Developer: Harebrained Schemes LLC
Release Date: 7/25/2013
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Forget about the last Shadowrun FPS. That game was a disaster. This HD remake of Shadowrun returns with a great story, but the combat is lacking just a bit. You are basically a runner who watches a tape of your best friend before he died. You suddenly become his insurance collector and need to find his killer. The story is pretty engaging and I was sucked in from the beginning. You basically just follow mission after mission unraveling this mystery.
Of course, you get to pick your class in the beginning. Go from ranged weapons to melee to magic. There’s also a fourth decking ability that makes you stronger during hacking battles. Once you complete some missions you get to The Union which is your underground hideout. You can buy weapons, cybernetic enhancements, magic, first aid, weapons, and various other things. Make sure you take plenty of health with you and stock up on the latest before the next mission. Usually, you have to hire out mercenaries to help you in a fight. I found a majority of the story fairly challenging but later on, it got downright unfair. The biggest issue is the unfair save system. The game is autosave only. The game will only save at the beginning of each level so if you die it’s game over. This is so infuriating towards the end when you have really long and tough fights.
The combat is fairly decent. You can select between ammo types (or magic types), special powers, and items. With this variety, you are sure to win battles. I was just so upset at how often I missed. I could be at point-blank range and I would miss three times in a row. The accuracy and rate you hit enemies seem completely random and I hated that. Decking battles are interesting but boring because they aren’t as deep as regular combat and there are only a few types of enemies. Once you complete the mission in the hacking area you have to run all the way back to the opening. If no one’s out there defending you the enemies and shoot up your body and you can die. That’s really frustrating and it drove me nuts.
I also wish there was more exploration but you’re stuck to where the missions take you. Sure there are a couple of side missions, but you can’t explore anywhere. This is a really interesting world with interesting characters, but you’re limited to where the story takes you. That will turn a lot of RPG fans away, but the entertaining combat and story should keep you for a while. I also wish there were more powerful weapons and armor in the game. Even when I was almost done the same armor from 10 missions ago was the best still. The game is pretty unbalanced, but some may overlook it. The graphics are decent, but nothing special. They won’t make your system sweat.
In the end, Shadowrun is a fun RPG for fans of Fallout and earlier top-down RPGs. The story is great and is a fun murder mystery, but the combat feels too thin and decking just isn’t fun. The real deal breaker here is the unfair and punishing save system, and some may quite early on because of it. If you can stomach the unbalanced gameplay and save system you will be in for a great story.