Hard Truck: Apocalypse proves that a fantastic name can only take a game so far, and without compelling content a game just isn't worth playing. It's an appealing concept: a role-playing game set in a postapocalyptic future where you have to drive heavily armored (and armed) trucks across a vast wasteland, delivering supplies, scavenging loot, and blasting gangs of bandits off the road. In execution though, Hard Truck: Apocalypse is about as exciting as counting the grains of sand in a postapocalyptic desert.
For a postapocalyptic wasteland this place sure has a lot of trees.
The game opens with a brief explanation of a cataclysmic event that led to the poisoning of the air, which killed off most of the planet's inhabitants. The prologue is by far the most interesting part of the story in the entire game, and it quickly degrades after the opening cinematic. You play the game as a young driver who just celebrated a birthday and is now officially a man. As such, you get a pep talk from your father, the keys to the family delivery truck, and your first mission to deliver some supplies to a nearby town. You head on down the road to get accustomed to life behind the wheel, and after a few scrapes with some local outlaws and some chance encounters with some mysterious characters, the adventure begins.
The gameplay in Hard Truck consists of driving from town to town across a large map and talking to people to accept missions and to get paid. The missions are mostly simplistic delivery tasks, escort missions, or extermination runs. Sometimes you'll have to deliver supplies to a distant town, blow up as many enemies as possible, or just travel from one town to the next and talk to the right person. There are a few mysteries to investigate and solve, but the majority of the missions are exceedingly dull.
There is no experience system in the game, so instead of leveling up your character, you simply get money that you can use to buy new and better parts for your truck. You can purchase new guns, new cargo boxes capable of holding more loot, more heavily armored cabs, or entirely new trucks. However, the upgrade system feels limited because there are only five different truck types, and they're all fairly similar save for slightly different stats for speed, armor, and fuel capacity. Most of the items are expensive too, so you'll have to complete dozens of dull missions before you can pick up that machine gun you've had your eye on.
You start off with a basic truck that isn't especially intimidating, but is certainly capable of getting from one point to another and blowing up a few enemies here and there. As you explore the vast, empty world you'll run into small packs of outlaws who will drive up to you and start shooting. The battles consist of driving around in circles using the WASD keys, and aiming your turret weapon with the mouse. Since the camera follows the turret, you'll just have to hope that you aren't driving off a cliff or into a tree as you're shooting your enemies. Of course, you can just stop and shoot, but you'll make yourself an easy target, and you'll miss out on all of the underwhelming action of vehicular combat.