Review: Shadowrun Returns
After seeing Kickstarter projects rise and fall it’s gratifying to see one not only make it to completion but receive a positive reception. Josh investigates if Shadowrun Returns offers more than a trip down memory lane.
It is no secret to site fans that I am a shameless fan-boy of the early Fallout titles, and naturally, I am also a big supporter of turn based action games. So you can imagine the excitement when I found out that Shadowrun Returns is turn based Fallout style RPG, this game is practically made for me. For those that are new to the Shadow Run universe, the game is set a cyberpunk future where technology is not the only powerful force around. Shadowrun also blends fantasy into its world, creatures like orcs, elves and dwarves are common place and magic is in the mix as well. The story world has a wonderful Blade Runner feel to it, and like Deckard your character walks both worlds, part sinner, part saint you are tasked with the job of finding out what happened to your recently deceased partner in crime. He contacts you with a pre-recorded video after his demise promising you a large amount of money for getting to the bottom of his rather grisly death, from there the story opens up and player will be bouncing around morgues, brutal crime scenes and dark alleys searching for answers.
What makes Shadowrun Returns quiet special is the way it tells its story. As the game progresses, players will notice that you are never lost or without a goal. The joy of the story is that it is more directed than most modern RPG games, there are still side missions and loot to find but as a rule you are on a focused path for the most part. Every mission you have will usually wrap up quite quickly giving you plenty of chance to upgrade your character and play with new equipment as you push through the teething sections of the game.
Character development is very comprehensive, not only are you able to choose race and class but the game allows you to grow into any path you wish. For example, a mage class is not limited to light weapons or armour, gamers can choose to put a lot of points into strength and push in both directions at once. All of the classes are well balanced with plenty of cool moves and abilities to play with, some will summon minions others will hack computers to battle other hackers. Whatever your choices, the experience is likely to drag players through the game at least a few times and each play through will offer different ways to handle each situation. The game does lack any major tutorials, so new players will have to learn by doing and some aspects will take a while to understand. One of the skills called decking (Hacking) involves a strange matrix mode which took me quite a while to understand and offered little to no help or explanation into how to use it. Though these are not game breaking issues, there is quite a high level of pre-established knowledge this game is expecting you to have, which may turn off some users without a background in older RPGs like Fallout 1 & 2 or Balder’s Gate.
Shadowrun Returns is proof crowd funded games can be developed with all of the same passion and skill that any major company can string together. The package is well worth the price tag offering wicked style, diverse gameplay and a really good quality story line too. If you have either an iPad or decent Android tablet, invest in this game. I have been playing non-stop for four days and I have only just started to crack the surface of this interesting world Harebrained Schemes has put together. The touch controls are smooth and accurate, the presentation is unique and once you work out the interface, this game will have you fixated for hours at a time. This is a cult classic in the making.
9 / 10