Title: John Wick Hex
Developer: Bithell Games
Publisher: Good Shepherd Entertainment
Genre: Action, Strategy, 2.5D Isometric
Available On: PlayStation 4, Windows, macOS
Tested On: PlayStation 4
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Where to Buy: PlayStation Store, Epic Games Store
Action games take a fair amount of thought to create. While a movie may enthrall audiences, the game adaption usually falls short. Sometimes the opposite is true. John Wick became known to the criminal underworld as the ‘Baba Yaga’. Since the movie’s release, we have wondered how the skilled killer earned the name. That’s where this title comes in.
First and third-person shooters have been done time and again. Fans haven’t always loved what developers have released. But there are other ways to tell a story. In this 2.5D Isometric of the famed gunslinger, we see what actions led to the criminal underworld fearing John Wick.
John Wick Hex’s Stealth Tactics
The gameplay in John Wick Hex is reminiscent of old games such as Gladius. While the game is turn-based, it requires a fair amount of strategy to overcome. It has action elements built-in but remains a turn-based game at its core. It does contain a sprinkle of RTS elements as well, and some might consider it a “new age” version of Chess. John Wick moves around the map just like Agent 47 in Hitman Go. Regarding strategy, you’ll have to pay attention to your “timeline.” Both the player and the enemies have this. Each action takes a certain amount of time to execute. For example, let’s say I throw a gun at an enemy. If my time exceeds what is required for an enemy to shoot, I will likely take damage for it.
The henchmen are easy to take on if you have a good strategy and critical thinking. Don’t underestimate the benefits of crouching. This makes you harder to see, and you can tumble right behind an enemy. I found that if I timed it right, I could take out two enemies before they ever struck me. Sometimes it’s better to throw your gun or shoot before moving towards an opponent. This game of anticipating fits the game rather well and is as satisfying as I’d hope for.
Like most games, John Wick Hex pumps up the durability of the bosses. I was able to take out henchmen relatively easily in comparison. Where a proper strike or gunshot takes down an enemy, I had to get up close to strike the boss before shooting. Despite the turn-based nature of the game, I still found myself worried the boss would end me. Distance is very much not your friend, working in stark contrast to the nature of fighting regular enemies. It’s a good distinction and one that keeps players on their feet when a boss comes on screen.
Your ammo is severely limited. What ammo you do have in your gun is it. If you manage to close the distance with someone, you can thankfully take their gun and use it against their allies. Despite that, you’re limited to whatever the opponent hasn’t shot at you. During the mission selection screen, though, one can provide themselves some bandage and ammo drops. This can provide an additional boost when needed, alleviating the pain of running out of ammo.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
As audiences know, the majority of John Wick’s movies show the story from his perspective. In the game, however, we simply see the multitude of people he encounters. We also hear no dialogue during the events narrated by the game’s villain. Hex, as he is known, has gone rogue and has chosen to defy the High Table. And that first starts with kidnapping Winston and Charon. Who does the High Table send to retrieve them? None other than the gunslinger, John Wick. How future events play out from here depends on the player.
Despite the main character’s lack of dialogue, I love the writers for what was produced. It tells a somewhat effective story with a lack of dialogue It is a decent backstory for a character that uses the ‘gun-fu’ fighting style.
Let’s See That Again
Other games don’t typically provide replays for a level someone’s just passed. This title, however, allows an over-the-shoulder view of the level a player has just completed. This provides a fair amount of benefits. Using this feature, it’s possible to calculate a better strategy the second time around. It can also show who should be shot and who can be taken out quickly using the right sequence of actions.
Final Verdict: John Wick Hex is a prequel story to the current movie trilogy. We see the Baba Yaga establish himself as someone to be feared. Since the first movie was released, people always ask where he got his start. Despite some minor issues regarding ammo, this title proves to be very enjoyable in tactics and strategy. If you are fond of isometric action titles, this is the game for you. This isn’t really for the run and gun crowd though. You can find the game on the PlayStation Store and the Epic Games Store.
- Prequel to John Wick movies
- Easy controls
- Multiple routes to complete missions
- Limited ammo