John Wick Hex (PC) looks arent everything
The video game version of John Wick is not at all what youd expect, but it might just be the best movie adaptation of the generation.
If we told you there was a new game out based on John Wick and asked you to imagine what it was like, we think most people would describe some sort of third person shooter similar to Max Payne or maybe a more action-oriented Hitman. Thats certainly what we expected when we first heard about John Wick Hex, but its absolutely nothing like that. In actual fact its a turn-based strategy game with terrible graphics and one of the best games weve played all year.
John Wick Hex is the creation of British indie developer Mike Bithell, whos best known for experimental puzzle platformer Thomas Was Alone and the almost equally abstract Metal Gear-inspired Volume. Its hard to think of anyone less obvious to make a game about John Wick, but as he explained to us when we met him in June, the games division of film company Lionsgate were specifically looking for a developer to create something unusual and daring. And they certainly got that.
Before you ask, unlike Cyberpunk 2077, Keanu Reeves is not in the game and the in-game character barely looks anything like him. Ian McShane (Winston) and Lance Reddick (Charon, the concierge), do provide voiceovers though, with the story framed in flashback as theyre held captive to a new villain called Hex. Thankfully, the game doesnt delve too much into the film series silly lore though and instead focuses on its renowned fight choreography.
Bithell may not have been able to involve Keanu Reeves but he did work extensively with the movies director and fight team, and despite what you might think when you hear the phrase turn-based strategy this is an impressively accurate recreation of how the fights work in the films. Bithells initial idea was to make something along the lines of XCOM but when someone at Lionsgate pointed out that John Hex doesnt take turns an entirely new concept was devised where the whole game is broken down into steps that take a few tenths of a second each.
Technically the game isnt turn-based at all, as everything happens at the same time, as indicated by a timeline at the top of the screen that looks and works similar to the sort of thing you might see in video editing software. The game doesnt feature hexes either, or at least not in the traditional strategy sense, as instead a pattern of dots, reminiscent of Chinese chequers (which weve just found out is actually German), is overlaid on the top-down view of your surroundings.
You move by stepping from one point to another, the time taken to do so indicated on the timeline. Anything else you do is also shown, from picking up a weapon to firing your gun, and the same is true for any visible enemies so that you can see what theyre about to do as soon as they commit to the action. What follows is a glorious ballet of death, as you time your moves, including dodges, parries, and reloads, so that youre always in the right place at the right time to kill your enemies and avoid injury yourself.
Theres a thick fog of war that hangs over every map, so you cant see anything unless its in your direct line of sight, and so cover is more important in terms of you staying out of an enemys eyeline than it is providing any protection to you. You have a focus bar, that is used up by dodging or more advanced melee combat, and that can only be replenished by pausing for a moment to reorientation yourself which, along with applying a bandage or reloading, wastes precious seconds.
Despite what you might fear none of this is very difficult to get the hang of and if anything the first hour or so seems worryingly easy. But then the game starts to take things seriously and you find yourself having to consider every single action with the upmost care. Although theres no mechanical similarity, John Wick Hex is reminiscent of Into The Breach in that every move counts and no matter how well youre doing a single mistake can mean almost instant failure.
By the time the game starts to get really hard youre absolutely sold on the whole idea and rather than other strategy games we ended up comparing it to the likes of Bayonetta or Devil May Cry, in terms of the balletic action youre orchestrating. With very few random elements you know that every time you lose its entirely your fault and almost always because youre not paying proper attention to the timeline.
Although we often found thats not because we forgot about it, so much as we were so caught up in the action we were taking moves too quickly, with the pace and urgency of an action game even though you can sit there all day and ponder your next move if you really want to. We never did that, but we did learn to appreciate the challenge so much that we actively enjoyed being low on health and trying to complete a level without ever being hit (there are no saves mid-game).
John Wick Hex is a fantastically enjoyable and impressively original game, but its not without its faults. Although most of those are limited to its, frankly terrible, presentation. The graphics are awful, not only in terms of detail and animation, but in the way they can make it difficult to understand whats going on as you try to zoom in and rotate the camera to work out where everyone is and what theyre doing.
And while new enemy types and weapons are introduced as the game goes on, and theres a small number of buffs you can buy between missions, the gameplay doesnt really evolve that much over the course of the story. There are no civilians in locations such as a nightclub, that clearly had them in the films, and its never clear whether sound is important. But these are minor niggles and a side effect of the obviously low budget. And even then the game still manages a few neat touches, such as the rain effects and the distant ping of a metal detector as an unseen enemy moves through it.
If this was a big budget game no doubt the graphics would have been vastly superior but theres no way anyone would have risked all that money on such an odd idea. But that risk has certainly paid off with John Wick Hex, which is not only one of the best movie tie-ins weve ever played but one of the most original and enjoyable strategy games of the generation.
In Short: One of the best movie adaptations of all time and an impressively original strategy game that manages to rival even the best action titles in terms of tension and adrenaline rush.
Pros: Fantastically original gameplay that also manages to replicate the action of John Wick extremely accurately. Very accessible, even for strategy novices, and yet highly flexible combat.
Cons: Ultra low-tech presentation can sometimes make it difficult to work out whats going and looks terrible in terms of the visuals. Gameplay doesnt evolve much as it continues.
Formats: PCPrice: 15.99Publisher: Good Shepherd EntertainmentDeveloper: BithellRelease Date: 8th October 2019Age Rating: 16
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a comment below, and follow us on Twitter
MORE: John Wick Hex preview and interview they wanted someone who could come in and do something odd
MORE: Into The Breach review once more, dear friends
MORE: Warsaw game review roguelike uprising
Go here to read the rest:
John Wick Hex review the definitive Keanu Reeves simulator - Metro.co.uk
- Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince Review: Laughs, puzzles and beauty - the AU review - October 17th, 2019
- Game Over: These Monkeys Just Crushed Humans on a Computer Game - Livescience.com - October 17th, 2019
- The Creepiest Haunted Attractions Around Pittsburgh - Thrillist - October 17th, 2019
- Games Inbox: What would you want from The Witcher 4? - Metro.co.uk - October 17th, 2019
- Experience thrills and chills with friends inside the world's only 'Evil Dead 2' escape room - KING5.com - October 16th, 2019
- 250 Million People Couldn't Play Fortnite for 2 Days. Here's Why Everyone Is Talking About It - Inc. - October 16th, 2019
- The Aki midfield puzzle, Sexton's double omen and restrained quarter-final expectation as Ireland head to Tokyo - RugbyPass - October 16th, 2019
- LPU standing in way of San Beda's automatic advance to NCAA 95 Finals - ABS-CBN Sports - October 16th, 2019
- I Fall Asleep To Puzzle Games And For Some Reason I Am Not Better At Puzzles - Kotaku - October 15th, 2019
- Experience The Unique Puzzle VR Game The Stars Between Us - VR And Fun - October 15th, 2019
- Holder of the Contents - The New York Times - October 15th, 2019
- Felix The Reaper Is A Tender Puzzle Game About Gruesome Deaths - Kotaku - October 15th, 2019
- Klose is convinced City will survive in the Premier League - PinkUn - October 15th, 2019
- Night of the Indigenous Devs - Two Row Times - October 15th, 2019
- OpenAIs AI-powered robot learned how to solve a Rubiks cube one-handed - The Verge - October 15th, 2019
- DARQ takes its creepy nightmare world and puzzles to Switch - Nintendo Enthusiast - October 14th, 2019
- 2 St. Clair County women to appear on Wheel of Fortune - The Times Herald - October 14th, 2019
- Can You Escape The Enemy Submarines? - FiveThirtyEight - October 14th, 2019
- Apple Arcade: New games this week - Polygon - October 14th, 2019
- College football best of Week 7 -- scores, Top 25 games, analysis and highlights - ESPN Australia - October 13th, 2019
- Apple Arcade: 'Dear Reader' Review - A Word Puzzle Game for Any and Everyone - Touch Arcade - October 12th, 2019
- Why the Dodger blues? Blame greed, fickle fans and hindsight heroes - Los Angeles Times - October 12th, 2019
- Not every Ubisoft game needs to be a Ubisoft game - PC Gamer - October 12th, 2019
- Outer Wilds walkthrough and planet guides - Polygon - October 12th, 2019
- IndieCade gaming fest features a radical idea: We need to be nicer - Los Angeles Times - October 11th, 2019
- When And Where To Watch Fortnites Big Season-Ending Event And What To Expect - Forbes - October 11th, 2019
- Heres Everything Coming In The Division 2s Huge Episode 2 Pentagon Expansion - Forbes - October 11th, 2019
- Concrete Genie review: a heartwarming game with lots of magical painting - The Verge - October 11th, 2019
- Wallabies seek to piece together chaotic World Cup puzzle against Georgia - The Guardian - October 11th, 2019
- Pride of St. Vincent Ready To Make Bigger Impact - BC Lions - October 11th, 2019
- Sabres look to get back to their game against Montreal - WBEN - October 11th, 2019
- The Bradwell Conspiracy review: You can unravel this one in an afternoon - PCWorld - October 11th, 2019
- Three Of The Best Lara Croft Spin-Off Games, From Puzzles To Slots - Android Headlines - October 10th, 2019
- Games and Puzzles Market is expected to expand at an impressive rate by 2025 with leading player's DoubleClick, dataxu, Choozle, Rocket Fuel, Rubicon... - October 10th, 2019
- Region 9 soccer: Crowning the champs, Region 9's playoff sleeper, and the 4A bracket - The Spectrum - October 10th, 2019
- Key pieces to the puzzle - NHL.com - October 9th, 2019
- Puzzle game Day and Night releases this month on Nintendo Switch - Shacknews - October 9th, 2019
- Games Inbox: What game has the best graphics of the generation? - Metro.co.uk - October 9th, 2019
- PlayStation VR Celebrates Third Anniversary October 13 - PlayStation.Blog - October 9th, 2019
- Can you solve it? Getting coins out of the bank - The Guardian - October 7th, 2019
- Why God Of War is my game of the generation - Readers Feature - Metro.co.uk - October 7th, 2019
- The 30 best video games of the decade, ranked - CNET - October 7th, 2019
- Did you solve it? Getting coins out of the bank - The Guardian - October 7th, 2019
- Variant 31 review immersive zombie caper is more theme park than theatre - The Guardian - October 7th, 2019
- This pop-up Halloween adventure in a South Philly church building has dancing zombies, phantom phone booths, a - The Philadelphia Inquirer - October 7th, 2019
- Whos the Fairest of Them All? - The New York Times - October 6th, 2019
- Destiny 2 Shadowkeep Players Are Solving A Huge Puzzle That's Not Even In The Game - GameSpot - October 5th, 2019
- How to Easily Find & Play the Newest Mystery Games for Mobile - The African Exponent - October 5th, 2019
- Can the Rays' '25-piece puzzle' solve the Astros? - Tampa Bay Times - October 5th, 2019
- Who Wants To Be A Riddler Millionaire? - FiveThirtyEight - October 5th, 2019
- The Viral Video Game Where You Play a Horrible Goose - The Atlantic - October 5th, 2019
- Quirky 60-second puzzle adventure Minit is currently free on the Epic Store - Eurogamer.net - October 5th, 2019
- Puzzle game We Were Here Too is available now on Xbox One - googame.net - October 5th, 2019
- Kakuro is Slowly Becoming the Most Played Puzzle Game Among People - One World Herald - October 5th, 2019
- Death Stranding: will Hideo Kojimas mystery project redefine gaming? - The Guardian - October 5th, 2019
- Callum Hawkins relying on shedloads of preparation for Doha marathon - The Guardian - October 5th, 2019
- What the Golf? review - PC Gamer - October 4th, 2019
- 'Unlawful and vicious': union organiser sacked by games company - The Guardian - October 4th, 2019
- Games And Puzzles Market Competitive Insights and Precise Outlook 2019-2025 - Markets Gazette - October 4th, 2019
- Wetmore: 4 questions the Twins will have to answer to pick the ALDS roster - SKOR North - October 4th, 2019
- How Radiohead shaped Apple Arcade's must-play 'Where Cards Fall' - Los Angeles Times - October 2nd, 2019
- State of the Sox: Shortstop - NBCSports.com - October 2nd, 2019
- The Fire of Ardor - A Puzzle and an End Boss - GameDev.net - October 1st, 2019
- Solve The Puzzles That Bring Your Band Together In KINE - GameTyrant - October 1st, 2019
- The Puzzle Adventure Game Arise: A Simple Story Heads To The Epic Games Store In December - Happy Gamer - October 1st, 2019
- Doctor Whos Weeping Angels make terrifying return in immersive video game The Edge of Time - The Sun - October 1st, 2019
- There's murky mysteries aplenty in Doctor Who: The Edge of Time - Eurogamer.net - October 1st, 2019
- How Gears of War changed to become Xbox Game Pass biggest launch - Polygon - September 30th, 2019
- Which Baseball Team Will Win The Riddler Fall Classic? - FiveThirtyEight - September 29th, 2019
- The Sojourn Review - TheXboxHub - September 29th, 2019
- Try your hand at the third annual Lederhosen Games! - WXOW.com - September 28th, 2019
- Tidy - The New York Times - September 28th, 2019
- Survivor: Island of the Idols: Ronnie Bardah Goes From Big Blind to Blindsided - Parade - September 27th, 2019
- A Childhood Obsession Led To This New Atlantis-Themed DTLA Escape Room - LAist - September 27th, 2019
- The 10 Best Xbox Puzzle Games You Should Be Playing Right Now - TheGamer - September 27th, 2019
- Review: The Sojourn is a beautiful and truly challenging puzzle game - FemaleFirst.co.uk - September 27th, 2019
- Chewing It Over - Puzzle Design in The Meating - Gamasutra - September 27th, 2019
- The Nintendo Switch Lite Beats Apple Arcade In The Mobile Gaming Wars - Forbes - September 27th, 2019
- Untitled Goose Game The Garden to do list guide - Polygon - September 27th, 2019
- NYC Restaurant-Themed Escape Room Opens in Long Island City - Eater NY - September 27th, 2019