Looking for an old-school PC shooter before the glut of military FPS titles hit later this year? Look no further than Flying Wild Hog’s upcoming title, Hard Reset, which is set for release on September 13, 2011.

Brought to you by some of the talent who worked on BulletstormSniper, and The Witcher 2, Hard Reset is an over-the-top cyberpunk shooter featuring tons of destructibility and environmental game elements. You won’t confuse this title with the futuristic combat of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, however.  This is a pure shooter through and through. We recently had some hands-on time with a preview build and walked away impressed.

Hard Reset utilizes 2D comic-book style cutscenes to provide the narrative. The basic gist is that humanity is close to extinction and those still living are holed up in the last closed city of Bezoar. You play as Major Fletcher, a soldier tasked with protecting humanity from the machines who have taken over the planet. The game begins with Fletcher investigating a breach of Bezoar’s protective barrier by the machines. From there, Hard Reset launches into full shooter mode, via either the traditional keyboard and mouse setup or Xbox 360 controller.

Your weapon arsenal features two gun sets: one that uses traditional ammunition and one that shoots both plasma and electricity bursts. Upgrading a weapon set is more akin to purchasing an add-on that simply allows the player more options in battle. When selecting a particular weapon type, such as a rocket launcher, your gun and reticule quickly transform into your selection. The system offers a lot of variety, is very fluid, and works well on the fly, which is a necessity due to the fast pace of the combat. It’s a pretty cool setup as you’ll become a walking war machine after purchasing enough upgrades.

Hard Reset Preview City of Bezoar

Speaking of the game world, Flying Wild Hog has designed an incredibly detailed dystopian landscape. The game world is full of flying cars, metallic streets, and technology overload that will encourage players to just explore the environment. The electrical devices and stationary vehicles littering the map are not merely present for show, though. Using these items to your advantage is critical to survival, especially against the more powerful enemies. The Electrical Destruction gameplay trailer illustrates the tactics that are a necessity to defeat robot foes.

In the three missions we were able to play, there were only four or five different enemy types but the animation was impressive. Most of our battles focused on knee-high robots that ran towards the player with either saws, helicopter blades, or bombs attached. These “grunt” enemies attack in large numbers and were tenacious in their pursuit. Pairs of larger bull-like charging enemies, which were significantly harder to kill, were featured as mini-bosses. All the melee robots were very fast and utilized proficient AI pathways to climb over most obstacles, making it very difficult to keep your distance while dismantling the onslaught.

Hard Reset Preview Robots

Flying Wild Hog has publicly stated that they wanted Hard Reset to bring the shooter genre back to its roots. The single boss battle included in the build did feel like a throwback to old school shooters, but for the wrong reasons. To defeat the boss, a large robot shooting plasma bolts and lasers, you only needed to shoot those parts of his body that were highlighted and then hide behind a pillar. Compared to some of the standard fights, this battle was a lot easier and more straightforward.

Hard Reset has a great team of programmers and artists behind it and have put together a visually appealing and fun to play shooter. If you want to blow up robots with cool guns, then this definitely is a title you’ll want to keep an eye on. The best part about Hard Reset? The game will be available for download directly from Steam at a reasonable $29.99 and if you pre-order, it’ll only cost you $26.99. Now that’s really OLD school.

Hard Reset is set to release exclusively for Windows XP/Vista/7 on September 13, 2011, via Steam. For more information regarding the minimum specs you’ll need, feel free to check out the game’s official website at HardResetGame.com.