Shadowrun Returns…this game had me enthralled for two reasons> first, its an RPG set in the cyberpunk world of Shadowrun and second, is one of the first successfully Kickstarter-funded RPG's to come out. I ended up getting the game for 11.99$ on GOG.com, and boy Im I glad I did.
I loved the setting of Shadowrun Returns. For fans of the universe it seems like a pretty detailed reproduction of a world which must be familiar to them. I was flabbergasted by the wonderful 2D graphics, with beautifully drawn backgrounds and excellent character portraits. Characters are rendered in 3D which, while not excellent, completely sufficed for me. Good job.
Speaking of the RPG elements, I was mildly disappointed about the lack of freedom. Indeed, the fact that the story and the entire game is completely linear, should not come as a surprise to anyone so lets skip that. What I am talking about is the player creation screen. Now, you certainly have many choices to make such as race (elf, dwarf, troll, orc etc) and race (samurai, decker, shaman etc.). At first, I was taken about by the amount of (new) classes because you do not see these in other games.
Alas, I quickly identified Samurai with speciality in ranged weapons as the most viable solution - I had the impression that deckers and samurais were better as supporting characters (you can hire NPC's to help you out in missions). I was right. In fact, I never regretted my choice, and seeing how must other characters sucked compared to my samurai troll with 120 hp and 80-99% chance to hit at any distance.
The tactical combat is enjoyable, although usually quite small in scale (you will rarely face more than 3-6 enemies at any given time). Also, I found the segments in the "Matrix" (a cyber reality - not as cool as it sounds) to be drawn out and boring.
The game was fun, no doubt, and I would recommend it to any RPG fan. Just know that it is very linear and limited in its RPG elements. Hats off to Hairbraided Games who used the 1.8 million$ they got from Kickstarter to create a satisfying, albeit limited, experience. Hopefully the Berlin expansion will change this.
Recommended for RPG fans if you can get it a decent price (MAX 15$).