Shadowrun Returns

There’s blood on someone’s hands and it better not be yours. (Otherwise this murder case is going to be solved awful quickly.)

Welcome to the near future where a number of usually-confined-to-fantasy races have come back into the world, magic is everywhere, technology is amazingly advanced, and everything is up a certain creek without a paddle.

This title boasts a number of interesting systems, a host of colourful characters, nostalgic yet beautiful graphics, and an interesting story which starts off fairly slowly but builds into a satisfying conclusion. Besides this there are a number of side quests you can undertake between the main story missions, which, though limited in number, are quite interesting for a bit of extra content. Rather surprisingly for an RPG there are no experience points, no levels, and no actual character restraints (besides item related statistical requirements)- just Karma. It, as it is gained, can be used to improve certain aspects of your build.

There's a cry of human suffering blowing like a gale in these streets.

There’s a cry of human suffering blowing like a gale in these streets.

While this is an engaging way to build a character it can be fairly overwhelming at the start as you don’t really know how often you get Karma, what sort of things you’ll need for the journey ahead, whether certain weapon styles have more or less restrictions, and a whole host of other things. My advice is to pick the class you most like the sound of and tweak it a bit. You’ll do okay for your first run and learn some things in the process!

While the game employs a number of team members to join you on your missions, some often repeated from other missions, there is no party management or the like involved. Their services can be purchased for the duration of the mission or they might come free if they have a stake in the outcome. Which, for me, is one of the areas where I feel the game falls a bit flat as it would be nice to be able to build up and select your own personal (and favourite) team.

They also upgrade their own equipment as you progress through the story missions. Which means you won’t need to spend your cash on them as they can’t use the equipment you buy, but, they can use healing items, so you should always keep some spare for the team.

It also means that even if you don’t have Decking you’ll meet someone who does in the course of the story so you’ll be able to dive into, play around with, and enjoy the little “alternate reality” that they have access to when hacking a computer terminal. Which is a pretty neat feature in all honesty.

In a lot of ways this title does open up some very interesting and unique mechanics and I agree that it’s one of the better ones I’ve played- but it builds up a nice rhythm only to end rather abruptly. Just when everything really starts to open up and you’re given nearly free reign of the characters, the story, the combat, and your progression it all ends and the credits are rolling before you can hit F5 one last time. That said, if you can get it quite cheaply, or you fancy playing it through a couple of times, it’s a worthwhile investment for anyone who enjoys RPGs.

Not to mention there’s a whole host of community made content out there expanding the game a little more with each passing day.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie.

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