John Wick Hex review – the definitive Keanu Reeves simulator


The online game model of John Wick is under no circumstances what you’d count on, nevertheless it would possibly simply be the most effective film adaptation of the technology.

If we advised you there was a brand new sport out primarily based on John Wick and requested you to think about what it was like, we expect most individuals would describe some form of third individual shooter just like Max Payne or possibly a extra action-oriented Hitman. That’s definitely what we anticipated after we first heard about John Wick Hex, nevertheless it’s completely nothing like that. In precise reality it’s a turn-based technique sport with horrible graphics… and the most effective video games we’ve performed all yr.

John Wick Hex is the creation of British indie developer Mike Bithell, who’s greatest recognized for experimental puzzle platformer Thomas Was Alone and the just about equally summary Metallic Gear-inspired Quantity. It’s laborious to consider anybody much less apparent to make a sport about John Wick, however as he defined to us after we met him in June, the video games division of movie firm Lionsgate had been particularly on the lookout for a developer to create one thing uncommon and daring. And so they definitely acquired that.

Earlier than you ask, not like Cyberpunk 2077, Keanu Reeves will not be within the sport and the in-game character barely appears to be like something like him. Ian McShane (Winston) and Lance Reddick (Charon, the concierge), do present voiceovers although, with the story framed in flashback as they’re held captive to a brand new villain known as Hex. Fortunately, the sport doesn’t delve an excessive amount of into the movie sequence’ foolish lore although and as an alternative focuses on its famend battle choreography.

Bithell could not have been capable of contain Keanu Reeves however he did work extensively with the films’ director and battle workforce, and regardless of what you would possibly suppose whenever you hear the phrase ‘turn-based strategy’ that is an impressively correct recreation of how the fights work within the movies. Bithell’s preliminary concept was to make one thing alongside the traces of XCOM however when somebody at Lionsgate identified that John Hex doesn’t take turns a wholly new idea was devised the place the entire sport is damaged down into steps that take just a few tenths of a second every.

Technically the sport isn’t turn-based in any respect, as all the pieces occurs on the similar time, as indicated by a timeline on the high of the display that appears and works just like the form of factor you would possibly see in video modifying software program. The sport doesn’t function hexes both, or a minimum of not within the conventional technique sense, as as an alternative a sample of dots, harking back to Chinese language chequers (which we’ve simply came upon is definitely German), is overlaid on the top-down view of your environment.

You progress by stepping from one level to a different, the time taken to take action indicated on the timeline. The rest you do can be proven, from selecting up a weapon to firing your gun, and the identical is true for any seen enemies – so to see what they’re about to do as quickly as they decide to the motion. What follows is an excellent ballet of dying, as you time your strikes, together with dodges, parries, and reloads, so that you just’re at all times in the correct place on the proper time to kill your enemies and keep away from damage your self.

There’s a thick fog of struggle that hangs over each map, so you’ll be able to’t see something except it’s in your direct line of sight, and so cowl is extra essential when it comes to you staying out of an enemy’s eyeline than it’s offering any safety to you. You have got a spotlight bar, that’s used up by dodging or extra superior melee fight, and that may solely be replenished by pausing for a second to reorientation your self – which, together with making use of a bandage or reloading, wastes valuable seconds.

Regardless of what you would possibly worry none of that is very tough to get the dangle of and if something the primary hour or so appears worryingly straightforward. However then the sport begins to take issues critically and you end up having to think about each single motion with the upmost care. Though there’s no mechanical similarity, John Wick Hex is harking back to Into The Breach in that each transfer counts and irrespective of how effectively you’re doing a single mistake can imply virtually on the spot failure.

By the point the sport begins to get actually laborious you’re completely offered on the entire concept and reasonably than different technique video games we ended up evaluating it to the likes of Bayonetta or Satan Might Cry, when it comes to the balletic motion you’re orchestrating. With only a few random parts you recognize that each time you lose it’s completely your fault and virtually at all times since you’re not paying correct consideration to the timeline.

Though we regularly discovered that’s not as a result of we forgot about it, a lot as we had been so caught up within the motion we had been taking strikes too rapidly, with the tempo and urgency of an motion sport – though you’ll be able to sit there all day and ponder your subsequent transfer if you happen to actually need to. We by no means did that, however we did be taught to understand the problem a lot that we actively loved being low on well being and making an attempt to finish a degree with out ever being hit (there are not any saves mid-game).

John Wick Hex is a fantastically pleasant and impressively unique sport, nevertheless it’s not with out its faults. Though most of these are restricted to its, frankly horrible, presentation. The graphics are terrible, not solely when it comes to element and animation, however in the way in which they’ll make it obscure what’s happening as you attempt to zoom in and rotate the digicam to work out the place everyone seems to be and what they’re doing.

And whereas new enemy sorts and weapons are launched as the sport goes on, and there’s a small variety of buffs you should buy between missions, the gameplay doesn’t actually evolve that a lot over the course of the story. There are not any civilians in areas similar to a nightclub, that clearly had them within the movies, and it’s by no means clear whether or not sound is essential. However these are minor niggles and a facet impact of the clearly low price range. And even then the sport nonetheless manages just a few neat touches, such because the rain results and the distant ping of a steel detector as an unseen enemy strikes by way of it.

If this was a giant price range sport little question the graphics would have been vastly superior however there’s no approach anybody would have risked all that cash on such an odd concept. However that danger has definitely paid off with John Wick Hex, which isn’t solely the most effective film tie-ins we’ve ever performed however probably the most unique and pleasant technique video games of the technology.

John Wick Hex assessment abstract

In Brief: Among the best film diversifications of all time and an impressively unique technique sport that manages to rival even the most effective motion titles when it comes to rigidity and adrenaline rush.

Execs: Fantastically unique gameplay that additionally manages to copy the motion of John Wick extraordinarily precisely. Very accessible, even for technique novices, and but extremely versatile fight.

Cons: Extremely low-tech presentation can generally make it tough to work out what’s going and appears horrible when it comes to the visuals. Gameplay doesn’t evolve a lot because it continues.

Rating: 9/10

Codecs: PC

Worth: £15.99

Writer: Good Shepherd Leisure

Developer: Bithell

Launch Date: eighth October 2019

Age Ranking: 16

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