First off, I didn’t play the original games nearly as much nor do I know them nearly as well as many of the longtime fans of this beautiful game. But you don’t have to know what this game is to enjoy it. Shadowrun Returns is a remake of a Nintendo and Sega classic set in a cyberpunk world. The action is turn-based and the gameplay is heavily story-driven. Lots of reading is required and it doesn’t harm the experience one bit. I think the game wouldn’t be as fun without it.
Shadowrun plays like an interactive novel, except the ending isn’t known and many consequences of your choices can’t really be predicted. This is good. It makes the experience feel much less on rails and very suspenseful. The flavorful narrative and development of the other characters you meet keep you anchored in the moment and grounded in the world of shadows. The game comes with one full campaign which is reasonably long and a full editor to allow players to create their own content. There’s no multiplayer and the game is available on PC (it’s coming to Mac soon).
As you adventure through the campaign you’ll meet dwarf morticians, elf deckers (hackers), troll mercenaries with cyber implants, and orc riggers (engineers) with their bots. You’ll dine in the shadows and get access to the world of underground surgeons and runners looking for their next gig. Harebrained Studios is currently working on a new campaign already.
The real promise of the game lies in the power of it’s editor. I’ve tinkered in it a lot and it’s got strong potential. In the coming months, I expect players to share mods that are even better than the original. As a story-telling tool, this game is a must have for any serious role-player and even for artists and writers looking for a fun tool to be creative with.