Shadowrun Review

If you’re a fan of Shadowrun, by now you probably know all about Microsoft’s latest FPS title. Unlike the previous Shadowrun game (and unlike the P&P which spawned it), this title is a full-on multiplayer FPS fest. Taking cues from CounterStrike and the Science and Industry mod, Shadowrun combines elements of strategic team FPS gameplay with magic and technology.

Reviewing Shadowrun is a very difficult task. On one hand, you have a game which is obviously a lot of fun, and which can last for years assuming the community keeps playing. On the other hand, you’re paying full Xbox 360 game price for what’s essentially a Live-only title. Online, there’s no doubting Shadowrun’s addictive gameplay and complex tactics. You select from one of four races — each with their own advantages and disadvantages — and use money earned from each round of play to purchase technology, weapons, or magic.

The technology and magic can be equipped, and through a system of what’s essentially power bar-based mana, you can deploy various objects and skills. The things you can do range from making lock-on easier to gliding to spawning healing trees; no matter your gameplay preference, Shadowrun has spells and tech you’ll find useful at one point or another.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the weapon selection. Overall, you’re looking at 8 total weapons in the game, none of which are truly unique. With the universe the game utilizes and the ability to combine magic and science, the developers had the perfect chance to create at least one or two awesome weapons which would be the weapon the game fans talk about, but that wasn’t the case.

Speaking of limited, it’s bad enough that Shadowrun is essentially full price for an online FPS — it’s even worse that there are basically only two distinct game modes. Officially there are three, but two of them are similar enough that I wouldn’t count them as different. When playing Shadowrun, you’ve pretty much got the choice of a capture the flag type scenario, or a traditional deathmatch, and that’s it.

Given the nature of the game (and the direction Microsoft is taking XBL), I have no doubt that we may see additional content in the form of new weapons and maps; but we’ll have to wait to see, I suppose.

Despite a lack of modes, weapons, and solid single player or offline mode to speak of, Shadowrun is still a fun game. Like similar titles, you really can’t be a Rambo-like character in this and plan on doing well against the better players. It’s important to have good teamwork and coordination to maximize your team’s full abilities, and communication is key. The magic and tech may not be groundbreaking or revolutionary, but it’s certainly still fun, and it brings some extra zing to a genre I usually don’t care for one bit.

Graphically, the game is also fairly limited. The animations are nice and smooth and some of the effects are fantastic, but overall the models just seem a little dated by today’s Xbox 360 and Vista standards. They aren’t bad by any means — they just aren’t great.

One of the unique aspects of Shadowrun is the linking between PC and 360 players. This allows you to play against friends and with friends no matter which medium they own the game on, and it does provide an excitement of sorts. Eventually this will become commonplace with titles on the 360 and Vista, but for now…well, for now it’s fun and new!

If you don’t mind spending full price on a game you’ll have to subscribe to Xbox Live to get full enjoyment from, and if you don’t mind a game with repetitive and limited gameplay modes and weapons, then there’s nothing stopping you from getting Shadowrun, as the game is fantastic. The action is fastpaced, and the level of complexity it will take to become one of the best is astounding. If you’re like me, however, you just can’t justify a game costing that much money and offering so little in return. Had this come out at a lower price, it would have easily been a best-seller. As it is now, though, we’ll have to see what gamers are willing to pay for titles with little content.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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