Game: Shadowrun Returns

Shadowrun ReturnsFinished Shadowrun returns last Monday.

Played fully on Linux with Steam (native, no Windows Emulation).

You play a character in the Shadowrun universe which is on the hunt to bring down a friend’s murderer. Time is around 2057 but due to the Awakening, the world is filled with science fiction high tech and fantasy elements alike. You have genetic modification, cyberplants and hacking warfare along with elves, orcs, dwarfes and trolls hurling magic bolts. A rich and fascinating universe.

… you have to work trough yourself. The game can be summed up by the phrase “too less”. At first there is too less background for the setting, the story. You just start off creating a character, like an orc, with cybernetic implants. Yep, no explanation to this. If you want to find out more about the Shadowrun world you have to look elsewhere but not the game.

Then there is too less RPG. Seldom you find something useful to pick up and equip. Also stats and skills are presented in a very sober way in a plain matrix. No introduction, no nothing. All at once, on page. Also you likely will spend points on attributes and skills you don’t need in future. Sorry, there is no turning back.

Then there is too less adventure. The story is nice, but you got not real decisions to make. The storyline is very linear. There are some side-quests, but guess: too less.

Then there is too less of a challenge. At the first two thirds of the game. I pimped my elf with quickness and assault rifles and the game was no real match at “normal” level. Strategic fighting is nice and … easy. Yeah, the games picks up some pace in the last third and starts to get harder. This is were the fun really sets in. But up to then it is playing a nice story …

And someone always has the idea of something missing. Something’s missing at the RPG, at the adventure, at the combat game, at the grafics, animations.

E.g. Harlequin is one of the coolest elves I’ve come along in playing games, but when he wields his sword he is animated as if someone had stiffed a broomstick right along his “back”. The in-game representation is missing the charisma and style this elf has in dialogues.

Finally the save game mechanics are just bonkers. Actually you just can save at the start of a level, better: the game (hopefully) autosaves at this stage. Making a wrong decision at the end of a level requires to replay to whole level again.

The pro: once you’ve delved into the universe the plot is great to play and the dialogs are really nice written, the combat is fun after all. It remains a nice game. Hopefully they fix this bad savegame mechanics and give more universe background information in the DLCs and patches to come.

7/10: 7 out of 10