Friday, July 26, 2013

Shadowrun Returns: First Impressions

If you read my post on Cypher, you know I'm a fan of cyberpunk in general, but particularly cyberpunk games. I never played the tabletop version of Shadowrun (always wanted to; I own the first edition, in fact), but I did have an obsession with the Genesis version as a kid.

 reminds you of the old Blade Runner adventure game, doesn't it?

I just played 70 minutes of Shadowrun Returns and I think it's safe to say that if you're a fan of anything Shadowrun you'll probably like it. The roleplaying is heavy, there's a ton of reading (no voice acting, but you really won't miss it), and the writing is quite good. The turn-based combat is, unexpectedly, a lot like XCOM: Enemy Unknown (the newer one). In some ways it's better. I haven't found myself nearly as frustrated with SR as I did XCOM.

With hand-painted backgrounds and 3D character models that fit in, Shadowrun Returns is a lot slicker than I expected. Not just the way it looks, either.

I think you should play the storyline for yourself, but I'll fill you in just in case you're still trying to decide if you want to buy. After a fairly short character customization screen you begin in an rundown apartment with very little in the way of tutorials and hints. Eventually you get a call from an old acquaintance who wants you to investigate a death: his own. Writing cyberpunk is harder than most sub-genres because you gotta keep the flavor without borrowing too much from the writers of the eighties. It's a fine line to walk, but so far Shadowrun Returns delivers.

I can't wait to play more later this weekend.

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