Community Review: Shadowrun Returns

The original Shadowrun, a video game adaptation of a tabletop RPG, was created by Melbourne based studio Beam Software back in the day. It may be the greatest game ever developed in Australia. This makes me pretty intrigued by Shadowrun Returns. Funded by Kickstarter and headed up by Jordan Weisman, the creator of the initial tabletop game, Shadowrun Returns is nothing if not authentic and I'm keen to give it a go — but would love to get your thoughts first. Anyone playing this?

I'm thinking I'll play it safe with the desktop version, but there is a part of me that fancies having a good game to play on my Android tablet. So I guess my question for this Community Review is two-fold. Firstly: should I bother with this game to begin with? And secondly, should I play it on a tablet?

I'm going to go right ahead and guess that I'll get a more comprehensive experience from the PC or Mac version of the game, but portable gaming is also a priority for me.



    It's really good, a bit like XCOM meets a 90s RPG

    I think it will play well on tablet, but it'll be a little content light as the user-created stuff is such a huge component of the game. I don't know how they'll handle that on tablets going forward

    Will be watching this with interest as I feel that 8 hours of content isn't worth $20. But if it went on sale, and there was actually some decent community campaigns, well I'd definitely pick it up.

    I thought it'd be better than it was. It's pretty shallow.

    Played through the main campaign on Hard. I'm pretty experienced in these kind of games (multiple playthroughs of Baldur's Gate, Planescape Torment, and the old Fallout games, as well as XCOM:EU). Took about 13 hours, game was a cakewalk for the first 10 hours, then quite challenging for the final 3.

    Apart from the uneven difficulty, gameplay was good, definitely reminded me of those classic RPGs, I think going a weapons-based class (I played Elf Street Samurai) is the best strategy, as the hirable mercenary mages and deckers are pretty good, but the mercenary fighters are pretty bad. I was also disappointed that there were only 4 or 5 opportunities to really explore the decking mechanic throughout the whole game.

    Plot was decent and not too unrealistic, as these dystopian future games can be, and well written apart from anytime they tried to use a plot twist. The twists were very predictable and very cliche. The dialogue was solid and quite witty in some places, and the old preset dialogue responses that you pick with number keys made me feel nostalgic for the old RPG's.

    I think the developers were trying to use the game as a development platform rather than just a game, and used this campaign to showcase what the game can do. The real value in this game is going to be a few months down the track, when some quality user generated campaigns are available. If you like the old style RPG's, I think this is definitely worth a look, and if you haven't played Planescape: Torment, get it from GOG and do so.

    Sorry about the rambly, unstructured nature of this post, typing it while watching something else.

    EDIT: Thought of a couple more things.

    There's no such thing as loot in this game. Enemies will only drop quest specific items, like keys or passes. Occasionally you can find a medkit or a grenade if you look around an area, but definitely for 95% of the game, there's no loot, you must buy all equipment upgrades from a shop.

    The game is also incredibly linear. You can't walk around towns, and there's no world map, and only a couple of times do you even have a choice about where to go. The game puts you where you need to be, and when you leave that screen, you'll be at the next place you need to be.

    Last edited 05/08/13 11:33 am

    A+++ for capturing the old RPG/Novelisation atmosphere. B+ for mechanics.

    Should you buy it? If you like the retro CRPG or the original Shadowrun, yes.

    It's fun.

    The interface seems like it is geared towards being on a tablet no need for short cut keys or right clicking, or to click and drag.

    The mission isn't very long. The recent patch fixed most the bugs I encountered, but I can still miss a shot twice in a row with 99% chance to hit. As long as the tablet version can access the user created content from the PC/Mac; then the tablet version should be as good as PC/Mac.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the Dead Man's Switch campaign that Harebrained included - the writing was fantastic. Really captured everything Shadowrun for me. The difficulty was a little inconsistent - it went from incredibly easy to just punishingly difficult. Took me around 10-12 hours, from memory.

    That being said you have to remember SRR is basically a platform. While the included campaign is a part of that, this game's potential lies in user-generated content. So looking at the game's mechanics and gameplay - it's incredible.

    Can't wait to see what the community starts throwing down. The potential is pretty impressive.

    Last edited 05/08/13 12:06 pm

    I did a 31 Second Review on it, in case anyone's interested in checking it out!

    Not much I can really say in 31 Seconds, but all in all I really enjoyed the game but a few kind of minor things like clicking squares behind objects, the lack of saving etc. made some parts fairly frustrating. I wish the campaign editor was more user friendly for those without any experience in programming etc, I'd love to write and make a campaign.

    Definitely feels like a campaign platform and not a self-encompassed game. It comes with a starter example module which has so far been plenty lengthy for my tastes, but in part that comes from the fact that I can't pick it up and put it down at will due to a checkpoint save system that only occurs on each map change.

    The Steam workshop for the user-generated content is a bit hit and miss at the moment. People are posting a lot of incomplete works, and several of the items posted under the 'story' tag (which seems to be the only tag/category to describe mission/campaign modules) are nothing more than props. That shit needs to get under control early while there's practically nothing up there, or when people do start putting more stuff up, it'll be a nightmare to navigate.

    Such a fantastic game with endless possibilities if the community keeps cranking out new scenarios. The stock story, while short and will leave you yearning for more, is as follows: To begin with, setting wise, the game reminded me of the slum-like world of Midgar in Final Fantasy VII. The in-game setting and myriad of options brought back a welcome sense of nostalgia. The story is a fantastic mystery plot where our protagonist is out to revenge the death of a former comrade in arms. You meet many memorable characters along the way and the combat techniques available to you and multitude of races make the game fresh. Also, the pacing is perfect so the game never feels stagnant. All in all I found this game refreshing and reminded me of the glory days of the Playstation 1. I personally am creating a scenario of my own and can only hope that many more content packs will become available, as well as some more epic stories from Hairbrained and the community. If this game could pump out a worthwhile 4-6 hour scenario every couple weeks this game could be fun for a very long time. Wish there were more out there like this. You owe it to yourself to pick this up. Even for $20, and despite the short stock scenario, I thought it was the best game purchase i've made in the past 3 months.

    I like it but the cardinal sin it commits is checkpoint

      They did say something about not being able to code around the complexity of storing AI behaviour during combat, but I'm surprised there aren't even autosaves before/after combat to allow more frequent logout points.

    There isn't a tablet version yet, and no release date for it I can find, so if you want to play it any time soon then Steam is your only option really.

    The PC version has a module editor for making your own content, and there's nothing anywhere I can find about whether the tablet version will include that functionality (or if it will even play custom content.. I'd hope it would though).

    Also, the checkpoint save system is just incompatible with mobile devices.. you need to be able to save and resume any time due to the power saving functionality on these sorts of devices. Apps typically have no control over when they will be shut down and emptied from the memory, they typically get a chance to save the state before exit, but not always.

    I'm waiting for more info about the tablet versions before I make a choice, because the tablet version would better suit my available play time (on the daily commute for example).

    Well I for one enjoyed the hell out of the game, the difficulty did spike rather alarmingly towards the end but it was a nice change from it being a bit too easy, it was pretty rare that I felt particularly challenged, once I got my mage up to higher levels she was pretty much smashing people left & right. I may well have unknowingly stumbled on the perfect setup without realising it & it made it a bit too easy.

    I've just started making a lets play of it if anyone is interested, the capture went a bit weird towards the end & bandicam started dropping frames like mad but it gets the job done:

    I really loved it. I did run into an annoying glitch where the healing spell stopped working during a chapter.

    where is my review gone?

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