Wot I Think: Shadowrun Returns

So here I am playing a turn-based RPG. And it’s because of Kickstarter. That feels pretty good, I have to say. What’s more: I’m really enjoying myself. It’s Shadowrun Returns. Let me tell you about Shadowrun Returns.

Shadowrun, then, was first a pen & paper RPG that did some mildly unusual things with genre conventions in 1989. Dwarves, orks and elves did magic and gun-violence in our dystopian cyberpunk world. My it looked pretty. Needless to say, the teenage me couldn’t actually afford the sourcebooks and so on, because I’d bankrupted myself (and generous parents) on AD&D and Games Workshop stuff. Instead I found myself first properly engrossed in Shadowrun’s world in 1993, when an RPG based on it arrived on Chris-who-lived-next-door’s SNES. Having tricked him into lending me the console, I played it to completion. Probably more than once, I forget. It is this experience, then, that is the return of Shadowrun Returns. And that feels fine.

There have been a few other Shadowrun game things materialising over the past few years, such as the deeply disappointing 2007 multiplayer thing. It’s this, though, an RPG and slightly fiddly turn-based combat game, that so many of us were actually waiting for.

And now it’s here I have to say it’s:

a) Exactly what I was expecting. The atmosphere, pace, humour, combat, and everything are just as we’d have anticipated from an isometric Shadowrun game.

b) Engrossing in a way that the high-quality old-fashioned RPGs tend to be.

c) Slightly rough in places.

d) Possibly going to spawn far greater things than the campaign we see here, thanks to the editor.

e) There are checkpoint based saves only. People don’t like that, eh?

Don’t let d) spook you. We’ll come back to that.

Shadowrun Returns is an RPG, and not a particularly deep one. That’s okay, because there’s certainly enough there to get your teeth into: multiple classes, skill trees that have a wide range of effects in the game, character classes that are radically different. You play a single character, but are joined by others – who become controllable during combat – when you’re off on a “shadowrun”. That is generally a cyberpunkian infiltration mission versus big scary corps and the like. It’s all good stuff, and will necessitate (and support) repeated playthroughs.

The need for a “decker”, a character who can access the matrix, is heavy throughout, and if you aren’t a decker yourself you can rely on other characters to leap into the neon-lit breach. The matrix is visualised as a computery info-world, and basically constitutes a tiny dungeon made of light in which your weapons are bolts of info-energy and so on. The Matrix bit is not that great, frankly, but at least they made the effort with it.

Combat is – both in the real world and the matrix – turn-based. It feels broader and messier than a lot of turn-based games, in the way that only the best turn-based RPGs seem to manage. The reason for this, of course, is the breadth of options that the RPG provides. In any give battle there are dozens of variables: spells that buff your ability to hit, grenades, stun grenades, assault rifles with four different fire modes, drones controlled by a dude, hacks, overwatch, and so forth. What’s great about this is there’s a huge variety in how combat can play out, what’s bad about it is that you tend to find a good tactic and push it to absurdity. Also, it feels a lot like something things were well developed, while others weren’t. Magic feels positively underwhelming, and the game leans heavily on gun combat.

So yes: the combat system works well most of the time, and takes into account cover values with a little shield, XCOM style. I had a bit of an issue with the fiddliness of it at times. I found myself serially mis-clicking until I realised you could force a double click onto the controls. Worse, perhaps, the grid which shows where you can move to (based on the number of action points you spend) is also pretty awful, and you have to “discover it” by dragging your mouse around, which really isn’t a particularly slick way of handling things. That didn’t please me at all.

But there’s one issue that really did make me howl, which was built into the scripting. It was thankfully very rare, but stood out: there were moments where I asked a character to do something, but then a scripted event kicked off mid-action. With that happening the character’s turn was ended, with no recourse. If they were running for cover they stopped, unable to continue, often taking damage as a result. There was even a death because of this oddity. Shrieks of indignation where heard from the jimcave.

Anyway, the thing that really matters, I suppose, is the quality of the campaign that Harebrained shipped with the game. That’s what you’re buying. Well. It’s part of what you are buying. As we shall discuss.

I can report that:

a) It’s not particularly long, I got through it in about 12 hours, without rushing too much. This, I suspect, is the thing that will disappoint most. But get to the end of the review, because there is light at the end of the shadow.

b) The writing (there’s no voice acting) ranges from schlocky to completely superb, with the overall story feel a bit too like a generic Shadowrun campaign, but maybe that’s the point. It’s great fun, is the point. You will enjoy it.

c) The big baddy creatures were just dreadful. Shadowrun is a game that basically allows anything to happen in it, and we can do better than this. Much better. I mean, they worked, but the drama was lacking. “Oh. This.”

d) It looks right, throughout. As isometric cyberpunk worlds go, this one is spot on. The rain-sopped streets with crowds of people holding umbrellas, the corporate meeting rooms and dank basements. The animation and detail are a bit lacking, but it felt incredible authentic somehow, particular your “base” area for much of the game. Great stuff.

It’s a competently and intelligently written RPG, though. I can’t stress this enough: compared to the heaving tide of shit that we face with most games, this is splendid literature. There’s a bunch of backstory to explore, and some character-handling choices that do actually affect what happens. The characters are imaginative, it even made me laugh, and there are even a few genuinely surprising and clever conceits. The plot twists are rubbish, sadly, but you can’t have everything. There are also a few very silly episodes, such as a battle in an asylum which becomes unlikely when guards have grenades, and imprisoned in-mates have shotguns. Yes.

There’s another aspect to the overall offering of Shadowrun Returns, though, and it’s clear from the moment you start playing: this is a game that is set up as a toolkit. Sure, they’re shipping a professionally made campaign that probably supports a couple of playthroughs, but what they’re actually shipping is a full-blown campaign editor and the system to easily distribute campaigns. Even the Harebrained official campaigned is packaged as just another story among all those that the community will inevitably create. It basically supports a new community. Hell, I’m tempted myself. I can’t stress how important this is.

This is going to be awesome.

Or at least, if you are happy to use Steam. The downside for the anti-DRM folk is that this is going to be a Steam-based system only. Oh dear!

If you buy this then there are going to be other campaigns worth playing, probably within a few weeks, and frankly that excites more than the base game ever could. Because I know what the internet is capable of when you give it the tools, and that’s precisely what Harebrained are doing here.

Ultimately, I suppose, this feels like a vindication of the “hey, let’s do nostalgia and turn-based RPGs” thing on Kickstarter. I’ve always been sceptical of the inclination to look to the past, but this is actually giving us something we wanted. Something we needed. In this case I feel like it was filling a void. A rain-slick, turn-based, isometric elf-shaped void with mirrorshades and a shotgun.

Shadowrun Returns is out later today.


  1. BTAxis says:

    I saw no mention of the lack of a “real” save feature in this article (the game uses checkpoints instead). TotalBiscuit’s review of this game mentioned that as a major weakness, though. Thoughts?

    • Noviere says:

      This not being mentioned surprised me as well, especially since shitty save systems are so often a popular target when calling out poor console ports.

      I’ve pre-ordered Shadowrun and can’t wait to play it when I get home from work tonight… But a proper save system is a core function for a game like this, IMO. Telling me when I can stop playing your game is really annoying… and having to replay 30+ minute chunks of a game(whether due to my own errors, or to bugs) can often drive me away from a game.

      • Njordsk says:

        AFAIK, it basically saves at every loading screen. I’ve heard about 10/15min max between each saves. But don’t take my words as granted, it comes from beta testers.

        • Cinek says:

          still it’s not an excuse for not adding the F5.

          • Njordsk says:

            Absolutly, I’m the first to rant when it comes to automatic saves.

          • NeuerOrdner says:

            I kind of like the idea actually. Gives you a better thrill trying to make it through the checkpoints in on piece and stays a little more true to the idea of a shadowrun being irreversable in its consequences. Kind of like the ironman-mode in X-Com.
            Plus Quicksaves in a cRPG often get abused like fuck :D I still remember me F5- and F12ing like a madman in the watchers keep in BG2, just so I could kill off the last lvl before the end-demon with a party that shouldn’t be there at all. And I did it, after some aprox. 1k Quicloads and saves :D

          • Shadow says:

            Probably a Save & Quit option is the only thing I’d hope for. I think it’s good they’re trying to dissuade (quick)save-scumming, and force you to put some thought behind your actions. The autosave spacing seems reasonable and the game is well-crafted, so no complaints from me.

          • Rizlar says:

            Agree with NeuerOrdner, having limited saves in a turn-based strategy game makes total sense to me, when you make a mistake you have to fight through it, rather than just pressing ‘load quicksave’. Being unlimited in where you can save actively harms my enjoyment of these games, it’s just too tempting to abuse the quicksaves. Much more immersive to have checkpoints/savepoints imo.

          • Machinations says:

            Please, dont defend what should rightfully be criticized as a poor design decision. From my understanding, this was done to support ipads.

            Were the intent to prevent save-scumming, which it was not, they would simply disable saving in combat. As it stand now, if a dude dies you dont want to lose, just shut down, and replay the entire section. It does not save on area load, you might be sent back through a couple areas and have to redo any dialogues as well.

            Im sure it is still serviceable and no doubt fun, but this is a major flaw, as is the unlimited ammo..no mention of this? Ammo is not counted, so if you have say a phoenix cannon, you can shoot forever.

          • His Divine Shadow says:

            a 100% deal breaker for me, sadly. i loathe checkpoint systems, probably more than anything else in games, regardless of the justification. and 15 minutes? come on, that’s *massive*.

          • quietone says:

            Checkpoint saves mean basically taking away my freedom to decide when I want to quit a game session.
            I hate that.

          • His Divine Shadow says:

            it’s so obnoxiously, arrogantly disrespectful of the players’ time that i’m amazed how many people are willing to put up with it

          • LintMan says:

            Checkpoint save systems suck. It’s total BS not to have real saves on a PC game

          • Premium User Badge

            Phasma Felis says:

            “Please, dont defend what should rightfully be criticized as a poor design decision.”

            Sorry, I’m gonna. Checkpoint saves, if frequent and well-chosen, are not bad. Choosing to block in-combat save-scumming is just as legit as not including an invincibility cheatcode. I honestly appreciate a well-balanced checkpoint system that structures play and keeps challenges challenging without making me slog through half an hour of mooks to get back to the tough part.

            The ideal, probably, would be to include both checkpointing and quicksaves, so you can choose to quicksave if you want, or benefit from developer-tuned pacing if you don’t.

            As for “can’t quit in the middle of combat”: You’re the PC master race. Hit Alt-Tab.

          • AngusPrune says:

            That might be all very well to say if the checkpoints were well chosen, but they aren’t. You get a checkpoint when you’re done with a map, period. Doesn’t matter how big the map is. I was burned by this because I wasn’t paying attention and figured the game would sensibly autosave at the end of every fight. I quit and lost about 20 minutes of progress, very annoying.

            I can’t help but think that my other major criticism of the game, how linear it is, is related. You never really revisit a map in the sense that some meaningful state was stored and then restored on your next visit, and for most RPGs that’s a necessity. That code is nine tenths of the save state code, and you have to write it anyway, so adding the rest isn’t really a chore. Honestly, the game has more in common with an adventure game than an RPG.

            That said, I am enjoying it for what it is. It’s the same deal with the X-Com remake though, some good new ideas, but it could have been so much more.

        • engion3 says:

          I unfortunately noticed this right away. I started up the game and completed the first 2 missions and then helped the people out in the market (side quest) and kept looking for a save option. Guess I just gotta do it over again.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I have to admit that didn’t bother me particularly, but then I did play in continuous sittings of several hours.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Is this something that’s “hard coded” into the game?
        It isn’t a big deal that they don’t have a proper save game, but if it’s impossible for even user made campaigns to use one that is pretty awful.

        • Zelos says:

          User made campaigns could trigger saves on every load screen + after every major conversation(or during) + a number of other things. Manual saving won’t be possible, but losing progress will likely be much less common.

      • Cinek says:

        Hm… I don’t play like that either, so quick save option is even more important to me (eg. kid’s crying – F5, help him – see if it requires more time – if yes than quit the game seamlessly. Checkpoint system makes a horrible games for people with an actual family.)

        • GiantPotato says:

          “Sorry dear, can you take care of that? My videogame doesn’t have a quicksave.”

          Yeah, it hurt to even type that.

          • AngoraFish says:

            yep, this.

          • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

            Yeah I want to agree that removing scumsaving is worthy of the price… but actually I’m forced to concur with this.
            This is for me the difference between single and multiplayer games. If a single player game cant do this for me it’s not filling it’s role.

          • AngusPrune says:

            “Yeah I want to agree that removing scumsaving is worthy of the price…”

            I’m interested. What makes you even want to say that? Why does it matter to you how other people play a single player game? Hell, you could easily make a save editor if you wanted to. I looked at the autosave file, it’s trivial, all the variables are even in ASCII text. I doubt there are any sanity checks. Give yourself maxed stats, the best gun in the game, and a billion grenades besides. Why should I care what you do?

        • 2late2die says:

          I am compelled to point out that this is a turn based game and the “real-time” parts between combats have no “timers” of any sort, so if your kid’s crying you can get simply get up and take care of him, the game will wait for you. Now, if you do discover you need to actually go away for a while, well yeah, it does suck, and I guess they should’ve had at least something like “quit and save”. However, if you really don’t want to lose the progress you should be able to just minimize the game. It’s fairly low on system resources so if you have a decent PC you should be able to have it running in the background till you get a chance to get back and finish up the area.

        • mr.black says:

          Well, my experience with this issue in turn-based isometric RPG follows from an Avernum 1 remake from Spiderweb software recently acquired in their humble bundle.
          I played the older clunky version of game to the death when there wasn’t a Quicksave feature. Now it works seamlessly and it enhances the gameplay enjoiment immensly! So yeah, I respawn sometimes when I see I got off to a bad start into a battle.. a shamefur disparay.. But there so much of a game, it doesn’t cheapen the experience, I just play quicker.
          There should be an option, so everyone can choose how one wants to play.

        • Tuberski says:

          Bull, it’s a turn-based game, if the kids crying get up and take care of him/her. The game isn’t going anywhere without you.

          • Dominic White says:

            Yeah, while the save system isn’t perfect, there is nothing stopping you from alt-tabbing out or minimizing the window to do something else. The way people are talking, the moment something non-game happens you need to mash the reset button on your system.

    • Lagwolf says:

      Checkpoints on a PC game is inexcusable (or rather the lack of choice) as far as I am concerned. Having to repeat bits because real life intervened is just ludicrous. It shows a certain contempt for the users. I am glad TB mentioned the lack of it (and the poorly placed checkpoints). To some, and possibly me, it would make this one to avoid.

      • Tacroy says:

        Honestly I kinda think they ran out of time.

        Though with that being said, there’s actually a very very good “rewind” system in the game – you can go back to any previous autosave for the current playthrough, and start playing from there.

    • El_MUERkO says:

      Good. Lack of a save button stops people saving before every combat turn then rolling back when they don’t like the results before bitching across the internet that the game was ‘too easy’.

      • Kentauroi says:

        Then let me paint a picture of how this goes horribly wrong based on my experience.

        I got to a area with a building I was supposed to storm, I realized I had some extra skill points to distribute and reassigned my consumables to other companions while I was there. Then I walked in there, died due to a stupid mistake involving friendly fire, and yelled out in frustration because I’m started back at the beginning of the level and need to do all that character/inventory management again.

        If you are going with a checkpoint system you AT LEAST need a save and exit option that saves our character data.

      • CynicalFelidae says:

        Why is is that people think they have a right to force other players, most of whom they shall never meet in any way, how to play a game? If Joe Schmoe likes to savescum in a turn based rpg or anything, for that matter, how is it hurting your game? Is it the mindset of ‘ I think this game should be harder, more tactical, so everyone should be forced to play it in a certain way. If you don’t find it fun, tough? Is this what we’ve become?
        Personally I don’t care about the lack of a F5 or F12, what bothers me is the idea that some fans think that not letting all players have the option to save at any time is a good thing. I ask again, how does someone else, somewhere else utilizing such an option affect your enjoyment of the game?

        • Jexiah8bit says:

          I can see both sides, because I am the type of person who would abuse a quicksave feature if it exists but who actually likes games more that don’t have one. It is my impulsive nature pushing for the easier route. However, life does happen and being able to save so you can step away is also valid.

        • MarcP says:

          “Why is is that people think they have a right to force other players, most of whom they shall never meet in any way, how to play a game?”

          It’s the question I ask myself everytime people insist quicksaves should be everywhere.

          For some people, there’s definite drawbacks to quicksaves :
          Lack of self-control can ruin the experience.
          It can be an excuse for developers to half-ass balance.
          It’s immersion breaking.
          In certain game genres it removes challenge and makes everything a question of time spent, trial and error. And no, “don’t use the feature” is not a valid answer here anymore than “play the game eyes closed, with your feet and a gamepad” is an appropriate reply to someone complaining about a game being too easy.
          If not penalized, it kills competition (which can exist in single-player games, i.e. leaderboards).
          Compared to checkpoints, quicksaves put you in unknown territory. Are you supposed to save when you have to leave immediately? Or does the natural progression is based on the idea you’re going to save mid-level? Or perhaps devs built the entire game assuming you’d save every minute? Having smart checkpointing on top of quicksaves can take care of that particular concern, but assuming the checkpoints will be “smart” is a big “if”, as again, perhaps devs assume you’re going to quicksave on your own every now and then.

          Many games work better with quicksaves, no question. Many other games work better with checkpoints only. You don’t see people who prefer checkpoints insisting *every* game should only use checkpoints, yet most of the vocal quicksave fans seem to believe their idea of fun should supersede everyone else’s, and display staggering amounts of intolerance for anyone who dares enjoy video games differently.

          • Ernesto25 says:

            Having the option of both leads to shock horror everyone been happy how to choose to play!

          • Nenad says:

            Yeah, seriously, having a choice is best if there are two sides that are split on an issue like this.

            And for other people there are definite drawbacks to checkpoints:
            Lack of self control is no excuse, imo. That’s the players problem, while the difficulty is the developers’. Bad analogy.
            They have checkpoints and the game is still considered too easy.
            For me, the lack of quicksaves is immersion breaking: I get tired of the game in the middle of an area, not knowing how much more there is, and I have to go through it just to save which leads to speedrunning or losing progress. Save & quit works just as good.
            Quicksaving exploits can be countered with design choices, for instance you can lockpick something only if you have skill above a certain point, instead of chance.

            I don’t want to ruin other peoples’ fun, if people find the other way better, I think it would be best to have both options. I just hate seeing developers being excused for not doing what they’re supposed to do and then that’s even made into a good thing. They said themselves they were gonna make a save system and didn’t because they ran out of money. What’s worse, it was *our* money and over their initial goal. Where did that money go? Why not organize it better? What would they do if they didn’t get a million more than they expected?

      • Tagiri says:

        I don’t understand this mentality really. If you die then you’ll have to reload the last checkpoint and do the fight again anyway.

      • Nick says:

        I love it, but right now the game is too easy, quick save or no.

    • jonahcutter says:

      That just seems bizarre not to have.

      It’s on PC. It’s turn-based. People have to get up and leave their games on short notice all the time.

      It’s basic game functionality.

    • Loiosh says:

      The dev team posted why on Shacknews: link to shacknews.com

      “It was a mix of two things. Added tension where if your hired mercenaries die, you should let them stay dead instead of a quick load key press. Also budget limitations, dumb excuse I know. Restoring AI Behaviors (last round I ran first and applied a buff to A, and I am suspicious of B, and I heard a sound at X) , partially fired events and triggers (ie After 4 guys killed, spawn 4 more guys) would have been error prone and we didnt want to do another delay, nor did we have enough test resources to find all these save game issue.”

    • richiec576 says:

      If anyone is looking to play the game for free, before they purchasing it, (it’s $19.99 on steam), then I just used this keygen right now. Worked for me. link to youtube.com

      • LaundroMat says:

        What? I backed the game on Kickstarter, so I’m not looking for a “key”. I’m just wondering, what’s this (probably spam) YouTube link about?

    • neofit says:

      Thanks for the info. Checkpoints = no sale. I have enough games to play that don’t have this crap.

  2. mondomau says:

    “because their is light at the end of the shadow.”

    Psst. Jim! Quick, before anyone notices!

    Re: The toolkits etc. – is there any truth to the rumour that the guns are nearly impossible to mod and that this is linked to planned DLC or is that just the tinfoil brigade?

    • LionsPhil says:

      There are Steam Overlay popups in a couple of the screenshots, too. The shame!

    • solidsquid says:

      I believe you’re not able to add new assets to the toolkit, so no new models or anything, but I suspect you’ll be able to modify stats on existing equipment if you don’t mind using the old models

      • dragonherder says:

        You are able to create new props for the game (there is grasses, a naked girl in a bed etc already in the steam workshop) they however will not let you modify / create new weapons etc…. Things that would fall outside the shadowrun universe in general as far as your character development would go are a no no entirely.

    • epmode says:

      From what I’ve heard, Unity is not friendly with modding in general and the entire game would has to be recompiled when new assets are added (new models were specifically referenced, not sure about new textures). The fact that this gives Harebrained an easy revenue stream in asset expansion packs may just be a “lucky” break for them.

  3. razgon says:

    Very nice, and I’m positively surprised by this and other reviews in how well they seem to have done, given the short time they’ve had to finish it.

    As for the lack of savegames-they’ve stated multiple times it was a financial and time constraint, and honestly, it doesn’t really bother me. Sure it will be annoying at the few times something bad happens to your computer but hey, lets be honest about it – it probably wont be that big a deal.

    • Harlander says:

      One of the other reviews complained that the lack of free saving can harm your ability to go back and try different decision points. I can see that, but in general it doesn’t bother me too much.

      • dragonherder says:

        There is a rewind feature if they really really want to go back to earlier points…

  4. rustybroomhandle says:

    Looking forward to playing it this evening. Short campaign does not bother me. These days I prefer shorter games that I’ll actually finish.

    • Alder says:

      Same for me. 12 hours campaign will perfectly fit.

    • Martel says:

      I think I’m with you on that. I’d rather have a shorter game that I want to complete than a long game I move on from halfway through.

    • adwodon says:

      Fully agree, recently graduated and went on a bit of a splurge. I used to own a PC and a 360, now I also own a PS3, 3DS and a WiiU. Enjoying them all but between my job, social life and other things I don’t have time to dedicate hundreds, or really even 10s of hours to a game.

      Some games may be different, I’m certainly looking forward to Project Eternity and Torment but I imagine I’ll be playing those games for years, not because I’ll be playing more than most, it’s just I imagine that’s how long it will take me to get through those games at a comfortable pace!

    • zdeno84 says:

      anyone played ‘driftmoon’, another smart rpg you can complete in 15 hours? I really prefer quality over quantity these days.

    • EOT says:

      I’m with you there. I’ve played 15 hours of Expeditions: Conquistador recently and, having just finished the first island, am wishing it had come to a close. Enjoyable as the game is, knowing that the game has at least another 15-20 hours left in it fills me with dread.

      I don’t have the time or attention span to tackle 50 hour epics anymore. Hence why my planned replays of Morrowind, Baldur’s Gate and ToEE will never happen.

  5. Branthog says:

    Was happy to back this with cold hard cash, but a little disappointed by the short campaign (PC RPG-wise – twelve hours is a fucking eternity for console-tykes, of course).

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Or people with stuff to do. Can’t devote tens of hours to every game I own any more.

      • Cinek says:

        I don’t see how that’s a problem. You’ll be able to enjoy game for longer, that’s all.

        12 hours is a joke when you remind yourself that the older RPGs offered gameplay of 40 hours up.

        • wengart says:

          There is a lot to be said for being concise. There are tons of singleplayer games I would like to play through. I don’t want them all, or really any of them, to be 40 hours slogs. Chances are by that time the mechanics will be boring, the story will be overly long, and I will just be praying for the damned thing to end.

          12 hours should be enough to tell a good engrossing story. When you start adding length chances are you are adding fat and not proper content.

        • adwodon says:

          Maybe some people would like an RPG that they could actually finish in a reasonable time frame?
          Those of us with jobs and social lives ( and I don’t even have kids yet ), don’t really have time for massive 100 hour campaigns, I’d rather play 12 hours or solid quality than 12 hours of quality and 28 hours of filler.

          Some games can justify it, I hope Project Eternity or Torment aren’t short but there is absolutely no reason for every RPG to do this. The level editor should provide enough content for die hards anyway.

          • NicoTn says:

            You act like you have to play the game in one sitting… 12 hours is pathetic for a CRPG.

          • Shadow says:

            Step down from your high horse, sir. Games used to be longer, and people didn’t work or socialize or have kids any less back then.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            Less gamers did, low horse.

          • UncleLou says:

            @Shadow The average age of gamers has risen significantly, as has the breadth of the audience, and there are more games released now on more platforms than ever before. So yes, it’s not the same anymore as it was 20 years ago. A game has to have a damn good reason to want to keep me busy for more than 10-12 hours, and most games – even if they’re great – don’t. There’s a certain hybris in releasing games that are very long that is rarely justified by quality.

          • Cinek says:

            As said before – don’t try to finish the game in one sitting. Just take it step by step over time. And suddenly you discover that long cRPGs are deep, amazing adventures.

          • wengart says:

            I flat out don’t want to put 40 hours into a singleplayer game. I don’t care if I do it one hour a night or four 10 hour days.

          • Cinek says:

            Well, I guess that serious cRPGs aren’t your genre than.

          • jrodman says:

            It seems, Cinek, that you have decided that serious and lengthy are the same thing. They are not.

        • Jexiah8bit says:

          I find that short RPGs tend to end before I ever really get invested into the characters or the abilities. If the combat is old after 15 hours, the game isn’t as good as it should be imho. Also, longer games just require more days to finish that’s all. I have dozens of games I haven’t yet finished or haven’t completed all of the sidequests for but I still come back to them on rainy days or when I just don’t feel like playing my flavor of the month. A story can go on forever and still be engaging, just look at the Game of Thrones novels etc.

        • HidingCat says:

          Ugh. I remember Dragon Age: Origins. 80 hours on my first play through. Started a second game, lost the will to complete it. A lot of drudgery in between. I’ll take my shorter games, thanks.

      • Gnoupi says:

        To finally be able to get rid of this bloody backlog… So far I add more hours with the sales and other bundles than I manage to actually play.

        Playing one hour, maybe two per day, a 12 hours campaign would take me about 2 weeks. I buy 2 bundles and a new indie release in the same duration of time.

        I’m doomed.

        So I don’t particularly feel like I need 50 hours of single-player content. At this rate I start NOT going for every secondary quest, I just go for the finish, to lower this backlog, and feel like I actually finish something instead of taking a small bite of everything.

    • Dominic White says:

      12 hours for a single playthrough, with apparently a lot of room for replay, and a full Workshop-integrated editing suite should mean good things in the long run.

      Anyway, shadowrun campaigns get very stodgy if you let them play on for too long. You start ending up losing sight of the street-level grunge and get into poorly defined fights against megacorporation armies and deities.

    • Don Reba says:

      12 hours is a good 3-4 weeks of playing for me.

    • Uthred says:

      The pc master-race schtick is pretty tired, console rpg’s are as long, if not longer depending on genre, than PC rpg’s

      • Cinek says:

        right… I’m sure you walk around the town and see a console RPG that’s longer than a PC one behind every corner. lol

        • drewski says:

          How about every JRPG ever?

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            Not that it’s a good thing, but people are saying RPGs used to be 40 hours?
            It’s closer to 120 for a Final Fantasy game.

        • derbefrier says:

          You really have no idea what your talking about. You should stop before you make yourself look more foolish.

        • Totally heterosexual says:

          You are a total moron.

      • Werthead says:

        Or, quite a lot of the time, the EXACT SAME GAMES. DRAGON AGE ORIGINS is a 50+ hour game if you play it on the PC or the consoles (though it’s better on PC, natch). If you’re not bothered about mods, the same is true of Bethesda RPGs as well.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        Well, to be totally honest I don’t think it’s unreasonable to make a connection between multiplatform releases and shorter game lengths. I don’t think that’s necessarily down to hardware limitations but target audiences.

        So, DA:O’s target audience was really the hardcore, old school wRPG crowd. Most publishers these days, though, would rather target the larger demographics and so cater to those tastes – hence shorter games.

        JRPG’s are often exceptionally long but then for most of those the target audience isn’t /on/ this side of the globe.

        I find myself in agreement with those here saying adult life means longer games are impractical. I still enjoy them though so I really don’t mind the presence of both longer and shorter RPGs in my life.

    • drewski says:

      Really? What’s a console only RPG that you can finish in 12 hours?

      • Arach says:

        Depends,what´s a traditional console rpg(within this price range) without any grind that artificially extends the playtime? With those kinds of mechanics then Shadowrun Returns would be a 40 or 50h game tbh.

        • drewski says:

          Since when does your subjective opinion of what “grind” is define what is and isn’t gameplay?

          • Arach says:

            It defines it for me,I play all sorts of jrpg´s as well and in games like Persona 4 or Xenoblade for instance(among so many others,if not most)a lot of my time is spent in dungeons or combat areas fighting enemies for countless hours without any option of doing anything else because combat is the only way to proceed in the vast majority of those games,crpg´s that you can talk your way through fights,require no grind and allow you multiple options to proceed will obviously be shorter in overall duration,but the crux of the content without the combat is the same or usually longer,I´m not saying this in any derrogatory way even if that´s what makes it look like,but I´ve played way too many jrpg´s to know that that´s how it works for the most part,in a lot of cases they´re almost the equivalent of an MMORPG in those aspects(Xenoblade and .hack being huge on this),so naturally some of them will last longer. For instance,two games of the same era,Baldur´s Gate 2 took me at least 50 to 60h to finish without any grind whatsoever while Final Fantasy 10 certainly took less than that and combat was everywhere,especially between some story beats where to go from point A to point B it would take you to a path that would last for 30 mins at the verty least,combat only,several areas like that,the high road,macalania and that area before the shoopuf that I can´t recall the name. Planescape Torment,a game where you can avoid most of the fighting still takes you some good 30 to 40h to complete,without any grind or any mechanic that delays your progress in an artificial fashion,and that´s not my wording,that´s Sakaguchi´s wording on the jrpg formula(around FF8 time),when I find the link to that interview I´ll post it here so you and everyone can see.

            I can tell you that,as far as what I´ve seen from my wife playing it,even with some grind,Hyperdimension Neptunia took her less than 15h to complete(and costed twice as much as SR),and that applies to some other NIS games as well,and there´s certainly more that I can´t think about now.

    • InternetBatman says:

      It was made on a $1.8m. You don’t have graphics like the screenshot and get an incredibly long campaign for that amount of money.

  6. Mbaya says:

    Looking forward to spending some time with this, great review (“It’s a competently and intelligently written RPG, though. I can’t stress this enough: compared to the heaving tide of shit that we face with most games, this is splendid literature.” is a Steam Quote if ever there was one!). I had never played the original SNES game, but I was rather fond of the ‘lore’ behind Shadowrun (I even played the Multiplayer game that released, which while lacking was enjoyable for a time). They really seem to have nailed the aesthetics, I really like the look of the environments especially.

    I’m not put off by the game length, either – while a wee bit short of my preferences for single player RPG’s, it’s nice to hear it can be enjoyable on a second playthrough, and the news of the editor is just icing on the cake, even if I wasn’t interested in the Shadowrun universe, I think the community will create some stunning content…as long as the base mechanics for the game are solid (which, while you mentioned can be clunky at times, seems enjoyable), so it’s all good.

    I feel the release time could have been better though, it’s unfortunate it’s come right after the Steam Summer Sale, even if some people have some change jingling about in their wallets, many will also now have a pile of games waiting to be played – and waiting may allow for a price drop and some good community content to start showing its head.

    But still, as a backer of the Kickstarter campaign, I am really happy with what I’ve heard about this game (and the details/information while following it). Congratulations to the team at Harebrained Schemes – best of luck on your next project as well!

  7. Arach says:

    Oh man,still over 6h to go,can´t wait to play this,the damn thing has been sitting on my steam library for about a month now,taunting me…

    Like BTaxis said though,Jim hasn´t mentioned the save system,wich consists of autosaves only,wich while I can understand it from a design standpoint it´s still a major bummer,especially since it seems they are very far between,making you backtrack a lot if you either die or have to leave the game,that´s not good.

  8. c-Row says:

    The matrix being one of its weak spots at least keeps it close to the source material.

    • -Spooky- says:

      The decker SR4 need no “hardpoint” to connect to the matrix. They changed it back in SR5, incl. you need a deck – not only a comlink.

  9. Lobotomist says:

    Quote:”There’s another aspect to the overall offering of Shadowrun Returns, though, and it’s clear from the moment you start playing: this is a game that is set up as a toolkit. Sure, they’re shipping a professionally made campaign that probably supports a couple of playthroughs, but what they’re actually shipping is a full-blown campaign editor and the system to easily distribute campaigns. ”

    Just like NWN 1 , isnt it ?

    • -Spooky- says:

      NwN1 got a huge singleplayer campaign. Let hope the best.

      • cpt_freakout says:

        Huge, but bland and uninteresting. I don’t even remember what it was about anymore, other than some plague business. What was great about NWN, though, was exactly what Jim says: it let the community go wild and create some really excellent campaigns, most of which were more memorable (and even better written) than the original. However, if SR provides the same kind of thing, in which the community is still ticking even ten years after, then the quality or length of the original campaign won’t matter. :)

        • RedViv says:

          I think it was about plague, and also platemail and jelly.

          • Zekiel says:

            I recall it being mainly about disappointed expectations. And tears. Lots of tears.

      • Dominic White says:

        NWN1 also cost three times as much at launch.

      • suibhne says:

        Similar to NWN1, sure, except that NWN1’s huge campaign was also pretty bad – one of the worst things Bio has released. This campaign, tho shorter, sounds a bit less forgettable.

      • SyrusRayne says:

        NWN1 also had the benefit of online play, which is a big part of its long-lasting appeal (as in, there are still people who play it,) and Shadowrun Returns doesn’t seem to have that functionality. Not yet, at least.

        Edit: That said, robust campaign editor should be mad wack even without the online-play staying power.

        • Lobotomist says:

          Online things tend to turn into MMOs pretty quickly.
          NWN1 had staying power because of online. But than again, there was many many singleplayer adventures trough all its existance.

          Question is, how easy is to make modules.

      • Crosmando says:

        Neverwinter Nights official campaign was one of the worst RPG adventures I have ever played, full stop. The writing and plot (lol academy is attacked, go find escaped animals!) was just utterly horrid

        • Popcornicus says:

          I’m glad other people thought the campaign was stupid. I bought NWN1 on a Steam sale years ago and couldn’t get past the inane first level. Which user-made campaigns would you recommend?

          • Crosmando says:

            The official expansions and modules (which are pretty good, it’s just the OC you want to stay clear from).

            Fan modules:
            Darkness over Daggerford
            The Bastard of Kosigan
            A Tangled Web
            Alazander’s Trilogy

          • malkav11 says:

            Adam Miller’s Shadowlords, Dreamcatcher, and Demon series of modules. They start a little rough since he’s just familiarizing himself with the toolset and low level D&D blows anyway, but it gets good pretty quickly. He also made one of the best NWN2 modules.

      • Azradesh says:

        Huge? I felt NWN’s original campaign to be a laughable through away that wasn’t even worth the effort to play. And it was very, very short, especially compared to the the Bioware game I’d played before it, Baldur’s Gate 2.

  10. -Spooky- says:

    Uh? The Decker SR4 is not the same, like befor in SR3 or revamped in SR5. The combatsystem should not work, like your example XCom. Why? The Combat works on Initiative Rounds (some chars can do more Action in one combat turn), rerolled after each combat turn.

    The Crossbreed between official P&P ruleset and the computer game sounds a little bit meh for me. So, the question is simple: Which ruleset are they using or they are using non?

    • Emeraude says:

      Not sure I understood your question, so hopefully this proves useful anyway:

      They are using 3rd edition as the main inspiration, but the game uses it’s own set of rules and is not a 1:1 transposition.
      In this, during a Matrix run, the Decker gets to act three turn every one turn in meat space. You alternate between the two during missions that use both Matrix and physical dangers.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      The game is not based on SR rulesets.

  11. Namey says:

    Thanks for the timely review. I was a bit on the fence about this, since out of all the retro RPG revives, this was the least interesting to me. But this seems overall positive enough to make the purchase.

  12. RedViv says:

    Seems like all I expected. Good, good.

  13. kopogtias says:

    I can’t wait for a “Neuromancer”-Like Campaign :OOOOOOO

  14. Gaff says:

    Whilst people might look at a 12 hour campaign and balk, it should be remembered that (i) this is an indie game, and (ii) they aren’t charging you the normal ~$49.99. It’s usually priced at $19.99 (here in the land of the free and the home of the obese, at least), but you can pick it up for $17.99 for the next 12 hours or so.

    I would say $18 for a solid 12 hours of story is worth anyone’s money, especially when it’s a developer who doesn’t have the deep pockets of EA / Activision / Ubisoft et al.

    • Arach says:

      Oh interesting,so they actually regulated the price of this one properly on different regions,here in Europe right now it´s at 12,59€ and the regular non discounted price is 13,99€,usually it´s the same between dollars and euros,good to see that HBS did this one right.

      • SooSiaal says:

        I wonder where in Europe that is, here in the Netherlands the discounted price is €17,09. Not that I’m complaining, preordered it as soon as it was on steam

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Depends on where you are it seems. It’s 19€ with no discount here in Denmark. I don’t know where you are though.

        • Arach says:

          It seems to be a region price thing,you must be on EU region 1 as well,usually they are the same but region 2 apparently gets some games cheaper.

          • Gallimaufry says:

            Woah. Actually, the site in my web browser shows 13.99€ and in the Steam application it says 18.99. They are however both discounted the usual 10% which makes them 12.59€ and 17.09€ respectively. And I’m from Denmark.

            EDIT: A picture of the said weirdness. Big picture ahead. link to img14.imageshack.us

    • Jesus_Phish says:

      A very good point. The campaign alone is possibly worth the admission price.

      The fact you get a toolkit to play around with as well, makes it all the better.

      12 hours for a campaign suits me just fine, so long as the story is good. I often find with longer RPGs there’s always, always a part or two, usually the second or third act that just kills the flow of the game and drags on.

  15. mangrove says:

    Okay, so I ordered it. Let’s give it a good shake and see what falls out!

  16. Alder says:

    Can`t wait to write and design my own campaign with it!

  17. kwyjibo says:

    Has anyone tried the SNES game? I had a go on it last week to see what Shadowrun is about, and while I did plough some decent playtime into it, I ultimately got bored and frustrated by the shit game mechanics which were unsuited even to the 90s.

    How has the game been so fondly remembered and received? The combat throughout the game is awful. You point and click on enemies while stood motionless and watch their health drain away. Only – you don’t have a mouse. You have a dpad. You’re using a point and click interface with a dpad.

    The puzzles are obtuse, and the conversation mechanics awkward. In order to kill the vampire for example, you need the strobe lights, you only ever find out about the strobe lights if you happen to ask a bartender about vampires. Is there any indication that the bartender has any kind of vampire fighting abilities? No. At one point, you set off of bomb ticking that’s attached to your brain. You’re told that there’s a doctor that could help. But you’re not told where that doctor’s office is, it’s all trial and error.

    It gets the setting right though. The cyberpunk, the matrix, the orcs and the shamen. It manages to mix up all these disparate elements into what feels like a coherent universe. I remember the SNES for games such as Yoshi’s Island and Super Metroid. Shadowrun has nothing on those, it doesn’t even come close.

    • Emeraude says:

      Shadowrun Snes was a B game. It excelled in mood, and those that fondly remember it remember it mostly for that. It might have been a bit obtuse, but if perfectly fits some patterns of the point and click genre of the time, so it wasn’t much of a problem for most players back then.

      The Genesis version, also a B-game, was overall the better game, even if it suffered from a couple design issues.

      That being said:
      You’re using a point and click interface with a dpad.

      I fail to see the issue with this. If anything, I quite liked the mix of pad and point and click UI in that game.

    • Myrdinn says:

      I’ve only played the ’94 Genesis version but was blown away by it. Remember, this was the time that Sega released Sonic III, Nintendo tolerated Mortal Kombat 2 in all it’s glory and Akuma found himself for the first time in a Street Fighter game. Also the pinnacle (to some) of jRPG’s was released; FF6. Apart from this however, there wasn’t really any PnP/DnD-esque RPG on the consoles. Shadowrun was very different and might’ve appealed more to the PC crowd (at least I could see how) but the setting was great and I had a bucketload of fun with it.

    • realmenhuntinpacks says:

      As a child in the 90s, it blew my tits off. Like, literally right off.

    • Tacroy says:

      The Genesis Shadowrun game is the “real” version of the game, IIRC the SNES version was stripped down due to console limitations.

      In either case, work is already underway to replicate those classic campaigns in SR’s campaign editor.

      • Shieldmaiden says:

        They’re two entirely different games. I played the SNES one as a kid and the Megadrive one more recently. On my phone, actually, which I still find mind-bogglingly cool.

      • HothMonster says:

        2 different games developed by 2 different studios released ~9 months apart. Both great in their own way but very different from each other.

    • InternetBatman says:

      The atmosphere of the SNES game is great; so very 90s. It does get a bit grindy in places, but it offered the player a virtual city to explore, and usually made the rails hard to see. Also, the wake up in a morgue part of the game is classic.

  18. hjd_uk says:

    I’ve already bough Teleglitch today and i’ve backed Satellite Reign, should I get this too?

    • EOT says:

      Does it sound like something you’d enjoy? Do you have the £13.49 to spare? If the answer to both of these questions is ‘yes’, then go for it. If one or both of them are ‘no’ then you shouldn’t.

      Though I’m not sure exactly why I should be the one to explain this to you.

  19. Dominic White says:

    The thing with Shadowrun is that it’s a setting that lends itself well to short campaigns with poor rewards. The entire concept is that you’re not rich and powerful, but some joe (possibly with cybernetics and magic powers) trying to make a buck out of sight of the really rich and powerful.

    Jobs should be convoluted, never quite what they seem, end in some kind of pathos-laden twist and ideally reward you with barely enough money to cover the expenses, plus possibly some artifact or gadget you managed to squirrel away in the chaos. Ideally, you should end up largely back where you began, a little wiser as you settle into yet another bottle of hooch at your desk/the local bar (the two may be one and the same).

    You might be a badass in your own little circle, but it’s a world where dragons pull the strings of nations, and corporations own entirely self-contained cities within cities, which they rule under their own law.

    • Emeraude says:

      Just look at the structure of what, love it or hate it, must be the most iconic campaign for the P’n’P game, Harlequin. It is written a s a series of rather short contract jobs, and the players can use partial information gathered from all those to hopefully decipher what the hell is going on.
      If anything, it is a perfect set up for episodic content if there ever was one (and that’s coming from someone who isn’t a fan of such).

      • strangeloup says:

        I’d be interested to see how straightforward or otherwise it would be to adapt tabletop campaigns to the game. I never followed tabletop Shadowrun that much, but I’d imagine there’s plenty of material to go on.

        • Emeraude says:

          Some members of the community already have a project of adapting as much of the original written material as they can:

          link to shadowrunidentity.org

          And yes, three’s a lot of material available.

          Last I checked, the work for adapting the original SNES game into the editor was going along well too (just check vids on youtube if you’re interested).

          • SgtStens says:

            Yes, this. You beat me to it. As much as I am excited to dig in to SRR in five hours, I am also eager to watch the progress of Identity. If they accomplish half of what they set out to do, it will up the value of the original game twenty-fold.

    • Low Life says:

      I played a short campaign of Shadowrun a couple of years back, and that took a bit of getting used to. “Okay, so you were quite successful on your last missionjob. Only four of you five suffered major injuries and you can afford to keep living in dumpsters.”

      • Mad Hamish says:

        ah cyberpunk. You don’t get rich working for people. You get rich stabbing them in the back, but then have to live with a large target on yours.

  20. pusheax says:

    The plot twists are rubbish.If you buy this then there are going to be other campaigns worth playing, probably within a few weeks
    I think they barely had enough time to make campaign because most of the time was spent tweaking the editor and tools. I hope Harebrained will take their time to make some new scenarios now that editor is complete and they know what kind of game they’re capable of making.

    Magic feels positively underwhelming.The Matrix bit is not that great, frankly, but at least they made the effort with it.
    Will they be able to fix combat system though? It sounds like they used kitchen sink approach without giving much thought to balance and combat design.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Honestly, underwhelming magic matches the SNES game pretty well.

    • Tacroy says:

      The combat is great, the combat systems need to be thwacked with a balance bat. Pistols need to be refocused completely, shotguns could use some help, spellcasting is a bit limpid (though conjuration is good).

      That being said, the combat itself is awesome (as long as you’re not using pistols). It’s nicely tactical and interesting without being overwhelming.

  21. Ironclad says:

    When I first played through Fallout, I clocked in at about 13/14 hours. I don’t understand people being disappointed at a game that lasts 12 hours. Not everything must be a 100 hour timesink (bethesda) to be good, guys. And that 100 hours should NOT be the industry standard by which to measure rpgs.

    edit: the above was in reference to the following part of the wot i think:

    a) It’s not particularly long, I got through it in about 12 hours, without rushing too much. This, I suspect, is the thing that will disappoint most.

    • Shadowcat says:

      I wouldn’t go near a game which threatened me with a 100 hour play time.

    • elsewhere says:

      +1 to this right here. if i play a game for 12 hours and come away still wishing for more, I know it’s done something right.

    • X_kot says:

      I finished my first 100-h game (Persona 4) recently, and a good chunk of my time was spent either a) watching dialogue or b) grinding random encounters in dungeons. The former kept me going, but the latter really strained my resolve to finish. Time quantity /= time quality, and if an RPG can boil down the experience in such a way that lets me enjoy the mechanics without overstaying its welcome, I’m onboard.

      Spare me the CoDs and GoWs, give me the Hotline Miamis of the world.

      • Totally heterosexual says:

        That’s 40 hours too many for persona 4.

        • X_kot says:

          Yeah, I only managed to complete it thanks to the quixotic goal I set of finishing the remaining uncompleted PS2 games sitting on my shelf. Final Fantasy XII is still there, and I don’t know if I can keep going.

  22. Shadowcat says:

    Speaking of third-party campaigns, I just checked the old RPS article which discussed the developer’s switcharoo from “DRM Free” to “We’re using Steam” to confirm this recollection:

    So yes, Steam’s going to be Shadowrun’s neo-fantastical future lair – exclusively, if you want any DLC or player-created content.

    • Emeraude says:

      Someone had to turn the scissors into the wound and open them…

      • EOT says:

        Wasn’t that something to do with Microsoft and the licensing?

        • Emeraude says:

          Indeed, as far as we know, this is Microsoft’s will enforced, as they hold the license.

          • Dominic White says:

            How appropriate that Shadowrun has to exist in the shadow cast by a paranoid global mega-coroporation with a stake in almost every computer on the planet.

          • Tacroy says:

            They forgot the first rule: never deal with a dragon :(

    • suibhne says:

      That old RPS text isn’t accurate. The actual sitch is here:
      link to kickstarter.com

      In short, non-Steam players will be able to access all player-made content that doesn’t rely on content from the (future) paid DLC. The paid DLC will only be available via Steam due to licensing restrictions imposed by Microsoft, however, so any user content requiring the DLC will also require Steam. Sucks, but it’s not as categorical as RPS reported back then.

  23. Cunning Linguist says:

    My RPG dream is a modern game using the battle system from Grandia 3 , a PS2 turn-based RPG from Square Enix that has not had the attention it deserved. Dynamic and satisfying. The battle system was really smart, based on a clock with different timings for differetn actions, and allowing interrupts of those actions with other actions for making enemies lose their turn. etc… Highly recommended, I almost want to become a game developer just so I can make a game using this system, since Grandia’s developer is sadly no longer with us.

    • Swanny says:

      Grandia. I loved that game- the combat was so satisfying, and really made the game great (The story was pretty much regular jrpg-fare, IIRC). Designing a system like that might be difficult, though, as i’ve never seen anything remotely like it in the years since Grandia came out.

  24. Shantara says:

    I’m quite surprised this article doesn’t mention any of the not so positive aspects of the game:
    – Horrible checkpoint save system, which autosaves only when you progress the main story. No support for manual saves or even save on exit
    – No stealth mechanics, and from what devs said on their forum it’s impossible to add stealth attribute to character sheet
    – Unlimited ammo
    – No corpse looting
    – DRM-free version promised to Kickstarter backers won’t support user generated content and future DLC
    – No weapon modifications
    – A single ‘outfit’ slot for wearable gear

    • Cinek says:

      wow….. that smells like a rather poor execution.
      “DRM-free version promised to Kickstarter backers won’t support user generated content and future DLC” – and that’s just being a plain jackass from their side.

      • Emeraude says:

        Actually; you *can* import UGC with the DRM free version. The problem is that, since the DRM free version won’t be able to make use of future DLCs past Berlin, it will be mostly obsolete as soon as new content is released.

        • Cinek says:

          I guess that kickstarter backers must be pissed off like hell.

          • Emeraude says:

            Those of us that refuse to use Steam, and backed up the game in part because it was to be DRM-free sure are. But apparently our concerns are unwarranted.

    • Emeraude says:

      Apart from the DRM issue, none of the element you mention seem to vary from the video games that inspired this one (well, Genesis one had ammo management, but not the Snes one), I have to say.

      (Edit: yes, I am being somewhat facetious here.)

      • Shantara says:

        None of these are game breaking for me too, though I’m still vary of the save system. Still, I think it’s something that people need to know before making a decision to buy the game.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      The game does mechanically support corpse looting, they’ve just not added drops to characters in the game by default, so it only happens for key events. I can see why, frankly, given the additional work it would have been.

      I can see how difficult stealth would have been to support. Seems like that would have been a game all by itself.

      I would not have wanted an ammo limit, they made the right choice there, imo.

      • phlebas says:

        Recent experience of fine-tuning loot drops yourself speaking there?

    • pusheax says:

      Checkpoint system, I suspect, is design decision, not limitation. It can be a bad design decision though. If there are hard choices in the game you should not be able to reload them in game IMO. That said you should be able to avoid busy work on reload after you died. I do not know how well it’s implemented.

      • dE says:

        What I don’t like about the checkpoint system is the assumption that you have limitless time and perfect control over your surroundings. Stuff does happen and sometimes quite frequently. A simple save on exit function would remedy that. Until then, I’ll be quite pissed everytime I have to re-tread already walked paths because of the savesystem.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        And how will my loading a previous save state harm your experience?

        The arguments against saves are rubbish. Save scumming? So what? Why would anyone interfere with how I play my games? I don’t care if people want to do iron man mode all the time. The presumption of some people!

        • xao says:

          It won’t harm MY experience, but it may well harm the experience the developers are trying to present.

          That said, a save on exit option would be nice.

    • Tacroy says:

      Did any of this game’s predecessors have a decent stealth mechanic? I could never get stealth to work in the old Infinity Engine games, it was entirely too fiddly and unintuitive.

      • Shieldmaiden says:

        I recently started replaying KotOR with a stealth character and I found it horribly fiddly and generally not worth it. I think the only way stealth can work in a party-based game is if it’s designed around splitting up your characters and having your stealth dude do some sneaky infiltration stuff while the rest of them kick down the door. Or if the entire game was based around using stealth.

      • Crosmando says:

        Stealth is actually a pretty important tool in the tabletop Shadowrun, which is why it hurts to see it go in this game

    • residentgiant says:

      I keep seeing these same critiques pop up, to the point where I’m wondering if it’s just the same 5 people who are still bitter about the DRM thing. But let’s address each of them.

      – Horrible checkpoint save system, which autosaves only when you progress the main story. No support for manual saves or even save on exit

      This is due to the way the editor works, really. Because everything works on triggers, keeping track of what’s been triggered and the consequences of each of these actions is more than a simple “save state” execution.
      I agree it’s a bummer but I’d be surprised if HBS doesn’t address it soon, as it’s been the chief complaint.

      – No stealth mechanics, and from what devs said on their forum it’s impossible to add stealth attribute to character sheet

      “Stealth” is doable in the editor, as enemy AI will react to sounds, improper attire (guard uniforms and such) etc. The idea that there has to be some specific mechanic — a button that you press and you’re suddenly invisible — is, IMO just silly, and a rather lame convention of recent games.

      – Unlimited ammo

      This would just be a pain in the ass to worry about. You do have to reload, though. Grenades / explosives and such are finite.

      – No corpse looting

      Possible to do with the editor. Shadowrun’s never really been about looting, though.

      – DRM-free version promised to Kickstarter backers won’t support user generated content and future DLC

      It will support UGC that is created using the initial assets on release, as well as forthcoming Berlin pack. They couldn’t get the rights from Microsoft to allow support beyond that. Sorry to those of you who still refuse to use Steam. All 3 of you.

      – No weapon modifications

      I agree this would be cool, but come on, it’s a nitpick. HBS has said it’s something they’d like to add.
      In the meantime you can create your own weapons in the editor.

      – A single ‘outfit’ slot for wearable gear

      There’s a stash where all of your gear goes. When you’re gearing up for a run, you have to pick and choose accordingly. That’s the way the PnP worked — no lugging around an arsenal and a week’s worth of outfits.

      • Emeraude says:

        Sorry to those of you who still refuse to use Steam. All 3 of you.

        As one of the three over mentioned, a curse on you so casually disregarding the issue. Not to mention dismissing the problems raised by the events.

        May you live the life you deserve.

        • Jim Rossignol says:

          I know a few folks who don’t use Steam. Definitely more than three.

          • El_MUERkO says:


            surely not more than 8!

          • Mad Hamish says:

            I only use Steam begrudgingly. If I can get and play the game elsewhere I will. For a multitude or reasons both good and bad. I’d say there are many like me. The impotent rage still boils inside me when I think of it being required when HL2 came out. As a result of that I didn’t play it til 2010 and on an Xbox 360 to boot.

          • Malibu Stacey says:

            As a result of that I didn’t play it til 2010 and on an Xbox 360 to boot.

            Thanks man, you just broke the irony overload compensator.
            Can’t get another one of those until the shops open again on Monday.

      • Cinek says:

        “This is due to the way the editor works, really.”
        – why would I care? It’s about released game, not the editor.

        ““Stealth” is doable in the editor, as enemy AI will react to sounds,”
        – Awesome. Why isn’t it in the game?!

        “This would just be a pain in the ass to worry about.”
        – Let me guess: Console gamer?

        “Possible to do with the editor. ”
        – Awesome. Why isn’t it in the game?!

        “They couldn’t get the rights from Microsoft to allow support beyond that.”
        – Microsoft forbidden them to release DLCs anywhere else but Steam? Now… either they signed garbage contract or someone is talking BS.

        “I agree this would be cool, but come on, it’s a nitpick.”
        – I thought it’s a part of what Shadowrun is.

        “There’s a stash where all of your gear goes”
        – I think you misunderstood what he posted. It’s not about hauling arsenal of weapons and clothes.

        • EOT says:

          Chucking ‘console gamer’ in as an insult completely invalidates whatever argument you may have had.

        • boromict says:

          “They couldn’t get the rights from Microsoft to allow support beyond that.”
          – Microsoft forbidden them to release DLCs anywhere else but Steam? Now… either they signed garbage contract or someone is talking BS.

          Weisman has a long, long, long history of making bad to terrible decisions with the IPs and businesses he’s created.

          – Bailing on FASA in 2001 with his dad because they believed tabletop RPGs were dead. Paizo, founded a year later, now dominates print RPGs.

          – Spinning off FASA Interactive and all the videogame (and movie and TV) IPs, then selling them out to Microsoft, which is how we ended up with Gitelman’s awful FPS, MechWarrior and Crimson Skies videogame droughts, and now Microsoft stepping in to lock down Shadowrun Returns to make sure they continue to get paid.

          – Launching WizKids, getting enough money from HeroClix to buy FASA publishing and tabletop IPs, then running them both into the ground, leading to HeroClix and all the tabletop IPs getting picked up by Topps on the cheap. Topps laid off a third of WizKids’ staff three months later and shut down Crimson Skies and Shadowrun toy lines.

          – Shadowrun and Battletech tabletop got licensed to Fanpro, which picked up the laid-off FASA tabletop guys; they quit Shadowrun after 4E and disputes with Wizkids, and Shadowrun was dead again until the license went to Catalyst and Topps dissolved WizKids altogether. (Shadowrun very nearly was ground up again after Catalyst got buried by alleged mismanagement of company funds. They squeaked by, but the line’s quality is still hurting from losing some of their best freelancers out of nonpayment.)

          – Do not, do not get me started on what happened to Earthdawn. Ever. I’m glad it’s still around, but it was a real long decade to be an Earthdawn fan.

          So yeah, I stayed away from the Kickstarter because Jordan Weisman was running it and Mitch Gitelman was designing the game, and I’m not surprised to learn it was delayed, ran way over budget and into debt, the team reverted on promises, the game came out half-baked, or especially that Weisman immediately moved on to another Kickstarter.

      • WrenBoy says:

        If its only 3 people then why did they lie about it during their kickstarter? Seems like an unnecessary risk.

        • xao says:

          Because they… didn’t?

          • WrenBoy says:

            In what sense did they not lie?

          • xao says:

            In the sense that they delivered, DRM-free, what they promised would be DRM-free.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Im genuinely not sure if you are trolling but the backer only, not fully supported DRM-free version was only promised after the kickstarter had finished.

            During funding the promise was the more general claim of a DRM free release which contained none of the above caveats. Even with the most generous interpretation this is a lie of omission.

          • xao says:

            They promised a DRM-free game and one expansion to their backers. They’ve delivered the first and are working on the second. At no point did they offer an endless stream of DRM-free content forever and ever to everyone everywhere.

          • WrenBoy says:

            That statement is almost charmingly dim witted.

            In order for them to have promised a single drm free expansion they would have had to mention that the Berlin campaign, one of their stetch goals, would actually be implemented as dlc. At no point during their campaign did they do so. That was another lie by omission.

            You should consider looking up what that means by the way.
            link to en.wikipedia.org

          • xao says:

            Well, hi there moving target! The fact remains that Harebrained promised backers two campaigns DRM-free. Voila, backers get two campaigns, DRM-free.

            If you want to argue that they shouldn’t have released anything until both campaigns were ready to go, instead of releasing Berlin as DLC, that’s another discussion.

          • WrenBoy says:

            They promised a DRM-free game and one expansion to their backers.

            So you do agree that this statement is false then?

            At any time during the campaign did they say their that the DRM Free promise would be limited like this? You keep suggesting that they did. They certainly did not.

            Again, do you know what lying by omission means?

          • xao says:

            The idea that a developer has to enumerate all the things they aren’t delivering is ludicrous. Harebrained schemes also never stated that they weren’t going to send all their backers unicorns and rainbows. Perhaps you should start a class-action lawsuit, because it’s been MONTHS and guess what? No unicorns! No rainbows! Naught but desolation and tears!

            HBS promised two campaigns, DRM-free. Backers got (well, ok, are in the process of getting)? Two campaigns, DRM-free. HBS isn’t responsible for fulfilling promises made in your head. They aren’t responsible for fulfilling promises that you consider to be logical extensions of what they ACTUALLY said.

          • WrenBoy says:

            You do realize that your position is that was not a lie by omission because a lie by omission cannot exist?

            As I said, almost charmingly dim witted.

          • xao says:

            You do realize that’s not my position at all, right?

            A lie by omission requires that the guilty party fosters a misconception. Harebrained Schemes didn’t do that. They said “we’ll give you this, DRM-free”. You then complained “but I want THAT DRM-free too”. And the rational world stared at you in bewilderment.

            HBS didn’t tout, imply, or otherwise give you reason to believe that all future officially released content would be DRM-free.

          • WrenBoy says:

            You may not realize it but it is your position. You can make the same case for any lie of omission.

        • xao says:

          You may not realize it, but it’s really not my position.

          You can’t say the same thing about any lie of omission.

          Again, a lie of omission requires (according to your definition) an attempt to foster a misconception. There is zero evidence that HBS did this.

          • WrenBoy says:

            So you are saying that the omission was accidental, is that it?

          • xao says:

            No, I’m pointing out that it’s not reasonable to expect a developer to enumerate everything that they aren’t doing. They aren’t obligated to produce additional content, DRM protected or otherwise. If they choose to do so, that’s above and beyond the terms of the kickstarter. If it’s an omission for someone to not inform you of everything they aren’t doing, then every communication in every medium is unavoidably rife with “omissions”, which makes your entire claim irrelevant.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Its a strawman to claim I am expecting them to list everything they will and will not be doing in a legalistic fashion. Ive said nothing of the kind. If something is DRM free its DRM free. There is an accepted meaning there which gives a reasonable expectation of a fully DRM free game and that the game will be available on sale DRM free. That is what DRM free means. Anything else is an unusual interpretarion. Its nothing to do with rainbows or unicorns you silly little man.

            Having a general promise during funding and then changing this to a narrower promise after funding has been achieved is a lie of omission.

            They did this for so many of their promises that you cant even keep track yourself for gods sake. You didnt realise that a second city as DLC was never specified til after funding either.

          • xao says:

            Ignoring the ad hominem bolstering of a weak argument, let’s point out that I didn’t make a strawman argument. I just pointed out the absurdity of expecting a developer to list the things they aren’t planning on including. That infinite list surely includes rainbows and unicorns as well as an indefinite stream of DRM-free content.

            You don’t seem to have ever understood Harebrained Schemes’ promised rewards. They never made a “general promise”. You just took a specific promise and erroneously generalized it. Go ahead point out their mythical “general promise”. I’ll wait.

            So, going down your rapidly changing list of accusations:
            HBS broke their promise: Nope. You were unable to provide any evidence of a broken promise.
            Well, they lied by omission: Nope. You were unable to provide any evidence of intent to foster a misconception.
            They made a general promise: Accompanied by nothing but handwaving.

            Got any other spurious accusations you’d like to throw their way?

          • WrenBoy says:

            For starters you dont understand the ad hominem fallacy. Declaring an argument foolish because of the person making it is an ad hominem. Declaring a person foolish because of the argument he is making is not.

            Given your position I find it surprising that you are suddenly asking for evidence.

            Are you now saying that Harebrained specified from the start that the DRM free version would be both restricted and limited to backers? If not I dont see why you would ask for evidence for something you already believe. If so you wouldnt have needed the rainbow strawman.

          • xao says:

            Actually, per wikipedia an ad hominem attack is one made “personally against an opponent instead of against their argument”, which is exactly what you did.

            I’m (still) saying that Harebrained Schemes promised two campaigns, DRM-free to their backers. I’m still waiting for any evidence of a “general promise”. Feel free to provide it at any time. Annnnny time now…

            You should brush up on your logical fallacies. You seem to be as confused about strawman arguments as you are about ad hominem attacks.

          • WrenBoy says:

            “Instead of” does not mean “as well as”. If this does not embarass you, it is probably because you are an illiterate buffoon.

            You will notice that I pointed out your reading comprehension error and then I also slighted your level of education. Had I merely said, you are an illiterate buffoon, your opinion is worthless it would have been an ad hominem.

            The promise of a general DRM free release unrestricted to backers is still on their FAQ for fucks sake. Its not a secret. Here it is with the relevant parts in bold:

            How will the game be distributed when it’s released to the public? What about DRM-free?

            For mobile tablets, Shadowrun Returns will be available via iTunes, Android Marketplace, and the Amazon Android marketplace. For PC/Mac/Linux, the game will be available DRM-free from our website. We are also looking into a Steam release (and potentially Humble Bundle as well).

      • Don Reba says:

        Because everything works on triggers, keeping track of what’s been triggered and the consequences of each of these actions is more than a simple “save state” execution.

        I don’t see how saving trigger state would be any different. I am guessing you are not a programmer, though.

  25. Danny says:

    Does the game feature multiple difficulties?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I thought it did, but actually it doesn’t seem to.

      UPDATE: Yes, it does, I was being blind.

      • Emeraude says:

        Weird, I seem to remember a recent interview of Mr. Gitelman mentioning several difficulty levels.

        Here: link to metalarcade.net

        We’re not going to be punishing. The truth is we’re trying to tell a story, and we want you to have fun and be challenged, but be able to move forward. So, we decided to add difficulty types to the game. So, if you’re the type that just wants the story, put it on Easy mode. But there’s also a hard mode, and a very hard mode.>/i>.

    • BTAxis says:

      I saw a difficulty option in TB’s video.

  26. Tei says:

    Savepoints is one of the few things that can ruin a game for me.

    In a RPG more often than not, I want to just explore withouth hiting the main quest. I think I played more than 200 hours of morrowind withouth advancing the main quest. Of course, I save he game more than once in these 200 hours..

    I want to consider the game in despise this, but them will be to consider the game for other person, not for me.

  27. CaidKean says:

    Really look forward to seeing what the Shadowrun community does in terms of user-made campaigns as well.

    Shame I have to wait until August for my physical Shadowrun: Returns goods to arrive though.

  28. jonahcutter says:

    Shadowrun Returns
    Payday 2
    Teleglitch Die More
    Broforce Beta

    All within the same two days. It’s literally like Christmas morning(s). But with four different Red Ryder BB Guns.

    Not to mention a long list of unfinished games…

  29. Sardukar says:

    Please note: Opifer’s “Life on a Limb” module, part of the Shadowrun Identity project to recreate the PnP modules, is already out on Steam Workshop. 10-12 hours of gameplay, quite freeform, and there is looting.

    • Bahoxu says:

      I love mod-people sometimes. Not even released yet, but already a solid 12 hour extra campaign is available.

      Thanks mod-people!

  30. wodin says:

    I’m sure people will get their monies worth once the user made campaigns hit..you’ll have days of play then…one is reported to be about 100hours long when finished..

    • EOT says:

      That doesn’t sound very appealing for someone with as little time as I. Unless it comes out in little self contained installments.But I’m sure many people will have lots of fun with it.

  31. Crosmando says:

    If Neverwinter Nights toolset is any guide, 99% of the Shadowrun Return modules will be rubbish, but the remaining 1% made by proper modding “teams” of established devs will be shining diamonds. The main problem is that most modders even if they have the technical capability can’t write for shit, so you’ll see a lot of mods with 14-year old English writing class tier characters and assorted fan-fiction (see the NPC mods for Baldur’s Gate).

    The fact that SRR apparently has a (very) easy-to-use toolset (no scripting!) just lowers the bar for entry, nothing more, which means more fan-fiction level writing.

    Everyone should just keep their eye out for official “community” conversions of Shadowrun modules.

    • Bahoxu says:

      The same has been true of all modding communities. Most of it is garbage.

      But that 1% can be really, really good.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I remember relying on a NWN 1 web site (can’t remember the name) for both downloading user-made campaigns, and also a review system where the best ones rose to the top of the list. Is there a site like that for this game yet?

      I think the list was just by user votes, but that was good enough to identify the best ones. There were several memorable, very well written NWN 1 campaigns I enjoyed playing.

      • Dominic White says:

        The game has Steam Workshop integration, so any modules you create are uploaded to Valve’s servers (which are huge, stable and will probably last until doomsday) and can be voted and commented on direct via Steam.

  32. Lucas Says says:

    I feel like a lot of reviews expect 12 hours to be a negative, but for me it’s a huge, huge positive. I want more 12 hour games like this, because then there can be more immediate choices.

    Also, I’m kind of stoked for the level editor. If it’s actually that easy to use, this might be fantastic!

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      In truth is was a bonus for me, because I got it reviewed in time for today…

      But yeah. I dunno. I really like long RPGs.

  33. Zenicetus says:

    The save system is a huge turn-off for me. Otherwise it would be an immediate purchase. I dunno… I’ll have to read more user reviews before deciding to try it.

    What I hate about checkpoint saves, aside from lack of respect for the player’s time and lifestyle, is the way it artificially manipulates tension in the game. Right after a save point, I can act more recklessly, because little time will be lost with a re-load. As I approach wherever the next savepoint is, I tend to be increasingly cautious, because I don’t want to repeat all the stuff I’ve just done.

    Tension and risk should be organic elements in the game, and not artificially manipulated by a checkpoint save system. It may not have been a deliberate design decision — just a result of limitations in the engine. But the effect is the same as if it were an intentional decision to manipulate the player this way.

    Maybe it won’t be so bad if the user-made campaigns can just throw in more frequent save triggers so it’s more invisible to the player? Or is that not possible?

  34. wills4223 says:

    I like the save system. It makes sure you have to take the consequences of your actions with both combat and dialogue. Also considering it is turn based you can get up from the game at any time.

  35. Michael Fogg says:

    Hey commenters! Be useful for once and inform me how this runs on a shitty computer, if you tried it. I mean a real antique piece. It’s mostly 2D so I think I might have a chance here…

    • biggergun says:

      I have no problem whatsoever playing in on a built-in HD 2000. Don’t know if that’s shitty enough, though.

  36. Vargre says:

    Autosave checkpoints are a bitch, no doubt about it. Some worse than others. This one, honestly, isn’t all that bad. Ive read some comments from people who are just rabidly anti-checkpt save and if that’s honestly a deal breaker for you, your kinda foolish. No, your very foolish. Your missing out on a great game for a silly reason. Yeah, its a little frustrating but the game is so much fun that you don’t even notice. I sat down to play and four hours later I was still having a great time. There is a huge nostalgia factor involved. I remember playing Shadowrun on my Sega and loving every moment of it. This is very similar. What Jim said in his review is pretty spot on, as far as animations and what not. Yes, the game is rough around the edges but its SOOOO good. And the fact that the gaming community is going to be able to make up modules and campaigns for it is incredibly cool. Its almost limitless potential for replay is so worth the 20$ it cost. And it amazes me, the high end, big budget games that come out, that cost you 40-60$ and then spew DLC after DLC at you, chipping away at your account one rare ring of the skidmark at a time….and then these guys can deliver with a kickstarter game that, if you loved Shadowrun, you will absolutely love Shadowrun Returns. @ Miichael Fogg…I would think youd be fine. The graphics are beautiful but I don’t think there is anything really high end that’s going to fuck with your rig. They are beautiful in an old school, immersive kind of way. Not a Tomb Raider kind of beauty. I would say go for it….no, im not playing on a shitty computer but I still think it would run fine. Its an old school style game, with old school style graphx.

  37. Oathbreaker says:

    Horrible visual atmosphere. Not terribly awesome combat. Horrible syncing between the running legs of your character and the distance traveled while running – looks like you’re running on an invisible treadmill while slowly moving forward.

    That said, good game. Tiresome dialogue but that’s probably just me. Efforts at making up “cool” slang kind of falls flat with me, but I understand others like it. Ok.

  38. The Laughing Owl says:

    I don’t get why some people are defending this 12 hour long campaign. despite the pretentious “oh I have wife, kids and a job” or “I own 4 other gaming platforms that I want to enjoy as well”.

    Even more modern RPG like Dragon Age: Origin took me over 80 hours to complete doing all side quests/DLCs, and the Mass Effect series took me around 120 hours to complete with all DLCs for ME1/ME2.

    RPG Devs should give the option for players to engage in a 200 hour long playthrough with several sub-plots if they so desire (like in Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout New Vegas) while also giving the opportunity for players with less time in their hands to finish the main plot in around 12~15 hours.

    So if you don’t have time for RPGs like Dragon Age Origin and Mass Effect, simply don’t play them. There are tons of shooters and adventure games with 8~12 hour long campaigns, but don’t come with your shitty excuses of why developers should be ok in making 12 hour long campaign for RPGs and cRPGs that are usually longer than that.

    • malkav11 says:

      Yeah, boy, it’s pretentious to have a full time job.

      Also, some of us employed folks prefer RPGs (especially turn-based tactical RPGs) to shooters or other action games, and there’s absolutely no mandate that that genre must last a certain length of time.

      • Vinraith says:

        To each their own, of course, but I actually do think RPG’s come with a certain effective length requirement. An RPG needs to have mechanical character progression, and needs time to allow that progression to have meaning. That is, I need to be choosing new skills and abilities with time, and have the opportunity to utilize those skills and abilities before better ones come along. I don’t know how you get a satisfying, enjoyable progression of that sort in a 10 hour game.

        Then there’s the simple truth that great RPG’s are about inhabiting a world, and any good RPG world is worth inhabiting for a lot longer than that.

      • Professor Paul1290 says:

        I still don’t think I really understand this problem as I don’t get why having daily time constraints stops you from playing long games.

        Unless I’ve completely missed something, I don’t recall there ever being a rule that says a game needs to be played in one sitting or even particularly long sittings.

        Heck, sometimes I often be playing several long games “simultaneously” in only 1-2 hour bits. I have games of X3: Albion Prelude, AI War: Fleet Command, Spiderweb Software RPGs, and several other such long games that are several months old and still ongoing. Maybe it takes a while, but I do eventually finish them, and I do enjoy them regardless.
        I’ve never had a problem with this, and until other people started complaining about it I thought this was how everyone played really long games. Unless for some reason a game were to force you to finish it in one sitting, length is almost never something that affects my decision whether or not to buy a game.

        Now it almost seems like everyone else has some form of bizarre contagious mental condition that drives them nuts if they even try to go back and pick up something they put down more than a couple days ago, and only a few people haven’t caught it.

      • Nick says:

        I managed to play through BG1+2 (again) whilst having a full time job and a wife. It just took a bit longer to get through…

    • blind_boy_grunt says:

      uuh…like…calm down, maybe? And maybe take your own advice: “…simply don’t play them.” No reason to get upset.

    • Sakkura says:

      Don’t include DLC in the equation, that’s unfair. And also factor in that those games cost more than twice as much at release (even more if you add the DLC).

    • xao says:

      Dragon Age: Origins plus Awakening cost me 90 USD, Shadowrun Returns cost me 15 USD. Given that you spent 80 hours on DA:O, you should only have to spend thirteen and a third hours on Shadowrun to have an equivalent time:cost ratio. If we accept that the first campaign is only 12 hours long, that means that as long as the second campaign is at least eighty MINUTES long, Shadowrun is a better buy. Oh, and then there’s the user generated content.

      The wonderful thing about Shadowrun Returns is that the devs did give players the option for a 200 hour playthrough with several subplots. There are already additional campaigns available should you choose to play them. I love the way you blithely assume that people with time constraints should be limited to “adventure games and shooters”. Why shouldn’t they be able to enjoy a cRPG as well?

    • -Spooky- says:

      Rly Mass Effect? Wich part? *trollolol* SR5 Corebook .pdf 20US$ – x100 h of gameplay with your mates. Beat this and now .. gtfo. XD

  39. Sandepande says:

    This game gives me warm and fuzzy feelings. I like it. Even the checkpoint system, and I’m a hopeless save scummer if the opportunity presents itself.

    Also, someone complained about the slang. This stuff (“chummer” etc.) is simply something Shadowrun has always had. Yeah, it doesn’t seem particularly “street”, but it’s part of the legacy, and thus appropriate.

    • Machinations says:

      Just wait until the game sends you back over 20 minutes or more, through multiple dialogs, merchant trades and gear changes..this was beyond a bad decision.

  40. askarr says:

    For me the acceptability of length is proportional to price point, and Shadowrun isn’t being sold at ‘full game price’, so I can accept a shorter run. Personally I love long RPGs because done well they can feel genuinely epic (in the classical literal sense of the word) which 10-12 hours simply cannot, but that doesn’t mean I’ll rule them out based solely on length.

    For me, the save system is a big deal; I absolutely detest any system that says ‘ok, you can exit the game now but you’ll have to redo whatever it is you’ve been doing for the past twenty minutes’. Just no. It’s lazy. Fix it.

  41. Keroton says:

    Can i just say that for a 13$ game, with built in editor, already promising many more hours and variations of gameplay this is a pretty good start. Its an indie game they just launched it 36 hours ago, I’m pretty sure they are going to fix as much as they can in the future.

    This keeps reminding me of Vampire Bloodlines such an amazing game, such a shame that it got buried by similar stuff like this on the launch, yes there are bugs, unfinished stuff even wasted potential but the game is here, and its here to stay it will definitely get better and better.

    I’m 8 hours into game, and I have lists and lists of stuff that i don’t like about the game design and the game itself, also a lot of game breaking bugs, sure it could have been better by far, but i really think they played it smart with the editor and community. I’m much happier to see that Shadowrun universe is now in the hand of the fans, instead of it being a game without an editor, 40-80 hours of gameplay and an finished/closed rpg with “ill play this again maybe in 3-4 years” re-playability.

    Sure it could have handled both better, but its a 13$ game.

  42. Keyrock says:

    I’ve been playing this for some hours and loving it. This is one of those games, kind of like Piranha Bytes games (Gothic, Risen) that I could easily pick apart. “They could have done this better”, “what possessed them to make this design choice?”, “this seemingly standard feature is missing”, etc. Yet when I play the game I get engrossed in it and really enjoy myself. It’s a “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” deal.

    I’m thoroughly looking forward to building my own campaigns.

  43. jonahcutter says:

    Not very far in. So… responsibility-free “impressions”!

    Lots of options for character creation. Race, class, gender. It’s all represented. You can even build your own customized class if you wish.

    Combat is fun. Feels very XCOM:EU-ish so far. Which works for me.

    Creates the Shadowrun atmosphere pretty damn well. The Shadowrun phrases may make your eyes roll, but they are representative of the universe. I’m glad they got the language right, even if it is silly at times. It’s has it’s own charm, along the likes of the Thief series’ “taffer” and Yoda-esque sentence structures.

    Art design and look is well done, though a bit flat-feeling at times. Shadowrun can be kind of cartoony anyway. But this feels just a bit more so. Though considering the iso-perspective, it makes sense to help make things stand out.

    Animations are… there. No, it’s not bad. But some of the movement feels floaty and detached from the environment.

    Checkpoint saving only is maddening if you need to wrap up unexpectedly. Sometimes you want to jump into a game, but don’t know how long you’ll be able to play or how long the mission will take. Which saps the fun for me, feeling the anxiety I need to rush through a mission instead of enjoy it in detail. So I end up not playing it at all, even though it would be my first choice of what to play. This serves only to limit accessibility. A really dumb design decision.

    The sound design is not great. Cheap sounding and amateurish at times. Particularly weapons. They feel like placeholders. A sound revamp would really add to the experience. Take another pass with your new lootz, Harebrained!

    I’m really enjoying no voice acting. My imagination fills in the gap quite nicely. Reading! I like it! Plus, I don’t have to suffer through tortured attempts at hardboiled delivery of the borderline-silly Shadowrun phrasing.

    No destructible cover stands out as a rather significant corner cut. Yes, I know… small team, small budget. I appreciate very much what they’ve accomplished. But blasting a table with an explosive and leaving nary a scratch detracts from not only the atmosphere, but the gameplay. Perhaps a necessary corner to cut, considering their resources. Nonetheless a legit criticism in a game based around cover and highly destructive weaponry.

    Overall fun, atmospheric game with some rather rough edges and cut corners. Regardless of the imperfections though, the core gameplay is solid and fun. So far, it definitely seems well worth the price of admission. If user-created missions take off, this could turn into one of the best entertainment bangs for the buck out there.

    • Machinations says:

      The more i play it the more burned i feel. Seems that this decision on saves was partially related to supporting ipads. The game is very, very simplistic. This is the first time i feel a RPS review has been off the mark.

      We have to remember that just because a game comes from a indie we sympathize with, the game needs to be judged on its merits. We all need to take our collective blinders off and have a real look. It aint pretty. I a, hoping that user created campaigns will give some actual nonlinerality to the game and more intereting interaction. As it stands, the game feels like a graphic novel with some combat bits attached.

    • SgtStens says:

      I’m almost done with the main campaign; I’m pretty much in agreement with Jim’s thoughts. The game gets the atmosphere spot on, the artwork looks great. Writing is sometimes schlocky but excellent in places with a nice variety of stereotypical characters and some surprises. My main gripes are the fact that magic kind of sucks (shamans in particular are almost useless, IMO) and the decision to make the matrix play exactly like RL with a different skin was pretty disappointing. I did really like the parts where the decker is working in real time to unlock an objective in game-RL while the rest of the team is fighting to protect him. Switching back and forth between the two fights brought some real tension to the game. Also I think in the main campaign, deckers are kind of dead weight with the exception of one or two missions. I would have liked to see them integrated more in the missions like in the previous example.

      The autosave thing really didn’t bother me much. The missions aren’t that long anyway, and the whole game is so short if you wanted to explore other decisions it wouldn’t be a big deal to replay the whole game.

      All in all, Harebrained Games did a pretty good job, I hope further updates increase the customization a bit and tighten up the gameplay, but I’m more interested in what the mod community can do with this.

      Has anyone made a tutorial for the editor yet? I tried playing with it but I couldn’t figure out how to do anything; I’m a complete noob to modding/level editing in general but this could be a fun place to start.

      I am really excited about the Shadowrun Identity project (I’m already subscribed to the first chapter on Steam community) and I hope they pull off even some of what they’ve set out to do.

  44. biggergun says:

    >is not that great, frankly, but at least they made the effort with it

    I don’t know, I feel this kind of sums up the whole game. Their excuse for not adding quicksaves, was, if I’m not mistaken, “we don’t know how to do it and we don’t have enough money to hire someone who does”. The animations and character models are downright horrible, first NWN had better ones.
    It is incredibly cheap, though, at least here in Russia, and decently written, so no regrets for preordering. It’s just not something you’d expect from a million-dollar kickstarter.

    • Reefpirate says:

      I think the game is great so far, and it’s the kind of feeling that I think will stick.

      I think it feels like a $1 million game. I think people don’t realize how easy it is to burn through $1 million when you’re working with a small group of professionals. Considering the quality of the art work, the editor tools, and the well written campaign I’d say they spent their money well. And I really don’t think they’re done with the game yet. I’d expect more official campaigns, new character options, etc.

  45. Zorn says:

    I am simply not enjoying Shadowrun Returns. The art looks pretty, but it just feels like I’m clicking down a linear path. The world doesn’t feels like it cares. I’m not expecting great production values like Fallout and JA2 had them. It’s just not clicking for me. I want to like it but I just got no ambition of starting it again. It feels more like an editor with an example campaign optimized for tablets.

  46. quicktooth says:

    I have just finished the campaign and I have to say I agree with Jim on all points. The save point problem was annoying but only actually bothered me once. The writing, art, and options in the game (not to mention NPCs) were really authentic, as Jim says. This really is Shadowrun, as expected from the people who invented it. It was funny, shocking, interesting, and very very fun. I backed it and I’m very glad I did.

    Problems included the save system, an occaisonal lack of multiple ways to solve problems (but that’s to be expected on their budget), and the frustration of not having a decker to hack stuff on many occasions (even with an NPC in your party- they were either unavailable when I needed them or simply couldn’t hack whatever I needed hacked).

    A problem Jim mentions that isn’t actually a problem at all is Magic; I played a straight Mage character (never needed my unarmed combat skills at all), and it was just fine. No problems. Maybe Jim didn’t choose to take along the ‘Blind’, ‘Mind Wipe’ or ‘Heal Wounds’ spells? Preventing a powerful foe acting at all for several turns is a game winner in group fights. And unlimited heals simply saved the group (as well as, to stress again, the blinding) in the final fight; I used up my other heal options real fast. I agree though that magic’s direct damage output isn’t anything like the guns (but with the exception of AOE attacks); but the healing, AOE blasts and especially the blinding made it all worth while. So go at it, all you Street Mages!

    Overall- super fun, lots of real and meaningful character development options, some genuinely disturbing events (in a “let’s GET them for this” way), great story, great NPCs, bugs aren’t sufficient to significantly impair any of the above. Solid 8.5 out of 10.

  47. Ernesto25 says:

    Not sure whether to get this as when i think rpg i think story and interaction as much as combat and levelling up. looking forward to the other kick-starter rpg’s though.

  48. running fungus says:

    Been playing it all day. Very impressed. Great writing. Better graphics than they have to be. And skill trees that are complex enough that my street samurai took one look at what’s on offer for deckers and decided “Yeah, that’s what I pay people to do.” Very, very nice.

  49. thesleeper7 says:

    After finishing the campaign: Not impressed.
    This is not a CRPG as the game is as linear as modern day rail-shooters. There are no side plots or side quests. There is NO exploration in the game.
    The Charisma trait line is useless. I’ve chosen “Academic” and only got to use it ONCE in the entire freaking game, for a lame dialog option.
    Combat is boring and the game is nothing but combat. The “Matrix” is just a gimmick and it was mostly a chore.
    The story starts a being pretty cool, but it ends as being really bland and predictable. Super immortal multidimensional space bugs? Really? You have the freaking Shadowrunner universe and you choose space bugs…(facepalm)
    Game difficulty is set to super-easy. I was playing a high Cha character and took AT MOST 2 other runners for a run and never had any issues.
    I managed to finish the game in 3 game sessions, pathetic. Way too short…Is what i would have said if the game was any good.

    • Darkwings says:

      Exactly that.

      This is far from being an RPG, you have practically no choice to make. You can’t go anywhere and do anything except for the one thing that can nudge the plot forward and that results in loading the next map.
      The autosave feature triggering when loading a map makes it feel even more on rails.

      Even playing different characters doesn’t change the game that much and I doubt that any amount of freedom using the editor can fix the lack of an actual RPG structure.

      All I can see is a decent turn based tactical combat game that just happens to use Shadowrun’s rules. The editor is maybe the biggest selling point for RPG enthusiasts but that’s clearly not enough.

  50. engion3 says:

    It will be a good tablet game at least.