My possibly-embarrassing New Year’s resolution was to play more video games and I’m off to a pretty good start in 2018. Recently I played through Shadowrun Returns and I wanted to share my thoughts with the Outside is Overrated audience.
Shadowrun Returns is a story-heavy, turn-based RPG that takes place in the same world as the Shadowrun tabletop RPG. If you’re not familiar with that world, you should read about it. It is possibly the most unique and all-encompassing fictional world that has ever been created. My enjoyment of that world was my inspiration to play this game, but would it live up to my expectations? Let’s break down the pro’s and con’s of Shadowrun Returns!
- If you’re a fan of turn-based combat, you’ll enjoy Shadowrun Returns. Your team has a limited number of APs (action points) each turn and plenty of life-or-death decisions to agonize over. Do you move to better cover, heal a critically-wounded comrade, send in a drone, summon a spirit, hack the sentry guns, shoot the enemy, stab the enemy, toss a grenade at the enemy, conjure a Hellstorm Barrier to surround the enemy, or just turn and run? There are plenty of choices that allow you to tackle obstacles in whichever manner best suits your team.
- In any RPG, character-creation and leveling-up are half the fun, and Shadowrun Returns is no exception. There are 5 races (human, elf, dwarf, ork, troll) and 6 archtypes (Street Samurai, Shaman, Mage, Rigger, Decker, Adept) to give you plenty of options. Even within each class, you can customize which skills you want to specialize in. I ended up with an Ork Adept named GoKart Mozart (bonus points if you know where that name came from) that specialized in katanas, Chi-Casting (magical individual buffs) and grenades. It’s a lot of fun and should satisfy any RPG fan.
- The story is great! It’s well-written and it’s got everything you’d expect from Shadowrun… assassinations, corporate infiltration, plot twists, double-crosses, serial killers, police corruption, and secret doomsday plans that you have to piece together and prevent. You won’t be disappointed.
- This game is extremely linear. There is no chance at deviation at all. You take a job, you get teleported to the location, you complete the job, you get teleported back to your base, repeat. Even the missions force you to keep chugging along like a train stuck on tracks… so when you’re infiltrating an office building, there’s only one computer that you can interact with, and there’s one garbage can that you can interact with, and the garbage can happens to have a crumpled piece of paper with a password on it that will unlock the computer. You get the idea… and most of the levels are similar.
- There is very limited replayability in Shadowrun Returns. While you can play through the game with a completely different character, the story will be exactly the same. It’s really too bad because I would’ve liked to explore other character builds, but knowing every twist and turn in the story will likely prevent me from playing through Shadowrun Returns again.
- I really wish they would’ve used voice-actors instead of just text. I get it… that would cost a LOT more time and money; but the story and dialogue were so good that voice-acting would’ve pulled me right in through the screen and completely immersed me in this great game. It’s a missed opportunity in my opinion.
- I clocked about 12 hours of gameplay while playing through Shadowrun Returns. There was a time when I would’ve thought a 12-hour game was a rip-off. Nowadays, I just don’t have it in me to play through an epic, 80-hour RPG so I can kind of appreciate a shorter game. Where you are on that scale is up to you; but a solid, 12-hour game that often goes on sale for $5-$10 is still a pretty good deal if you ask me.
- The graphics won’t impress anyone. It’s not an issue for me but if you’re looking for cutting edge visuals, you won’t find them here.
ROGUE HIPPO’S REVIEW SCORE: 8
In the end, the excellent story, combat and character development of Shadowrun Returns greatly outweigh the few gripes like linear level-design and mediocre graphics. Fans of RPGs and turn-based combat will find plenty to like in this game that can often be found for under $15. Go play it.
Until Next Time,