March 27, 2020

I adore this game's presentation and theme, one of my favorite tabletop RPGs is Deadlands and
this is so close to that setting I'm genuinely amazed that whoever owns the rights to it hasn't
sued. I'm a sucker for NuCOM gunplay, and I dislike its reliance on RNG in ways that're very

This makes Hard West seem like a home run!

It's not!

There's a bunch of ideas that are all individually good ways to reduce NuCOM's overwatch crawl
meta. Removing your ability to Overwatch and making it a permanent ability affixed to enemies,
where they'll shoot if you go within a certain distance of them, is a very blunt way of enforcing it,
but it could be neat. It makes firefights a lot slower, with enemies punishing relocation and going
for flanks very heavily. They also have a very interesting way of handling hit percentage, where
despite its presentation including a % sign, is entirely deterministic - every character has a pool
of Luck, and when a shot misses, its hit percentage is subtracted from the Luck pool. When their
Luck is lower than the chance to hit, it hits, and instead Luck is added. Characters get abilities
that consume Luck to gain benefits, giving an intriguing risk/reward element. This also makes
firefights longer, with a lot of hits pinging off and whittling away at an entrenched enemy before
their luck runs out. On top of this, cover has damage reduction - different weapons get different
amounts of damage reduced by cover, with half cover and full cover offering different DR as well
as lowering chance to hit. This, also, makes firefights longer, as less damage is done.

On their own, any one of these would work well - but the enemy always overwatching
discourages getting close, the Luck mechanic discourages trying to go for a far away clutch
shot, and cover DR makes potshots protracted as well. There's more, with map design often
playing into these issues with firefights, weird objectives complicating matters for the worse, and
several plot beats feel overly grimdark. I lost interest in the gameplay after about four or five
hours and gave up on the story after about ten hours, and I don't ever really see myself coming
back. I really, really wish this game was better than it was.