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Game review: John Wick Hex on PS4

13 May 2020

Superheroes have pretty much dominated Hollywood over the last couple of years, but there is one non comic book movie hero that has managed to stand out recently. That action hero is John Wick played by the very charismatic Keanu Reeves. 

Now that John Wick has three movies under its belt, the next step for the franchise is to make its own video game. The new video game is an interesting strategy title called John Wick Hex and it’s now being released for the PS4 after it came out on PC and Mac computers late last year. 

When people think of John Wick, they might usually think about fast paced action. That’s why it’s an interesting move that developer Bithell Games has decided to make John Wick Hex to be a strategy game instead. 

Personally, I would have preferred if John Wick Hex would have been a third-person action shooter similar to the likes of Max Payne or the underrated Stranglehold. Instead, what we have with Hex is an alternative version of XCOM and games like that. 

With XCOM, you usually have a squad of 4 members on your team while you have to take out many alien enemies. John Wick Hex is slightly different because John Wick has to take down human enemies all by himself!

Making John Wick the only playable character does make John Wick Hex slightly more difficult than other squad based strategy games. This is because John Wick has to kill every enemy by himself which is not very easy to do when you have all the bad guys starting to surround him in every corner. 

That being said, what I like most about John Wick Hex is the fact that the game is faster paced than other strategy games out there. John Wick has the ability to move around at all times and you don’t have to wait for enemies to move and attack either. 

You can pretty much move at every turn plus John Wick isn’t really limited to where he can go in each level. The only thing you have to watch out for is John Wick’s own field of vision. This is because some sections of the level are blacked out and these areas only open up until John Wick is able to reveal it. 

The fact that John Wick cannot see an entire level from the start makes this game very exciting and suspenseful to play. You really need to watch out for every door or corner that John Wick walks through because an enemy or two can surprise you at anytime! 

The game requires you to move at every turn because if you remain stationary, the enemy soldiers can overwhelm you and kill you easily. Standing still is the last thing you want to do in this game so it’s important to keep moving and dodging in order to avoid incoming gunfire from the enemies. 

John Wick himself has a lot of actions he can execute that keeps the game’s momentum fast and exciting. He can shoot two bullets in each turn, and he can also do hand-to-hand combat too if you want to preserve ammo. 

The one thing you have to watch out for is his ‘Focus’ meter at the bottom of the screen. This acts as his energy because the ‘Focus’ meter depletes every time you dodge roll or tackle down enemy goons. You will have to press a ‘Refocus’ button in order to replenish his Focus bar if you want to continue using hand-to-hand combat. 

After you are able to kill everyone in the vicinity, each level usually ends with a boss fight. Bosses are harder to kill because they can usually dodge bullets and they have a higher lifebar compared to their hired goons. You will need to think before you shoot whenever you face the bosses. 

When you complete a level, you can use the replay feature that makes your gameplay walkthrough look more cinematic. The replay feature is pretty fun to look at, although it’s only neat if you are good at playing the game. It looks odd when you use the replay feature if you are a bad player…

Graphically, there’s nothing too special about John Wick Hex. The game uses 2D style graphics and the levels are all very small and very linear. The linearity of the level isn’t a bad thing though because John Wick can always use the environment to try and run away from his enemies and vice versa. 

In terms of story, the game takes place before the events of the movies as John Wick has to save the characters of Winston and Charon from a new enemy called Hex. Sadly, Keanu Reeves doesn’t voice John Wick in this game, but thankfully the game developer was able to use his official likeness. 

Overall, John Wick Hex is an enjoyable strategy game although fans of the movie might have wanted another gaming genre. However, for a game that costs only $34.95 in New Zealand, it’s still a fun experience that will last you six to seven hours of gameplay time. 

Verdict: 7.0/10