Hard West 2 – Turn-based Wild West meets Horror

I was talking to Patola about some issues I have with games from the publisher PlayWay S.A, they are fun simulators but always lack some polishing, but his experience was different, and he listed some games I should take a look, there he mentioned the game Hard West, that for me has Good Shepherd Entertainment as publisher. Acquisitions and merges aside, Patola recommended me good turn-based strategy in the past, so I decided to give Hard West 2 demo a try.

Update: I got the game during Steam Winter Sale and have been enjoying it a lot.
If you intend to buy Hard West 2, I suggest you to play the demo first to make sure you like it, and to unlock a thank-you weapon from the dev team.
EDIT: Sadly, Good Shepherd Entertainment removed the demo from the Steam store, and from their Discord there is no plan to have it back online.

At the store page I thought Hard West 2 was some XCOM wild west, because of what Steam says why it will be relevant to me. Well, let me assure you, it is not XCOM, but the game has a set of unique mechanics that makes the game stand on its own.

“Bravado”, for me, is what sets it apart to everything else by defining the speed of the game. Your Action Points per turn are quite limited, only 3. You use 2 or 3 points to shoot most guns. But if you finish an enemy you trigger “bravado” with a cinematic kill, and it resets your action points, allowing you to do some stunts and clear some maps in a round or cover a lot of ground in bigger maps by matching your team move while clearing the enemies. Making the game feel dynamic and fast-paced.

I am not a big fan of too much RNG in strategy games, but in Hard West 2 it is simple and manageable. With the right gun, there are objects in the scenario you can use to ricochet your bullets and shoot the enemy from a better angle. Also, some mechanics help you build “luck” that you can spend to improve your hit chance.

You have a set of characters, each with its own stats and skills. You can equip them with things you find or buy. Progression happens in two ways. One is with a friendship system with the main dude, over the game there are interactions where you select one of your posse to show appreciation or ask for advice. The second is by building a poker hand. While you play, you will find cards, each gives a small stats boost, but if you make a combo, you increase the level of the character. A pair is one level, two pairs two levels, all the way to the royal straight flush.

Update: You can also make a hand “five of a kind” by unlocking the Jokers in later chapters.
You explore the world map between battles to find items, trigger events, side quests and progress the story.

I don’t think I could guess right away the name of the game from a screenshot, but I think it is finding its identity. The maps are well detailed, from the world building to animations when you kill enemies in different ways. The first map was a great hook, from the top of your horses you board a moving train to steal its cargo. The story fells like an old west outlaw, but soon it meets occult horror.

Turn-based tactical combat with a moving train and horses.

Hard West 2 was released on Steam on August 04 2022. And the demo runs well with Proton GE or Experimental.

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For anyone wondering if these “bonus” mechanics of the game (bravado, luck accumulation, friendship actions, etc.) don’t get too complicated to the point that they will not be used often, or get too convoluted to be practical. They don’t. The thing is, in a turn-based game, you don’t rely on your reflexes for the combat, and you often get cornered or flanked, become outnumbered, or find yourself in a bad situation, and need something to be usable as a “superpower” or “ability” and these mechanics are integral for it, specially because they are either opportunistic approaches that do not always… Read more »