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Shadowrun Returns: Initial Impressions

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I kickstarted this project last year and as a fan of the tabletop, I was excited.

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So far? It's okay. It hasn't blown my socks off yet. If you're familiar with the pen and paper version:

1. this feels really dumbed down, no knowledge skills, no qualities
2. there's like 5 guns. well more, but it's basically pistol, rifle, assault rifle. yawn
3. it plays like an updated version of the SNES game
4. you don't start off as a bad ass shadowrunner like in the tabletop...
5. you get karma almost after every fight or dialogue (wtf, srsly)
6. i still haven't met a mr.johnson (not far enough in yet?)

Run around to very specific areas, talk to people with bubbles over their heads, rinse lather repeat. Again, not bad, but for some reason I had the expectation that I could just run around Seattle doing whatever I pleased.

The good news is that I'm told the editor/tools are very good so hopefully I or someone less can bring this dream alive.

5 Comments On This Entry

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27 July 2013 - 11:26 AM
I'll be getting to the game this afternoon.. I have my stack of Shadowrun sourcebooks assembled for support!


29 July 2013 - 10:36 AM
I bought a copy the other day. I think it was $20 on Steam and so I figured I could at least give it a try (I'm not sure if I would have bought it for $50). I've played the pen and paper game a few times. I'm really not expecting much out of it. I think I saw a lot of what you are talking about just in the previews for the game, and that is that it is very scripted and not really a "sand box" game so much.

I've found any computer game that is based on a pen and paper RPG will leave anyone severly disappointed if they think it is going to be anything like the pen and paper version. They always dumb it down and the P&P version is just much more "open ended" where you can suddenly head off in a random direction and a good Story Teller can just run with it and let you go off in an entirely unplanned direction. A video game is never going to be able to do that, by its very nature.

Never Winter Nights tried to do it, even with a "Dungeon Master" who could control things on the fly. But I don't think that people were really able to figure out how to mod it. There were good modding tools, but the scripting language seemed very poorly documented. (It might have been using Lua, but that was well before I knew what Lua was or that it was an industry standard.) And even with a DM right there in the game running things, you could not spontaneously bring in something that had not been pre-programmed to one extent or another. And it took a tremendous amount of preperation to get a campaign setup to run.

I would have loved to have been part of a group that modded that and run adventures for a small group. But alas, I was the only person I knew actually playing the game and so ended up only running through the single player version and making some mods/campaigns that noone ever played. I learned a lot about level design though.

Vampire: Redemption and BloodLines also took a stab at bringing Pen & Paper games to the computer. I thought they did a pretty great job, but I guess I'm not as hardcore into the World of Darkness as some. So, I probably did not notice all the little inconsistancies and whatnot. I just had a load of fun with it.


29 July 2013 - 12:30 PM
Heh - with NWN:1 I built a self contained gambling/chicken fighting mod for the game. It was a nice contained betting system and also had an option to bump up the beak damage with a random elemental modifier.. so if you went that route then you could see a flaming beak vs oozing poison, etc.. It was a fun run.


30 July 2013 - 09:48 PM
So, I actually played the new ShadowRun game tonight, up to the point of walking into the "Seamstress Union" or whatever its called. I'm favorably surprised. I had very low expectations for it for a number of reasons, and so far, I'm actually enjoying it quite a bit.

I'm disappointed with the character customization. I didn't like most all of the character pictures you had to choose from for your character. And I wasn't blown away by the character models. If I could import my own picture of my character I would probably be happier.

It doesn't feel as open world as I might like. And I can see some of the complaints about skills and weapons. But over-all I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoying it so far. I'm also curious about what you can do in the way of mod-ing it and writing your own adventures.


05 May 2018 - 06:23 AM
I was looking for another blog post and came across this one. I am vaguely amused as I went back and finished the original last year and liked it so much I ended up buying both Dragonfall and Hong Kong. The turn based strategy suddenly was fun, compelling, and scratched some itch I had. The story telling was top notch.
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