Review: John Wick Hex (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC/Mac

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: John Wick Hex
Format: PSN (2.15 GB)
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Publisher: Good Shepherd Entertainment
Developer: Bithell Games
Original MSRP: $19.99 (USD)
ESRB Rating: M
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:

I have a confession to make- I had never watched a John Wick movie before I took his review. It was quickly remedied though, and by the time the credits rolled on the first film I was ready to tackle John’s universe. Now, do you need to be versed in the lore of the films? It helps. But some of my concerns about the game stem from the lack of things from the movie.

John Wick Hex takes place before the events of the first film, so it’s a prequel by nature. But there are characters from the first film in the prequel. The villain is completely new and never mentioned (I believe) in the movie. And as you can guess, he crossed Wick and is in trouble.

Another thing to know before jumping into the review proper is that John Wick Hex is a strategy game. It’s a non-traditional three-quarter perspective game that allows you to really get in the mind of Mr. Wick. It’s a wonderful take on the world, but some things don’t go as planned.

My main complaint about the game is one of its main selling points: the time bar. It allows you to see when and what actions will happen compared to your enemy or enemies that you’re facing. For me, it was difficult to grasp even during the initial training level, and I was never ever really grasping it. Your mileage may vary though, so please take that in account.

One thing it can affect is the combat, which was difficult. I had to learn early on what the enemy types generally do and what their set moves look like. But that leads into the beauty of the game. Knowing the enemy types allows you to plan your moves ahead of time. With brawlers, do you get up close and meet them blow by blow, or just shoot them? But then there’s gunners that shoot back, and are handled with care.

I had a situation where I had two brawlers and a gunner aiming for me. I hit a brawler, shot the gunner, and took care of the last brawler in a four move sequence straight out of the movie. Which is certainly a highlight of the game.

Visuals:

I wasn’t all that bothered by the visuals, but they might be a sticking point to consumers. It’s hard to call them cell-shaded, but they remind me of A Scanner Darkly. However, being in a mostly three-quarter perspective, it’s hard to tell.

One neat thing that was done is a replay mode that takes place in third-person perspective. While highly cinematic, it did leave me wanting more. I wish it was more cinematic and fluid like the movies.

The game runs very smooth and I had no visual hiccups of any kind.

Audio:

I wish this game had licensed music from fresh indie bands. It could be played during the mission replays, or at points where the action gets hairy. But the music is just so-so, it fits well and everything, I just expected more.

The voice acting is great though, with two actors from the movie returning to their roles (my lips are sealed). There is a huge voice actor in Troy Baker voicing the villain. Which was a nice surprise.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single-player only, with no online component.

Conclusion:

For a game based on a movie, John Wick Hex isn’t bad. There’s a lot of good to be had, and it’s based on a great set of movies. Having a huge aspect of the game being difficult was a little off-putting to me. I spent a good hour just replaying the time bar tutorial level, trying to make sense of it. Luckily, it’s easy to die.

It’s a good first try, and has some good bones. And there are certainly moments that make John Wick Hex shine. Like the battle I had, I was on the edge of my seat cheering up a storm. I recommend the game, but maybe wait for a rainy day.

Score:

7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Shawn Hiers

Shawn Hiers

Disabled gamer. Married Father of 5, and playing since the Atari days. I have a passion for all things Lego and an avid Toy Collector. I am also an huge Doctor Who Fan and can talk all things Who for hours 🙂

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