RPGs are one of the biggest genres in the history of gaming. As text-based video games have role-playing elements implemented in them, and I would argue that was the earliest iteration of the genre. From turn-based to real-time strategy games, to MMOs, many games use elements of RPGs - but a true RPG has more complex mechanics than a strategy game with interesting characters, captivating story-line, and mysterious yet brilliant lore.
Created by Jordan Weisman, Shadowrun is one of the most popular board games created. Loved by many board game players and interesting and successful that there were early game adaptations for it on consoles like SEGA CD and SNES. Then those fans began demanding a modern vision of Shadowrun, as not many people seemed interested in developing a game like that. That’s until Kickstarter came a long, and Jordan came back just for this project.
Harebrained Schemes was founded by the creator of Shadowrun himself, Jordan Weisman, and Mitch Gitelman. They wanted and needed to make a great Shadowrun game so they went to Kickstarter and asked the greatest fans to crowd-fund the game so they can make best Shadowrun game possible - Shadowrun Returns.
Shadowrun Returns is a strategic, turn-based RPG video game adaptation. Weisman was inspired to create a game with a "more authentic tone" after seeing 2007’s Shadowrun game, a first person shooter in which, unfortunately, he wasn’t involved in. He bought Shadowrun rights back from Microsoft but he couldn’t find the backing from a publisher so he decided to use Kickstarter to make the game, a game he wanted to release.
Weisman announced the game as a "graphically rich 2D turn-based single player game with deep story interaction, meaningful character development, and highly-contextual tactical combat." This is downright factual as the game has interesting strategic combat mechanics in which you control each member of your party, each with a captivating background story and dialogue - a feature worthy of the spotlight as not many games succeed with story and dialogue.
The first thing you get to do is character creation as you choose gender and race from a list that includes humans, elves, dwarves, orks, and trolls. You can also choose which class you want to use such as Street Samurai, which focuses on combat and weapons; Mage, which uses various spells including attacking and healing spells; Decker, which specializes on hacking into computer systems; Shaman, who can summon spirits to help you in battles; Rigger, whom controls robotic drones that can specialize in combat or healing, and finally Physical Adept, who uses his magic to enhance their strength in many ways. You can also just start without choosing a class if you feel confident enough, since you can choose whatever skills you want as you level up - for example a Decker can have Shaman’s summoning ability. The leveling is great if you want to have diverse skills for your character as you gain Karma to improve yourself with Body, Quickness, Strength, Intelligence, Willpower and Charisma.
Combat is turn-based and you control yourself and each member of your team in every turn. You have Action Points (AP) that determines how many times you can move and do an action such as movement, firing a weapon, reloading, and unleashing a spell, or just using an item. Switching weapons doesn’t use AP, but you have to be wise with your actions since the AI is quite intelligent in combat.
In Shadowrun Return’s original campaign, the game was quite linear as there were only few instances where you could have small exploration in some maps. This was among the first things fixed in Shadowrun Return’s DLC, Shadowrun Dragonfall. Harebrained Schemes made the game less linear and implemented much more interesting plot-line and character storylines, and dialogues which would captivate a player while playing the game. Basically Shadowrun Dragonfall fulfilled the game’s potential and satisfied Shadowrun fans everywhere.
Speaking of exploration, you can also interact with the environment in multiple ways - from pushing aside objects, hacking terminals to find hidden rooms, gaining access to new routes to their main objective or finding items to use or sell. Mages are also able to see magical ley lines, which enhance their abilities while standing over them, while Shamans can see points that allow them to summon spirits in areas. Most interestingly though, Deckers are able to "Jack In" to the matrix at specific points. This puts them in a different, virtual world while still controlling the party members in the real world. In the matrix, their stats are determined by the cyberdeck they have equipped and their abilities by the programs they have installed. In the matrix, they can fight ICs and enemy deckers while trying to gather data and hack devices, such as elevators or auto turrets.
I would really like to talk about the storyline, but I don’t think that is a bright idea for a game like Shadowrun Returns and Dragonfall - so I will leave it as a surprise for future owners of the game on N4G! I hope this feature got you interested in the game, and happy indie month once again! Hopefully you all are enjoying it so far.
Day 22 | Harebrained Schemes