John Wick is an orchestrator of death. He makes efficient use of the tools and space around him in combat, subtly flowing between enemies and intelligently extracting them. John Wick Hex effortlessly reproduces the smooth violence of the films so you can embody the dreaded assassin in combat scenarios that are both challenging and satisfying to overcome. It also provides a brief introduction to traditional turn-based actions so you can think and act like the elusive Baba Yaga while looking just as refined and controlled as him. That is ours John Wick Hex Review.
John Wick Hex Review: About
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows, Mac OS
- Developer: Mike Bithell, Bithell Games
- Publisher: Good Shepherd Entertainment
- Genres: Turn-based strategy, action game
- Release date: October 8, 2019
John Wick Hex Review: Official Trailer Video
John Wick Hex Review: Gameplay
At the heart of John Wick Hex is an overhead timeline that records actions taken by both you and enemies. Each step takes a specific amount of time, which is clearly shown in the timeline, to give you a clear idea of when to take a photo or when to avoid an incoming photo, for example. After each turn, the action you selected will be played in real time and only paused when a new enemy enters your line of sight or when you take damage to adjust accordingly.
You always know how the action will play out when it moves again, so you can plan and position yourself for your next move. However, the choices you make in combat are essential. Sometimes an enemy is faster than you, forcing you to choose between a possible hit or throwing your weapon to stun them in time. This has its own consequences. If the enemy is too far away, now you have disarmed yourself with too much ground to protect it from near destruction, or you are prone to the surprise of another enemy.
Each round is a new step in a moving puzzle that rewards careful consideration of positioning, lines of sight, and resource management with a graceful flow of murder. Health aside, consider both ammo and a tool called focus. John Wick is superb with a gun, however Hex Limits the number of bullets you can carry at the same time to force you to experiment with new weapons. Knowing how many shots you have in the magazine for a fight can help you manage how many enemies you think you can send before you have to find a new one.
This, in turn, helps you get from one kill to the next efficiently, where you’ll collect dropped firearms. It’s a satisfying balance; I had to constantly adjust to the rate of fire and effective range of new weapons, which in turn changed the way I continued or withdrew from combat. The focus controls most of your actions outside of basic movement and shooting. Everything from instantly disabling melee combat to reloading your weapon requires multiple focus points, making it the backbone of most of your available repertoire.
While it can be refilled quickly enough, it is difficult to find a place in a fight without taking too much damage. This encourages you to bite off as much as you can and chew on your enemies to avoid getting overwhelmed. Your successes and failures are crucial, but how well you handle both ammunition and your resource allocation. Hex focuses less on hit rates and random throws and more on the decisions you make and your ability to predict how things will go.
Levels are designed to challenge your understanding of movement and the risks involved, and lead you into long, narrow corridors full of doors that enemies can grow through at any time. Lines of sight are hidden so you can guess who’s around the corner. A reckless throw can put you in the line of fire of a group of previously hidden enemies. Every step you take to the exit of each level should be calculated taking into account the sharp corners of the doors and the benefits of elevating ceiling balconies.
When you take a step with this balancing act, John Wick Hex feels like he’s moving in almost real time. Your decisions will feel instinctive, with movements playing like you need a ticking clock. Hex is tuned to make you feel like you’re always one step ahead. Since you have to react to new enemies for a few seconds before they move, you often feel like your reaction times are only a fraction of a second – as long as you think carefully. But it’s just as brutal when you’re too naughty. If you don’t learn how to break lines of sight while moving, you will quickly find that your timeline is overwhelmed by enemy action that you cannot quite address.
Hex is a power fantasy with the lowest possible chance of winning to your advantage, but it’s also a game where you are supposed to understand the fine margins John Wick uses in every fight. Given these dynamic and compelling battles in the middle, it’s disappointing that the original John Wick Hex story doesn’t come up to the same standard. It takes place long before the events of the first film – when John was the most dangerous weapon the High Table had in its service, and before he ever met his wife – with John looking for series loyal to Winston and Charon, the by Ian McShane and Lance Reddick respectively.
While the story gives the game a reason to jump from one place to another, it never takes advantage of the intriguing layer of knowledge that lies above the high-octane action from the films. You won’t learn anything new about the High Table or its rundown, mysterious continental hotels, let alone John’s days, until you give up his hitman lifestyle in search of something more relaxed. Hex’s revenge story also doesn’t leave an interesting backstory or lasting impression on the franchise, so the story by and large feels pointless.
It’s a disappointing thread that ties the extraordinary gameplay together and captures the feel of John Wick in a strategic and pulsating formula. John Wick Hex Review features turn-based gameplay at a pace you’ve probably never experienced before. It balances the systems out in complex ways so that you feel like a seasoned killer and at the same time feel deserved. It’s a chic and well-oiled game that allows you to experience John Wick and his signature chaotic action in a new, exciting way.
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John Wick Hex effortlessly reproduces the smooth violence of the films so you can embody the dreaded assassin in combat scenarios that are both challenging and satisfying to conquer.