"For those who just want to relive the isometric action of the SNES and Megadrive days, Shadowrun Returns easily delivers...and, judged purely as a standalone game, it's an unambiguous success." - eurogamer.net
MAN MEETS MAGIC & MACHINE. The year is 2054. Magic has returned to the world, awakening powerful creatures of myth and legend. Technology merges with flesh and consciousness. Elves, trolls, orks and dwarves walk among us, while ruthless corporations bleed the world dry. You are a shadowrunner - a mercenary living on the fringes of society, in the shadows of massive corporate arcologies, surviving day-by-day on skill and instinct alone. When the powerful or the desperate need a job done, you get it done... by any means necessary.
In the urban sprawl of the Seattle metroplex, the search for a mysterious killer sets you on a trail that leads from the darkest slums to the city’s most powerful megacorps. You will need to tread carefully, enlist the aid of other runners, and master powerful forces of technology and magic in order to emerge from the shadows of Seattle unscathed.
The unique cyberpunk-meets-fantasy world of Shadowrun has gained a huge cult following since its creation nearly 25 years ago. Now, creator Jordan Weisman returns to the world of Shadowrun, modernizing this classic game setting as a single player, turn-based tactical RPG.
Gripping Tactical Combat: When you’re running the shadows, every turn matters. Choose your actions wisely - move to better cover, charge into melee, or lob a fireball into a crowd of enemies. With the variety of weapons and spells at your disposal, every turn is filled with meaningful choices. A successful run requires commanding a team of runners with the right balance of combat, tech, and magical abilities.
Skill-Based Character Progression: Choose a starting character archetype and build from there! Street Samurai and Physical Adepts use advanced combat skills to dominate the battlefield, Shamans and Mages summon powerful allies and cast deadly spells, while Riggers and Deckers provide critical technological support, projecting their consciousness directly into drones and computer systems. Shadowrun Returns’ classless skill system allows you to grow your character in any direction you choose. Want to start summoning spirits as an ork Shaman and evolve into a cybered-up weapon specialist? Do it!
Engaging 2D/3D Art Style: Shadowrun Returns mixes dynamic 3D characters and lighting with a vibrant, hand-painted environment. Illustrated character portraits bring every conversation to life. Explore a world filled with detail, from the slums of the Redmond Barrens to the extravagant offices of powerful corporations.
If you were to cross Bladerunner with The Dresden Files into a quality tactical strategy RPG hybrid, the result would no doubt be something very akin to Shadowrun Returns. Shadowrun Returns excels at story telling, the game is rich with lore, well written dialogues that feel more conversational than what most games accomplish, and a structured story full of plot twists and interesting characters. Perhaps my favorite point about the story is that it starts out small-scale, you are on a simple mission to look into the death of a friend, but it slowly ramps up into something larger as the story progresses. To top it off the game is set in a beautiful futuristic game world and has solid tactical gameplay to boot. More than anything this game to me was about an awesome sci-fi detective story. The mystery and intrigue suck you in, the stellar writing especially in regards to dialogue keeps you hooked. I'm not saying the game mimics what street talk may actually be like in the future, but it was great enough to get me immersed in the street life of futuristic Seattle. The characters within the game range from annoying (intentionally so), charming, grumpy, and likeable; chatting with the regulars throughout the story and going through the different chat options was something I enjoyed doing (shout out to Mr. Kluwe, you're the man, man!). The game's audio and visuals do justice to this story, bringing it to life with stunning hand drawn environments and appropriately mood setting music. The game's combat also leaves little to be desired. Although I felt the large scale management of the game to be a little inconsistent...for example the money you earn throughout the story can go into temporary lulls, and if you need to do a mission when you aren't expecting it you may find you don't have enough money to buy a full team of mercs. The game runs similar to most other tactical RPG games, especially similar to the XCOM series. You use the terrain to your advantage and in a turn based fashion you move your team about and order them to attack or use utility items/spells. On hard the game isn't terribly difficult and you shouldn't have to think deeply each turn on how to best arrange your team and how to best utilize there action points (how many actions they can take per turn). The combat is a bit sparse at the beginning of the game but as you progress further you start to battle the baddies more often and that's when the fun starts. Shadowrun Returns is a solid tactical RPG game, and with the addition of the Steam workshop can keep you playing well beyond the twelve hour campaign. The game's story is strong and the characters within are fun ones. It's nice to play a detective style game that isn't a point and click for a change. The game is quite gripping and just like any good detective novel it kept me at the edge of my seat until I got through to the end.
Shadowrun Returns is a great isometric cyberpunk RPG. Yes this game is a return to a form of entertainment that seemed long gone: The good old isometric games and this one sports superb graphics and artwork as well. This is quite an impressive feature though the game has its share of flaws like no ability to save except at predetermined checkpoints and there's also infinite ammo but when a game is this good these things are easily forgiven. I would like for the devs to implement a save on exit feature though, it would simplify things greatly. As it is, if you leave the game in between checkpoints, you have to go through the same gameplay from the last checkpoint you saved from, which can be rather annoying if you have to leave the game for a say: emergency. But everything else is there, you get to customize your characters and there's lots of options. For my first play-through I went with human decker and the cyberpunk feel makes it great as I was getting tired of medieval RPG's. The combat is great also and having conversations with the NPC's in the game never get boring, there's enough dialog options to replay the game with a different character and not hear and say the same things twice and with the user generated content coming up with the in-game editor, the future of Shadowrun seems very bright indeed. There's already two user made stories available and more open world and less linear than the one that came with the game, I suggest you try them out.
Unlike most indie rpgs that try to rediscover the good old days, where the story was meaningful, the battles hard, and the characters likeable or something, this one can actually be played without getting a phd in dungeon crawling first. At first, the game seems a little overwhelming, or at least it felt to me, someone who never played anything shadowrun related, but It's not that hard, and the character creation actually helps you, by telling you what to expect from the skills. I made a Decker, who also liked to use assault rifles, and boy... The battles in the real world are fun, kinda like a fantasy version of XCOM, except a lot easier...then again, XCOM is merciless, so it might not be fair to compare them. It's not like Shadowrun was without challange. My favorite parts were in the matrix! Or, to be more precise, when my main char was in the matrix, doing his digital magic, and fighting programs, while in the real world the rest of his team had to protect him from the real attackers. Some of those battles were really intense!
Shadow Returns is a good start to making a proper Shadowrun game. There can be more of a focus on dialogue than combat and you have the ability to use your skills to take a more non violent route through some missions. The writing and soundtrack fit the game world well but we aren't given much in the way of interesting characters. The game also does a poor job with magic and adepts, neither really feels true to the universe as you don't have access to what really makes them useful outside of combat and they just aren't that powerful inside of combat. The matrix, cyberware, and hacking is also handled in a very boring way that doesn't fit the universe. Combat itself is also lacking a bit, with limited options and a UI that could have been improved. Shadowrun Returns gives us a decent first start that does an ok job with the setting, the expansion Dragonfall and the sequel Hong Kong do a lot to improve things giving more interesting missions, giving you a great cast of characters to interact with, more combat options, an improved UI, and slightly improving decking, magic, and cyberware. If you want an ok Shadowrun story with average gameplay this is a good game to pick up, otherwise you probably just want to move right into the sequels.
I'll start out by saying that I have a very limited experience with Turn Based games, and had absolutely no experience with Shadowrun before Shadowrun Returns. With that in mind, I may overlook lots of aspects that you find very important if you're more experienced than I am. Here are my thoughts nonetheless. The whole world of Shadowrun Returns sounded really interesting to me, as I like futuristic societies in general, and I don't think it's been done a whole lot in videogames, lately. And having heard good things about the game, I decided to give it a go. This is almost an RPG engine, in the world of Shadowrun. You'll have a short and very linear campaign, with a lot of dialogue, decent amount of combat, but not a lot of depth, mechanically. The depth is there, certainly, but I don't feel like it was explored at all with the main campaign. However, it comes with Steam Workshop and a level editor! Which means that user generated content will keep coming, and I have no doubt some talented people will manage to create much more interesting stories than the one told here, and even explore the mechanics far better. Let's talk about presentation. The graphics look awesome, in my opinion! And it's one of the aspects that pushed me to buy the game. Everything is hand-drawn and highly detailed. I made the mistake of not using AA (I don't know why) and the characters looked a bit too bad to me, but I later saw my mistake, and they actually look much better, and certainly fit with the scenery. In addition to the hand-drawn style, there are shadows and lightning, that complement it pretty well, and give it a more modern feel. It reminded me of a more modern Bastion, actually, which is always good. Not much to complain here, I'd say, it looks great! The music was pretty good as well! It changed seemlessly, and had a good futuristic, oppressive feel to it. Nothing groundbreaking, but I liked it. The interface was a bit clunky, probably because the game was on iOS as well. More clicks than it needed, and too few hotkeys. Regarding the main campaign, the story was good enough, in my opinion, but a bit too limited. It was very narrow, with no significant choices at all, and barely any sidequests. Besides being very linear, it was also much shorter than I expected, and left much to be desired. half of the game's mechanics were left on the side. It was mostly story-combat-story-combat-etc. Between each mission, you're sent into your Hub area, a bar, and you can buy new equipment there, buy spells, consumables, etc. And also learn more about the world and the characters by talking to them, and learning more about their purpose and role in Shadowrun. Before going into a mission, you also had the choice of choosing 2-3 partners to help you in battle, for a price. These had very varied classes to choose from, each with its uses, but overall, I didn't feel like I needed most of them. And some were really useless... didn't feel very well balanced. Its purpose was mainly to give you more freedom regarding your own character progression, by giving you a chance of having every skill that you needed. For that, I think it worked well. The combat was enjoyable, overall, but I don't think it was very unique. You had action points to spend with movement, skills and attacks, of which you gained more with time. It's turn based, with a cover system, and also a hit/miss chance. Which was what I found pretty bad, to be honest. It was everything but reliable, and it screwed me over more times than I felt like it should. It also helped me, but overall, it was not satisfying at all. This problem can be sort of avoided by using buffs regarding accuracy, but it still felt a bit cheap, at times. I would have liked the game to be harder, but more strategic and reliable. It's not like it only screwed me once or twice, it happened way too often. I didn't like the randomness of it, but overall, it was good. The characters' synergies were good, I liked that aspect regarding the combat. The inventory system was also a bit too limited. You could only manage it before each mission, without an opportunity of trading with other team members, or looting corpses. The rooms in the levels seemed fairly open, but there was very little to it, actually. Barely anything to collect, and not much backstory spread out. Another aspect that isn't very good, but can most likely be solved by the community! Now, with my biggest problem with the game. The character progression, classes, and the lack of information. Right from the beginning, you choose a few traits and a class, of which you know absolutely nothing about. You are free to choose whatever you want (including a classless option, if you know what you're doing), but it's also very easy to screw it up. The games does no effort at all in teaching you about each class, and how you should build one. You're simply thrown into the wolves, and have to deal with it the best way you can. I'll admit that my character was probably useless. I focused my attention in two things at once, one of which was pretty much useless, leaving the other one half ♥♥♥♥♥. I can tell you that it didn't feel satisfying at all. There was also no respecialization that I've heard of, so I had to stick with it. There was also an aspect of choosing cybernetics, or magic, which was barely mentioned, and didn't feel in any way relevant. Equipment followed the same path, being very limited, and having almost no variation. No interesting side-grades, or anything. Consumables and drugs were also present in the game, but I had absolutely no need to use them, except for grenades (for AOE) and healing. And I was playing on Hard Mode. It was challenging at the beginning (due to bad character progression, and choosing the wrong support team mates), but it was overcome after a few hours, and experimenting with the different setups. Overall, I think the campaign was NOT well designed. At all. But the system is definitely there, waiting for the community to build upon! It did a really bad way of teaching the mechanics to the player, and an even worse job at taking advantage of them. But I feel like much better campaigns can be done with the engine, and I'll probably spend a lot more time browsing through the UGContent, and maybe even try my luck with it. If you're interesting in this game, I'd recommend it (probably on a sale), mostly for what it can be, not for what it is. The presentation is great, and despite being very flawed, it can all be solved with relative ease. I've heard even better things about the Dragonfall DLC, but I didn't feel like buying it yet, so it may all have been resolved already. Not great, but a solid game nonetheless!
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