How do you translate the gun-fu exploits of John Wick into a video game? On a hex-based grid, of course. We round up the critical response to the new action strategy game, John Wick Hex.
John Wick Hex is the latest release from Bithell Games, the studio led by Mike Bithell, creator of Volume and Thomas Was Alone. It’s also the studio’s most ambitious title yet.
And you can’t fault that ambition. The decision to transfer the popular action franchise into a timeline-based strategy game is certainly brave, but is it successful?
Well, reviews are mixed. For some critics, the approach – and resulting choreography – really works. For others, a variety of glitches and rough edges take the shine off John’s moves. Here’s our pick of the game’s reviews.
John Wick Hex: Review round-up
“John Wick Hex is a movie tie-in that doesn’t go for the lowest common denominator. What could easily have been a generic real-time action game works wonderfully in this form—converting the pace of the movie action into a very elegant illusion of it.”
80/100 – Review by Robert Zak
“Most of the time the absurdly glitchy animations make what should be a graceful ballet of gun-fu look like a battle between stiff, broken action figures. Even when the repetitive strike animations or the position-reliant takedown move work correctly, there’s a good chance the ragdoll animation of the dead body will cause a hand pointing a finger to rotate like a helicopter blade or a leg to jiggle uncontrollably. We see this kind of glitch occasionally in just about every game, but in John Wick Hex it’s almost constant.”
6.8 – Review by Dan Stapleton
“The time-management aspect is smartly designed, deconstructing the movies’ combat sequences into a series of quick decisions. Each stage is tightly designed and puts up a good challenge. A lot of thought has been put into devising the death traps for your Keanu-inspired avatar to navigate. Unfortunately, the game just isn’t as slick as the movies. You will die a lot in John Wick Hex, and success often comes down to trial and error”
Not scored – Review by Sam Byford
“A certain breed of games fan loves the possibilities of an “XCOM-like” game, but it’s been a while since a game ran with those inspirations somewhere truly refreshing and interesting. For that, John Wick Hex isn’t just a great game for fans of the series; it’s great for that picky niche of gamers who like “action” games built for stopping, breathing, and working out strategies.”
Not scored – Review by Sam Machkovech
“It’s a great idea on paper. Getting to watch that scene that I choreographed is the logical reward, but the execution is lacking. The cutscene plays out on the same hex-grid that gameplay does, so John’s movement is clunky instead of fluid. He ricochets down a hallway instead of walking in a straight line. His moveset is limited, so an extended fistfight is just John delivering the same punch over and over.”
Not scored – Review by Jeffrey Parkin
“New weapons and new enemies are fine, but it’s that timeline system that really makes things sing. Bosses are a bit of a drag and the plot is fairly skippable, but those second-to-second decisions retain their appeal, no matter how stuck I am, and no matter how many times I’ve plodded through the same level, walked the same alleyways or dockyards, the layout remaining the same while the enemy spawn points constantly shift.”
Recommended – Review by Christian Donlan
- Attack of the Fanboy – 4/5
- GameSpot – 8/10
- Mashable – Not scored
- Metro – Not scored
- Rock, Paper, Shotgun – Not scored
- US Gamer – 2.5/5
John Wick Hex is out now on PC and Mac OS. A console release is planned.
Title: John Wick Hex
Developer: Bithell Games
Publisher: Good Shepherd Entertainment
Release date: October 8, 2019
Platform: PC, Mac