As the first game under the Windows Live brand to bring both PC and Xbox 360 gamers together, Shadowrun isn't the most casual-friendly title imaginable. So unexpectedly complex that after the initial training exercises and multiplayer matches, joystiq was overwhelmed to say the least. A few hours and a dozen or so matches later, it hadn't fully connected, but the pieces were starting to fall into place.
Like they said in their previous coverage of the game, Shadowrun is about finding your niche and sticking to it. In other shooters, your niche can be as simple as controlling the rocket launcher or defending the flag. In Shadowrun, it's defined by the powers you equip, how you utilize them and what role you take in your group. Even if you consider yourself a sponge for tactical knowledge, a learning curve this high won't be conquered in your first hour of play. And for a high profile, predominantly multiplayer shooter, that could spell trouble for Microsoft and FASA Studios.