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Tactical Combat Realized: John Wick: Hex Review

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John Wick: Hex Logo

The John Wick series of action movies is famous for its dynamic, believable, and ridiculous, action scenes. John Wick: Hex is the videogame inspired by the movies, and takes a daring tactical approach to the series. But does it hold up in the face of the high standard of the movies?

Platforms: Nintendo Switch [Reviewed], PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Steam
Developer: Bithell Games
Release: October 8, 2019
MSRP: $19.99

Press Copy provided by Bithell Games

John Wick: Hex, to summarize, is flawed but has its perks. The sound design is stellar, and everything is clearly labeled to make every move distinct and aesthetically pleasing. Visually, the game suffers from displaying the same few colors, but since these colors serve to display visual information to the player, this is understandable.

John Wick: Hex Combat

Most of the story in John Wick: Hex takes the form of dialogue over the gameplay, provided by the actual John Wick actors. Many of the most beloved characters from John Wick make an appearance in the story. This game has a highly prestigious cast and makes the experience significantly better by its inclusion.

With these things stated, it is worth mentioning that John Wick: Hex is, fundamentally, a tactical game with the player filling the shoes of a single man. It is okay to take such a revolutionary approach, and even better to add many flexible options to the game. For instance, One can throw their gun, attack in melee combat, and parry blows, all the while taking shots from other enemies. This is a dynamic system, but with the AI being as it is, and the bosses essentially being bullet sponges, it removes some of the novelty of such an interesting approach.

You will find yourself ducking behind cover, reloading on the fly, and otherwise making decisions every second of every turn. The key to this game is paying attention to the time at the top of your screen. This is, essentially, the turn order of the game, and your decisions take different times depending on what you choose to do. In addition to this, the loot and RPG mechanics flesh out the game to make it a thoroughly pleasant experience gameplay-wise.

John Wick: Hex Levels

John Wick: Hex, however, is not a perfect game. On the Switch, there are numerous issues, such as the user interface being clunky and the controls not particularly easy to understand. In addition to this, the text is unbearably small. This is understandable since the user interface would require a full redesign to contain all the essential information. Even still, from even a few feet away the text is hard to see, making your best option to play it in handheld mode.

John Wick: Hex, despite the high profile theme, relies on the ideas of other tactical top-down shooters before it, those being, most prominently, the XCOM series of games. While John Wick isn't fighting aliens, the grunts he fights might as well be. The AI in this game is a bit lacking, as enemies don't hear footsteps, barely recognize John Wick for the menace he is in the movies, and also are pitiful shots when engaged in combat. Not to say the game isn't hard, quite the opposite, but it is hard because of the inconsistent AI and not because of level design or other challenges.

John Wick: Weapons

This game feels strange to play since it is fundamentally a tactical game. However, the limiting of your options makes it hard to justify buying. In XCOM, you can throw grenades, shoot the cover, shoot rockets to destroy walls, and pick every loadout of every character. In John Wick: Hex, you are limited to one man and, usually, a pistol or SMG to fight enemies with nearly four times as much health as you. It ends up being a case of having to cheaply kill every enemy, making your gains in the game seem unfulfilling and unearned.

This isn't helped by the linear level design of nearly every map, as well as the clear objectives but lack of clear enemy locations in every map. This makes every level a case of trial and error to get to the end. John Wick: Hex feels rushed, with every single mechanic seeming just not quite fleshed out enough. Despite this, it deserves a look for anyone interested in the XCOM-style genre of games but feels overwhelmed by the customization options that come with them.


  • Story is interesting
  • Voice acting from genuine John Wick actors
  • Sound design feels complete and satisfying to listen to
  • Visually clear
  • Mechanically interesting
  • Challenging
  • RPG mechanics help spice things up
  • Available on many systems


  • AI is lacking
  • Lack of weapon variety
  • Text is so small as to be unreadable on a TV
  • Bosses are a grind to get through
  • Level design is linear and uninteresting
  • Lack of options in combat
  • Feels rushed




Good games are simply that: good. They are generally fun to play but might be lacking in longevity, replay value, or presentation. These games might be good buying decisions for some people, but not for others. Some otherwise great games may fall into this category if they are priced unreasonably high. The devil is in the details.


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About the Author: Collin Westbrook

Collin Westbrook joined in 2010 to help with Zelda Castle, and has since rejoined the staff multiple times throughout Nintendo Castle's existence. He is a lover of strategy games, platformers, and everything Nintendo. Look out for him editing guides, writing articles, and helping the site in whatever way he can.

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