ESRB rating: Teen
Review rating: 4.0 stars
The "Shadowrun" RPG series has gained a loyal following of PC gamers ever since 1989, but the attempt to turn it into a console FPS was a big disappointment! Now "Shadowrun" returns in it's original glory in the latest release titled ... well ... "Shadowrun Returns," and fans can once again delve into satisfying tactical RPG game play!
Set in a fantasy cyberpunk future where elves and dwarfs fight side-by-side with humans, "Shadowrun Returns" weaves a tale around the hunt for a serial killer. However, the story becomes much deeper than a simple Shadowrunner on a mission, and an intricate tale of deception and corruption emerges. Simply put, the dark story is one of the game's highlights.
While this game pays homage to its past with an isometric view and old-school sound effects, the open-world feel is mostly an illusion. Most of the missions lead directly into the next mission, and there's little exploration. Sure there are a few side missions as well as multiple ways to solve certain scenarios, but the game still has a linear feel.
Thankfully, the in-depth skill tree offers a plethora of options that can seem a bit overwhelming at first. Like traditional RPGs, players earn points to enhance and customize their character's abilities as they progress. Additional customization is offered at the beginning of the game when players choose their character's race, attributes, and archetype.
I find the turn-based strategic combat to be very enjoyable because it forces me to think out every attack and gives me time to do so. In addition, simple things like keeping track of each character's ammunition, what type they use, and where each enemy is located has a profound effect on the outcome of each fight. I also enjoy the way using cover benefits me as well as my enemies because it adds another layer of complexity.
"Shadowrun Returns" may seem like a short adventure, but the deep level editor ensures additional user-created content for years to come.