when characters can no longer see them. When they are nearby sound often reveals a general location. At day characters hiding behind objects can often be spotted by their shadows. The player can rotate the camera and zoom out for instance to access buildings with multiple floors. Other actions are shooting, reloading and subduing enemies. Subdued enemies can be used for a stealth approach, but when they wake up they will immediately alert nearby enemies. It is however possible to return and subdue again every few turns. The several choices during scenarios eventually lead to multiple endings. Weapons include regular revolvers, rifles and shotguns, but also a few outlandish prototypes.
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Part of the Following Groups
- Crowd funding (successful)
- Game Engine: Unity
- Gameplay feature: Multiple endings
- Hard West series
- Non-traditional Westerns
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