Hard West: Scars of Freedom
Like any of the original campaigns, Scars of Freedom offers players a new experience without changing the core mechanics. Firstly, there are two main characters at once, traveling around the global map at different times and telling their stories. One is a runaway slave who, during an unsuccessful escape, broke all her bones and lost many vital organs. The other is a brilliant doctor who, in the manner of Victor Frankenstein, is fond of creating new life from corpses. He turns a dead slave into a living golem, which, according to the precepts of Mary Shelley, instantly creates a deadly conflict between the heroes.
Secondly, the game is significantly influenced by the physiology of golem characters, of which there are many in Scars of Freedom. Moving around the global map and performing actions, be it talking to people or shopping in a store, the golems begin to rot, and the longer the player delays in restoring the tissues of their organisms, the weaker his wards become.
This is where ether comes into play – a new additional in-game currency. While you still buy amulets, weapons, and potions with coins, Ether is used for more delicate transactions. For it, you can buy treatment for golems, as well as collect a collection of internal organs for them. Do you want characters to fight like crazy, never miss, or be bulletproof? Look for recipes for creepy anatomical combinations, and then buy organs from merchants and insert them into your golems. A bull’s liver, a third eye, a living spine and a host of other not-so-nice-looking components will definitely come in handy for your living dead to become killing machines. Moreover, this enhancement does not affect the standard sets of playing cards in any way – their effects continue to operate, it’s just that the cards themselves become noticeably smaller.
But having created a new mechanic with a completely insane and versatile development of each character, the authors did not stop there. Even in the plot itself, several dialogues slip through, the answers in which add certain characteristics to the heroes or take them away, because of which some of the characters may well quickly fall in battle and never reach the final.
There seems to be a lot of new stuff in Scars of Freedom. But if you remember that all these changes affect only the combat scenes, then it becomes sad – there are not many fights here, as before. The campaign has a total of five main encounters and two additional ones. On the medium difficulty level, you can still spend four hours on the passage, provided that there are no level restarts, but then everything ends.
And this is not the only problem. Before the release, a loading video was posted on the network, which was supposed to become both an advertisement for the add-on and its introductory part. However, in Scars of Freedom itself, for some reason, it is not there, and the player is literally thrown into the thick of the battle without really explaining anything. With the ending, it’s even worse – instead, the reviewer was waiting for a black screen with the ability to exit to the main menu. Three attempts to pass the blackness did not give anything, but Hard West does not favor autosave, and missions have to be completed exclusively from the beginning.
However, as a small and relatively inexpensive DLC Hard West: Scars of Freedom justifies itself. Even if there are no videos, but what is the plot, what the gameplay is still forced to take off your hat to the developers. The authors have taken turn-based tactics beyond the usual shelters and shooting, making an exciting role-playing game with a plot that is almost more interesting to follow than shooting at enemies. It turned out, maybe not great, but at least good.