Game– Shadowrun Online
TL;DR– It’s up to you. Do you like preorders?
Basics- Hoi Chummers! Time to step into the world of Shadowrun again, but this time online! Shadowrun Online will be coming out later this year, but if you did the kickstarter OR pay to join on Steam, you get a preview of the game. Right now you are NOT getting the full game, but if you join, later you will. The game features a short campaign where you play a mage and a gunner as you plow you way trying to find a kidnapped girl or a multiplayer death match.
Mechanics-This game feels like Shadowrun Returns. That isn’t a bad thing as I liked Shadowrun Returns, but some reviewers feel this game was made for the tablets like my Ipad. Again, that’s not bad, but it is a thing to consider. Basically, this game is a turn-based, small squad tactical battle in the Shadowrun world. Each turn you move a character and have them attack. My biggest complaint is that I can’t attack then move. Not huge, but its something to consider.
Visuals-The game looks nice. The parts you get to play in all look like they belong in Shadowrun. You can rotate the screen which is a nice feature that’s not in Shadowrun Returns. All the buttons for your character do look really pretty too. However, I don’t like the tilt that the screen has. I found it sometimes hard to visualize where my character was standing in comparison to other people. This lead to me missing a few shots and dying!
Story-Here is the meat and potatoes. Shadowrun Online has to have a decent, cyberpunk, dystopian story. This is where the game lives or dies. The story you get to play is pretty short, but done well enough. The characters do speak to one another in the missions, but between missions the characters mostly get walls of text expanding on what’s going on. I’d like more to engage me, but it’s not bad. I sit and read walls of text in Shadowrun Returns, and I love that story. What I see from this game, I like. But, this game HAS to keep up what it brought to the table as a minimum! More story telling will keep this game from the fate of so many MMO’s littered at WoW’s feet. This game can’t beat WoW through anything else but story.
Summary-I’m not grading this one. I usually do, but this one is just a nice tech and story demo of what coming out later this year. What I see happening is a simple MMORPG that will do well with the touch screens set in the Shadowrun Universe. It you take out the MMO part, that describes Shadowrun Returns. Both games use an extremely similar, simple interface. I don’t mean that as an insult, as the simplicity doesn’t bog down the experience with clutter and won’t keep newer players who have never heard of Shadowrun from coming to the table. The visuals are very similar which is good for not only bringing players in. The story is fun, but it’s short. I played the demo in 1.5 hours. For $30, that’s a bit much, but I have to keep in mind that I’m paying for the full game and getting delivery in pieces. Most of us hardcore Shadowrun fans want more like riggers, deckers, astral combat, customizable characters, more missions et al. I do recommend this game, but you have to decide if you are ok with buying a game ahead of its being ready. Right now, you don’t get much of a game as it’s a 2 hour tech demo. I love kickstarter, so I’m fine with one year lead times and paying way ahead for a game. If you love Shadowrun Returns, then you will love this. Now, you just have to decide WHEN you buy it.