A series of films about the hired killer John Wick not only returned Keanu Reeves to its former glory, but also gathered a decent box office, so the release of the game based on a successful franchise remained a matter of time. And John Wick Hex , dedicated to the release of the third film, at first glance looks a little like a purely commercial product designed to capitalize on the popularity of the original. Judge for yourself: instead of the classic third-person shooter in the spirit of Max Payne, we got an isometric version of Superhot rather , and even in a comic aesthetics. The authors from the British studio Bithell Games clearly did not look for

Jonathan Wick has already appeared in video games as an additional character on Payday 2 and the protagonist of the John Wick Chronicles VR project . But game designer Mike Bitell, developer of Thomas Was Alone and Subsurface Circular , wanted to create a full-fledged game about a hit man . And initially he decided that it would be best to convey John Wick’s fighting style through … strategy. To make it like in XCOM , but with only one character: a kind of turn-based tactics, where during the fight you need to count every blow.

Review of John Wick Hex. Mr. Wick forgot how to fight

Having proposed his idea, Bitell received not only development rights, but also a finished script for the third film that had not yet been released. He talked a lot with the director of the picture in order to better understand the character of the main character, and stuntmen from the film crew helped with the creation of the animation and even came up with several original movements that should have diversified the gameplay quite well. Actors from the main ensemble, as well as Troy Baker and Austin Wintori, author of the soundtracks Journey and The Banner Saga, joined the development .

But, presenting his project to publishers from Lionsgate , Bitell received not the most positive reviews. They did not like the turn-based system itself, which did not convey the dynamics of the franchise. During his move, John actually stood still and freely shot enemies, and in the course of the enemy he simply received damage and could neither dodge nor counterattack. You must admit that all this is a little like the cinema Babu Yaga!

After listening to criticism, Mike returned to the studio and began to radically remake the battle. This time, he took as a basis an alloy of turn-based tactics and real-time gameplay, where the player and enemies moved simultaneously. It was in this form that the project was released.

In the game, we have to fight in the style of the cinematic John Wick: to constantly move and not only shoot from the firearm, but also use oriental martial arts. At the heart of the combat system, as in the original idea of ​​Bitell, is a step-by-step tactic – however, it is already more dynamic. A timeline tape always looms over the battlefield, on which all actions performed by you or opponents are recorded. In each turn, you can choose only one action: step, shot, evasion, combat, or reload. Any of them “costs” an nth number of seconds, and points of collectedness (in fact, endurance) also go to physical struggle.

All texts in the game are typed in such a small and sparse font that it is difficult to make out without glasses. And layout doesn’t help: in some places the lines go apart, then go one on top of the other. And the latter is the merit of exclusively Russian localization: there are no such artifacts in the original

All texts in the game are typed in such a small and sparse font that it is difficult to make out without glasses. And layout doesn’t help: in some places the lines go apart, then go one on top of the other. And the latter is the merit of exclusively Russian localization: there are no such artifacts in the original

Due to the fact that each technique has its own duration, marked by a bar on the timeline, you can figure out in advance how long the selected attack will take, if John can dodge the enemy bullet, insert a new clip into the gun, and so on. With the end of the course, the entire staged fragment of the battle is played “live”, and in the next step, the game freezes again, and we choose further actions.

In addition to John’s health and stock of ammunition, you need to monitor how much the hero has collected points. They are spent on everything except shooting and moving. Each activity needs a different number of points, so it is important to distribute this resource wisely – otherwise Wick will run out of steam. Recovering is not so difficult: you just have to go to a safe place and press the appropriate button. Another thing is that as such safe places pass, there will be less and less.

The levels in the game are linear, so John just needs to go through each location and try not to die along the way. All of them are filled with enemies of several types at once: melee masters alternate with mercenaries who carry a firearm with them.

At the same time, it won’t be possible to leave quietly – some opponents are sitting in the “fog of war” and can wait anywhere. Sneaking up on, say, an enemy from the back, everything is going fine, and then you take the last step close to the enemy … and suddenly a pair of his accomplices are suddenly found nearby, which instantly breaks the tactics conceived beforehand. In addition, Hex regularly throws the player in situations where there are many more enemies than ammo in the clip. You have to use all available melee tricks in a circle and get away from shots on time.

An attempt to silently neutralize failed …

Keeping track of the timeline is not only important in order to plan the perfect attack. The actions of the enemies, also noted there, make their own adjustments. For example, there are situations when at the beginning of the turn the enemy has already taken aim and is ready to pull the trigger, and you do not have a precious second to hide around the corner or shoot in response. But throwing a pistol, when compared in timeline, is still faster than an attack by a mercenary – and this is the only salvation. A stunned opponent will lose a few seconds, giving you a head start to maneuver. And do not be afraid to throw weapons: a new gun can always be (and must) be raised from any killed enemy.

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