Anonymous of Holland            -A Dutchman in Korea-

    Helo welcom 2 my websight

Anon of Holland Reviews: Shadowrun Returns

You might’ve heard about a little thing called Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a website where a creator, or team of creators, can post their dream project and regular Joes like you and me can pledge money to these projects to help them become a reality. The first major video-game related news regarding Kickstarter was Double Fine’s massive 3,3 million dollar haul back in March 2012. Since then, many amazing projects have gathered enough funds to start development, including adventure game Dreamfall, God game GODUS, point and click adventure Broken Sword and old-school RPGs like Torment, Eternity and, you guessed it, Shadowrun Returns.

While Shadowrun Returns wasn’t the first actually anticipated Kickstarter game to be released (that honor goes to Faster Than Light), it was the first one that I was personally interested in. Since it was funded before I even knew Kickstarter existed (I only got into this wallet-consuming business with Project: Eternity) I didn’t have a chance to pledge to their campaign, but now that it’s released on PC I took it as a chance to see what we can expect from a Kickstarter game with a budget of (less than) $1,8 million. The short answer is; quite a lot, but not too much. But let me go into that a little more.

If you’ve never heard of Shadowrun, I wouldn’t blame you. The only game that was released during my ‘gaming years’ was the terrible Xbox 360 game, which quickly sank into obscurity due to..well..being terrible. The last real Shadowrun game was released on a console I pretty much forgot even existed while I was still playing Turtles, Sonic and Mario back in 1996. But now it, so to speak, RETURNS, and although I can’t compare it to its predecessors I think I’ve played enough games to come to a decent judgement on it.

In any event, Shadowrun Returns is a Turn-Based Sci-Fi RPG based on the Shadowrun Pen and Paper Roleplaying game world. We’re playing in a kind of dystopian future where magic and technology go hand in hand and Trolls, Elves and Dwarves walk the streets together with regular (or not-so-regular) humans. Shadowrunners are sort of like special agents that shady figures can hire to do even shadier jobs like assassinating someone, stealing valuable objects or hacking into a corporate network. You play as one of these Runners, of course, and after you’ve created your character you are thrown straight into the story without as much as a tutorial. A friend of yours has bit the proverbial bullet and wants you to avenge him by bringing his killer to justice – sounds easy enough, but this seemingly rather mundane task quickly spirals out of hand into a web of mystery, intrigue and danger.

The plot is really where Shadowrun Returns shines; not only is the overarching story extremely original and compelling without ever becoming cliché, the dialogues and descriptions are also of impressive quality. I have to admit I was extremely surprised by the direction the story of this game took as it certainly doesn’t tread any of the conventional paths – instead opting to start you out on a sort of murder mystery, only to change the entire goal of the game about halfway through. It’s very refreshing to see this kind of more personal story evolve to something bigger as opposed to the usual getting-thrown-right-into-a-saving-the-world scenario. As I mentioned, the dialogue is top notch as well; characters speak in a way that fits the setting extremely well, and every character has a noticeably different personality. It was a very strange feeling reading through Shadowrun’s dialogues, as it felt just like reading a good book at times. Even though there isn’t an overabundance of dialogue and none of it is voiced, it still felt like it was a thousand times better than what I usually see in games. So Hairbrained definitely deserves a lot of kudos on that front.


Another aspect that works extremely well, in my opinion, are the graphics. I say ‘in my opinion’ because there seems to be a pretty big disagreement online about the way the game looks. Personally, I love the hand painted backgrounds interacting with the 3D characters and the way some panes move over each other when I pan the camera, but I could see how people could find this art style to be more like a mobile game than a PC game. Certainly it doesn’t look as detailed as the old Infinity Engine games, and of course it’s nowhere near as impressive as recent PC games. It does feel a bit like a flash game, I suppose, but comparing it to that really doesn’t do it any justice. I think the style Hairbrained has chosen works well for this game and it’s clear they worked hard on creating interesting designs and filling all the environments with believable and realistic props, but maybe some people would’ve enjoyed it more if there was a bit more going on in those backgrounds. Some flickering lights, moving parts, stuff like that. As it is, it is kind of like your characters are walking across a painting, which I guess could be a bit weird.

The gameplay, I feel, is a bit more of a mixed bag. While the Turn Based Combat is certainly enjoyable, it seems to lack a certain something that a game like for instance XCOM did have. What that certain something is though, I have no idea. There’s plenty of skills, special kinds of bullets and magic attacks to make the battles quite interesting, but nearing the end of the game it all becomes a little formulaic. There’s lots of tactical decisions to make though, and especially on the higher difficulties you’ll really be using your brain trying to find out how best to tackle certain confrontations. With 6 wildly varying classes to choose from and up to 3 extra team members, there’s some real depth that you won’t easily find in a non-turn based game.
Speaking of classes – for your player character, there are none. Although the internet seems to think this is an affront to everything that is holy, I don’t really see the problem. This allows the user to create exactly the kind of character he or she wants to make. Want to be able to summon spirits but don’t want to hide behind walls constantly while your monsters battle it out? Just invest in both Spirit Summoning and Ranged Weapons and you’re ready to go. Want to be a kickass Street Samurai who still knows how to hack into a console? You can! In my opinion this is so much better than a fixed class system, and it really allows you to play however you want.

With that, however, it’s beginning to become time to discuss the less terrific parts of the game. ‘Play however you want’ might, in fact, be kind of an overstatement. While you might expect, in an old-school RPG, many different possible solutions to a problem, in Shadowrun Returns all those stats really don’t matter all that much. Your +5 charisma might be used maybe 4 or 5 times during the entire game, and won’t actually have much of an impact at all. Some of the ‘etiquettes’ that get unlocked for having high charisma only get to be used once if at all, and all conversations will basically only lead to one conclusion. So, if it’s freedom we’re talking about, Shadowrun unfortunately doesn’t even deliver the kind of pretend-freedom that a game like The Walking Dead pulls off so well. Conversations are not the only place where this problem is felt, as there’s usually only one way to proceed throughout the levels as well – killing everyone and everything. Decking (kind of like hacking, but you sort of enter the ‘computer world’ via an avatar) is only used once or twice to solve a problem while in a cyberpunk world like that of Shadowrun it is supposed to be one of the most fearsome weapons available, and since there’s no stealth options brute-forcing it is the only solution in the majority of the game’s conflicts.


Now, it could be that Shadowrun was never about this kind of thing. Maybe Harebrained just wanted to make a cool Turn Based Action game, I don’t know, but I think it could’ve really benefited from a more RPG-heavy approach. A fault that is 100% objective though, is the terrible save system.
You might’ve heard people complain about it online about as much as people complained about Mass Effect 3’s ending because, yes, it is just as bad. Basically, you cannot save the game. At all. It saves on checkpoints that are sometimes 15 minutes apart, and sometimes much, much longer. You should only play this game if you have no social life and can afford to spend 6 straight hours a day plowing away on your computer because otherwise you’re gonna have a bad time. And that’s just inexcusable. Not because I have a social life, but because I had to replay the start of a mission like 5 friggin’ times because my guys kept dying halfway through because I made some stupid decisions. The ability to save your game is about as basic as it comes, and there’s simply no excuse for Harebrained not to have included it.

Of course, it might be included in a patch. And here’s something else I’ve noticed online; many reviews talk about how the base game isn’t that great, but ‘the community will certainly elevate this game to new levels, so 8/10.’ That’s like giving Oblivion and Skyrim a good score because the modding community might make them less shit. I like to judge a game by what it is, and at this point Shadowrun is a very enjoyable but sort of barebones experience. The story, while very good, is quite short and extremely linear; there’s the saving issue, and the gameplay is rather mediocre. While I do believe that the community might be able to make some awesome stuff using the editor, I don’t see what that has to do with the merits of this game. The simple fact is that Shadowrun is a good game, but unfortunately not a great one.

The Good: Engaging story with quality writing; Interesting setting; Appealing graphics
The Bad: Mediocre gameplay; Save system; Short length; No replayability due to superficial RPG mechanics
Verdict: 6/10



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

For e-mail updates!

Join 68 other followers

Forgotten Tomes


  • 25,837 Minds Expanded


Are you hyped for the #WinterOlympics yet?
Because the Korean government would really, really like you to be #hype!

I've never really been into the Olympics, except for that one time when the guy who was born in the same town I lived in (#GianniRomme) was raking in Gold Medals like it was one of those coin pusher games - and even then it was mostly because my school was making a big deal out of it.
As such, I'm not very interested in the Winter Olympics either, even though this is the first time I'd be able to attend the events myself and watch my country's athletes get burried in speed skating medals.

Still, I hope Korea will put on a show - and a performance - to be remembered for years to come.


#Olympics #Olympic #Korea #Seoul #Lotte #Departmentstore #SooHorang #Christmas #decoration #decorations #shopwindow #shop #pyeongchang2018 #pyeongchang #평창 #평창2018 #올림픽 #겨울 #수호랑 #스타크래프트 is love #Starcraft is life.

Being a Starcraft fan in Korea feels a lot like what I'd imagine being a rich acquaintance of Ronaldo would feel like for a football fan - you get front row seats to all the major games, get to meet legends like Messi, Robben or Buffon (in our case, Byun, SoO or Stats) and get to ask for their signature pretty much whenever you want - all without paying a single penny.

The professional scene has been taking hit after hit since I started getting interested in it, and I'm afraid it'll never be the same as it once was, but I'm glad that in 2018, as well, I'll be able to enjoy some of the best e-Sports the world has to offer.

#WingsOfLiberty down, #HeartOfTheSwarm and #LegacyOfTheVoid to go.


#스타2 #스타크래프트2 #Starcraft2 #Byun #TY #Maru #INnoVation #esports #gaming #progamer #Korean #Korea #e스포츠 #진에어 #진에어그린윙스 #SKT1 #Dark #collection #collector #PC #RTS #변현우 #이신형 #전태양 #조성주 처음 한국에서 @kim.minji.ki204 가 그린 책을 발견할 때부터 (그 #책 읽을 수 없어도, ㅎㅎ) 한 순간엔 큰 #팬 되었고 작년 #서울일러스트레이션페어 에서 직접 만날 수 있어서 너무 즐거웠다.

이제 인스타로 새 책을 받을 수 있는 이벤트가 있어서 당연히 참여해야지~

#kimminji #thejunglebook #정글북 #정글북리그램이벤트 #indigo 한국에서 역사랑 현대 항상 어떤 이상한 발렌스로 공존한다.

In Korea, the past and the present are always living together in some sort of awkward balance.
Traditional norms, values and traditions clash with the influence of a rapidly modernizing and developing society; pride in one's roots compete with a constant need to move forward, and historical buildings vie for room to breathe in the middle of a metropolis.
I hope Korea manages to move forward without forgetting the things that make it unique.


#대한민국 #한국 #절 #불교 #봉은사 #역사 #현대 #발렌스 #서울 #Seoul #Korea #SouthKorea #Temple #Shrine #Buddhism #Buddha #traditional #Buddhist #history #present #balance #City #koreantemple #development #Metropolis #tranquility #modernization This is such an #unoriginal picture but..doesn't it look just like a #postcard?

#Seoul #Korea #SouthKorea #Namsan #NamsanTower #City #Road #Traffic #Korean #mountain #trees #green #NSeoulTower #Tower #서울 #도시 #남산 #남산탑 #산 #탑 #도로 #엽서 #그림엽서 #남산타워 On some nights, when I'm feeling all beat down by stress and worries about whether or not I'll be able to support myself over here or where my life is heading, and when I'm just drunk enough, when I see the second snow of the year coming down outside my window, I just can't help but go outside, play some music and dance in the snow like an idiot because for some reason it just reminds me of how much I love being in this country.
Fuck you, Korea. I love you.
#secondsnow #firstsnow #둘째눈 #첫눈 #Seoul #서울 #snow #눈 #Korea #SouthKorea #Korean #Life #Street #KyungHeeUniversity #KyungHee #경희 #경희대 #dongdaemoon #동대문구 #이문동 #winter #겨울 #atmosphere #분위기 #reallylongsentence
%d bloggers like this: