2008-12-07 21:46:16


As a site primarily dedicated to Roleplaying with a video game column I am obligated to review Shadowrun. I as a Roleplayer have been dedicated to Shadowrun since 3rd Edition started. I was first made aware of Shadowrun's existence in 1998 when I saw my friends with one of the 2nd edition books. I became entrenched in it in 1999 after meeting up with some gamers in the military. It's a great cyberpunk story, downtrodden non-citizens of a corporate controlled government being used as pawns in corporate power plays.

When I heard that Shadowrun was returning to the Xbox 360, I had visions of Shadowrun the SNES or Genesis title, doing missions, living the cyberpunk lifestyle. what I ended up with was Counterstrike with some long distance roots to Shadowrun. Alright, now that you know what shadowrun is let's look under the hood on this piece of shit.

Almost all of the races of Shadowrun make an appearance, with exclusion of Orcs, I guess they just weren't different enough from the humans to be balanceable. Especially since this game doesn't give a shit about Charisma scores, Orcs are pretty much useless to feature in an FPS. I first started the game up thinking alright it's time to learn what it takes to be a part of the RNA corporation so I can start doing some shadowruns. The tutorials were great, very well detailed. The voice over was great and I got a handle for all of the capabilities of all the races and all of the gear. I was psyched to do some serious shadowrunning, I finished the 6th tutorial, this is when my hopes and dreams were crushed to ash and dust.

THERE IS NO SINGLEPLAYER CAMPAIGN! what the fuck, for 60 bucks all I got was a box full of tutorials and shitty counterstrike clone multiplayer. RPG franchise converted to FPS for a quick buck. The game should have been a value title at 50 bucks, but instead it's a full blown 60. After beating the 6 single player missions you're invited to play bot-matches or get engaged in online. Online happens on all of 4 maps, and the objective is one of 2 things, Capture the Flag, or Capture the Flag. Now you might be thinking Gee Raging Geek that's only 1 mode twice. Nope there's a variant on the original Capture the Flag, one variant lets both teams take the "Artifact"(read FLAG) to their scoring box, the other only allows 1 team to carry it and the other has to defend it. That's all she wrote folks.

Now Shadowrun is a rich IP, filled with backstory, dragons, corporations, races, magic and wonderment. What do we get? we get some well thought out and balanced races, and absolutely no Shadowrun Flavor. Shadowruns weren't FPS shoot'em ups. Shooting sprees were things that were to be avoided at all costs in the RPG, as guns in that game are very deadly. Let's look at all the points the Microsoft dipshits failed to spend even 5 seconds to incorporate IP for flavor into this game. Had they done this I might have forgiven a handful of the slights this game has committed.

1. Corporation Name: RNA. - Does the RNA exist in Shadowrun? No, RNA was never the name of a Corporation. They could have used Aztechnology or another corporation interested in Magical Artifacts, but Aztechnology would've made the most sense in this setting.

2. Weapon Names: Pistol, Shotgun, Rifle, Sub-Machine Gun, Sniper Rifle, Mini-gun, Katana. - Not a single flavor entry for weapon types. Could've put in things like the Ares Predator III for pistol, or Vindicator Mini-gun for the Mini-gun, but they couldn't even waste the time to open a shadowrun core book to see the names of things in this IP.

3. No Stealth - there is no way to stealth in the game, half of Shadowrun was in Stealth.

4. No Hacking type missions - Hacking (known as Decking in Shadowrun) would've added flavor, but no gametype generated for this scenario.

Basically the game consists of you choosing a race(Elf being the dominant one online, followed by Troll then Human, almost nobody is a Dwarf) and you are allotted 2000 credits to start with, everytime your team wins you get more money, lose and you get bare minimum money. gameplay lasts for something like 7 rounds. Win by killing all enemy or capping the artifact. Exact same gameplay as counterstrike, you buy gear you buy spells, and you buy weapons. Only slight difference is in the use of gear and magic. but all of them are mounted into your triggers and bumpers.

In the end this is a game that rapes the IP by only sharing a name and the most superficial of linkages to the gameworld. It provides a very well balanced and rich shooter environment and is the first of it's kind to be a cross platform(PC/Xbox360) capable online game. The game feels shorthanded with only 4-5 maps and no campaign, and the lack of flavor really adds insult to injury for RPG veterans coming to the IP in search of a digital Shadowrun Experience. Microsoft has my 60 bucks but I chucked the game to gamestop rapid quick, hopefully Microsoft spends that into bettering their future IP releases if they plan to do so for Shadowrun. I give this game 7/10 because mechanically and from a non-RPG vet perspective the game is very tightly wound, but the lack of a campaign has pissed off a lot of people RPG player and Xbox Hooting Dickhole alike. In closing I'd like to imitate what I believe to have happened over at Microsoft when it came time to build this game.

Dev Lead: Okay so we need to make a game that will make us a lot of money, I'm having a brainfart at the moment so anyone got any good ideas? maybe some IP we own that we can market?

Dev1: How about Shadowrun, there hasn't been a good capable Shadowrun game since Super Nintendo.

Dev Lead: Great Idea, but we're not RPG writers here, but that games got guns in the IP doesn't it? well hell we can turn it into an FPS then, I'll get to writing.

Months Pass...

Dev Lead: okay I have scripted up a beautiful and thoroughly built concept for how we want to make this game, lets get cracking.

Devs spend time building Races, Smartlinks, Spells, and texture work, Voiceover acting starts...

Marketing Junky: Hey guys glad you can be with me today

Dev Lead: *groans* glad to be here *attempts to hide his disdain for marketing*

Marketing Junky: well I've been talking with the Xbox Live Team on some interesting stuff they've been working on. They've been working on cross compatibility of Xbox Live with Vista and Xbox 360. and since your further along than some of the other games we have in dev we wanted yours to be the flagship for this functionality. So make multiplayer support your focus until we get all the bugs ironed out.

Dev Lead: Whatever you say.

Back at the Dev Dugout...

Dev Lead: hey guys guess what, looks like we'll need to get working with the Xbox Live team and start working on making this a PC/Xbox360 game and make both pieces work with Xbox Live.

Dev2: well sounds like we should be able to get the 360 stuff up and running in no time, let's focus on that and then get the PC integration from Xbox Live Team.

Days later the team gets a working deathmatch setup for xbox 360. months later they finally pin down the PC interactivity...

Marketing Junky: Hey guys I see you guys got a capture the flag going on in your game for both pc and 360. Awesome, well we'll go ahead and ask that you close up the rest of the source code and we'll go to print.

Dev Lead: but the game isn...

Marketing Junky: Looks like a good FPS Counterstrike clone, people pay money for that game they can pay for ours.

End of story: Developer and Consumer frustration.