If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the Forum Rules. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.
Welcome to RPGamer's new forums running under Vanilla Forums! If you're run into any odd or strange issues after our software migration please see this thread for details

A Year of Indie RPGs - September - Shadowrun

redwing42redwing42 Just MonikaFull Members
After a month off, the Year of... series returns. I was going to feature Wasteland 2 this month, but seeing that the console release of that game is next month, we will look elsewhere for now. Instead, we will look at the Shadowrun series. While there have been several games based on the original cyberpunk pen & paper game in the past, we will be looking specifically at the three games in the series released since 2013. Shadowrun Returns was a Kickstarter project by Harebrained Schemes, which is headed by Jordan Weisman. Weisman was on the creative team for the original Shadowrun game on the SNES (1993), as well as on other notable games like Battletech and Mechwarrior. Shadowrun Returns harkens back to the SRPG stylings of that original game. There is a deep character creation and leveling system, along with a solid tactical gameplay system. Perhaps the most interesting part of the game is the editor that comes along with it, allowing anyone to create their own battles, stories, or campaigns to share with others.

Shadowrun Returns was enough of a critical and commercial success that a sequel, Shadowrun: Dragonfall was released in 2014. The third game in the series, Shadowrun: Hong Kong, was released in August of this year. Harebrained Schemes continues to refine the Shadowrun games, making smaller improvements, rather than making sweeping changes to the game's systems. Feel free to jump in to any or all of these games and discuss them here. Enjoy!

Comments

  • flamethrowerflamethrower Member Full Members
    I own the base game at least. Are the others stand-alone?

    You have to create your character, right? That's 'cuz it used to be a pen-and-paper game, and character creation is a staple of those games.
    I'm looking for easy mode. What kind of character should I create?
  • daveyddaveyd Turn-based lifeform PAFull Members
    edited September 2015
    I own the base game at least. Are the others stand-alone?

    Yep, Dragonfall (Director's Cut) and Hong Kong are also standalone. The later games will make a few references to earlier ones but you can play them in any order. I've played all three and loved them, but I think Dragonfall is my favorite. HK seems to be a close 2nd, but I haven't finished it yet as I keep restarting w/ new characters. The first game is still good but a lot more linear and they made some big improvements to combat in Dragonfall.
    You have to create your character, right? That's 'cuz it used to be a pen-and-paper game, and character creation is a staple of those games.
    I'm looking for easy mode. What kind of character should I create?

    You'll choose your gender, your race, a character portrait, and then you'll choose all of your skills and attributes. There isn't a huge difference between races so you can probably choose whichever you think looks the coolest. For your first play through I'd recommend being a Decker, a Mage, or a Rigger. Shamans are a high risk, high reward type class and strength / melee based characters (e.g., Physical Adepts) are a bit harder to pull off in the first game.

    The games are technically classless (you can take skills from any class) so where a lot of people go wrong is trying to make a Jack-of-all-trades... You'll be much better off picking a couple of skills and one ranged weapon to specialize in (Mages don't even really need a weapon). And give your character some charisma if you'd like the option to avoid some fights or get extra money. You can hire / bring along up to 3 other characters on missions, so your character doesn't need to know how to do everything.
    Currently playing (on PC): Hard West, Eisenwald: Blood of November, Dungeon Rats, Wasteland 2, Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire





  • NimNim _ Full Members
    I completed Hong Kong yesterday and I also completed Dragonfall last month. Here are my impressions of Hong Kong.
    Finally finished the game yesterday. I liked it, but in the end, it does not beat Dragonfall in quality.

    During the final mission, the transition icon to progress wasn't interactive, so I had to redo the mission twice before it worked properly. That was a waste of 2 hours of my life. My final playtime according to Steam is 31 hours. I guess that's right if I count some reloads and leaving the game on while doing other stuff.

    The writing is a mixed bag. I liked it most of the time, but by the end, I was just quickly skimming NPC dialog in the base hub because it was a bit much to read and not top quality at all times. It also doesn't help that they for some reason felt it is a good idea to have the text to the right for the third time. Just put the text on the lower part of the screen. I don't mind a lot of words in my games. There was a lot of cool stuff to read, but not all of it was good or well written. It's a bit jarring seeing some really well written sections and then some that are clearly not as good. When it comes to the main story: It was decent, just not anything super exciting. I'm not satisfied with the lead up to the ending. I didn't feel that there were enough missions that directly had to do with our main objective. In the end, I say the main story missions were decent, but again not on the level of Dragonfall.
    The writing was mostly good during missions, with some misses here and there. Overall, I can't really complain though, but i was not at the same level as Dragonfall. The female companions weren't amazing but still better than Glory and the annoying decker, I always forget his name.
    Duncan wasn't bad, but very predictable. I liked Racter and Gaichu. I also like the cyberware dude NPC. The other NPCs, I didn't care much for. The Plastic Faced Man was really underused. I was expecting to see more on that front. I was looking forward to the confrontation with him, the omemtn I have been waiting for finally happens and it turns out to be one of the more underwhelming missions in the game.

    I felt that this was the easiest game of the three HBS Shadowrun games. (I do play on Normal.) I got to reload the game once during a run because I accidentally killed an enemy that I wasn't supposed to (and when I had issues with a game breaking bug during the final mission), but not for dying. Gaichu and Racter are incredibly good in combat, and the same goes for is0bel and Duncan. On one hand, I shouldn't complain, because, to be honest, I hate it when games give you companions that you feel suck in combat. I only wish that we could develop the characters as we see fit and have direct control of their inventories. There a few big fights, but mostly there were not as many big ones as Dragonfall DC. The enemy variety wasn't too impressive. Even Returns was better in this regard if I remember correctly.

    If they decide to make another game in the vein of the three they have already developed, I hope we get a big overhaul of many things. Loot could be a fun addition, but it isn't a must have. Maybe only have it on special enemies. A more open world structure. I'm not saying open world, just make areas feel more connected. I don't want everything to be self contained. Bigger environments, and in general, make the game feel a bit more alive. I also felt that the game didn't run well. It ended up with me checking framrates and what I saw was a bit surprising. It kept going from 60 to 20, to 60 and so on. The game is very poorly optimized. Or maybe my PC is ****, it has more than half a decade on its neck. User interface is in dire need of a n overhaul. The game was developed for PC, make an interface worth of PC games. Everything from quest log to inventory needs to be redone.

    The soundtrack was good. I probably prefer Dragonfall's slightly more, but I'd still say that this was a solid soundtrack that I will probably listen to a couple of times now that I am done with the game. In general, I feel that the atmosphere is actually good. Best of the three games. The game is cool and I am happy to have backed it, yet I feel that it isn't as good as Dragonfall. Not much worse, but it still is a clear second. Much better than Returns, though.
  • daveyddaveyd Turn-based lifeform PAFull Members
    edited September 2015
    Hoi chummers,

    I have two GOG codes leftover from the Kickstarter so I figured I will give them away right here. I have one for Shadowrun Returns and one for SR: Hong Kong. To get one all you have to do is reply to this thread and I'll PM it to the first person who asks... But you can only have one so choose wisely :) All I ask is that you actually intend to play the game and come back and talk about it with us, ask for advice, or complain to me for sucking up all your free time for the next few days.

    @Nim: I haven't quite finished SRHK yet as I keep restarting, but I tend to agree with your impressions for the most part. I'd say most of the writing has been decent but there are some issues... For one, you seem to go from being an unknown foreigner to a respected Shadowrunner, much too quickly. For ex: I would've liked it if I had to complete more runs before I was let into the club. As soon as I started officially working in the shadows, the entire neighborhood seemed to accept me. And I know that they didn't want to make you feel like a complete moron, but since your character is supposed to be a newbie, it doesn't make since for you to immediately be made the team leader..

    The game was definitely easier than Dragonfall... I always played DF on "Very Hard" and found the combat provided a decent challenge, though I probably would even opt for higher difficulty. But in SR:HK, "hard" is currently the highest difficulty setting and yet I find the combat much too easy. Rumor has it that HBS will be implementing a "Very Hard" difficulty in a future update. I hope so because no matter which archetype I play, my team is obliterating everyone who crosses our path.

    I also agree that the PFM was underused and for most of the game the main story is almost ignored while you focus on side missions... I think another mandatory main story mission somewhere in the middle would've helped.

    I think the mission design generally wasn't as interesting in SRHK as in Dragonfall. In DF, you'd often start out on the street and have to figure out how to get into a building for a job. That was great and I especially love the (2 part) Aztech run where you have to do some legwork. In HK, most of the time you start out in the building and if anything only need to figure out how to get to a certain floor. The missions in HK seemed much shorter and less complex (although it is cool how your approach differs based on which companions you take), it was often too easy and straightforward. I think it would've been better if there were more ways for something to go wrong.

    Well, we can hope HBS learns from their mistakes in the "Shadows of Hong Kong" mini campaign which is supposed to come out early next year.

    Currently I'd agree that SR: Dragonfall is the best SR game, hands down. SR:HK is 2nd and Shadowrun Returns is a third... I'd love to see them do a "director's Cut" of Shadowrun Returns using the SRHK engine improvements, but that might be so much work that it'd be better to just have a new game in another city.
    Currently playing (on PC): Hard West, Eisenwald: Blood of November, Dungeon Rats, Wasteland 2, Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire





  • NimNim _ Full Members
    I hope they take a break from Shadowrun.

    We are getting Necropolis and Battletech, so that is good. If they do decide to work on another SR game, I would like to see some change to the formula.
  • Confessor RahlConfessor Rahl Member Full Members
    Daveyd, if you've still got the code, I have been intending to purchase Shadowrun Returns for a while, so I'm down for it. Let me know!
    "Back when FF9 was coming out. People were rejoicing because it was actually a fantasy game and not a sci-fi game like 7 and 8. It's hilarious in modern context, with everyone wanking themselves to dehydration at the thought of a FF7 remake."
  • daveyddaveyd Turn-based lifeform PAFull Members
    Just sent SR Returns to Confessor Rahl. Still have a GOG key for Hong Kong up for grabs.
    Nim wrote: »
    I hope they take a break from Shadowrun.

    We are getting Necropolis and Battletech, so that is good. If they do decide to work on another SR game, I would like to see some change to the formula.

    I read a recent interview with Jordan Weisman and he basically confirms they're taking a break (after the HK DLC) from SR to work on Battletech. I'm hoping that they might even be able to use the engine they create for Battletech to make the next SR game.
    Currently playing (on PC): Hard West, Eisenwald: Blood of November, Dungeon Rats, Wasteland 2, Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire





  • redwing42redwing42 Just Monika Full Members
    I've put a bit of time into the first title to this point, and I'm enjoying it so far. I do feel like I wasted a few karma points on bad character upgrade choices, but hopefully it won't be a huge issue down the line. Combat isn't very difficult, but I am still early on, so maybe the challenge will ramp up. I'm hoping to at least complete this one and maybe move on to Dragonfall before the end of the month.
  • NimNim _ Full Members
    Dragonfall is my favorite of the three.
  • redwing42redwing42 Just Monika Full Members
    Still poking around on the first in the series. The game is proving to have more layers than it initially seemed, so that is good. A couple of times I thought I was approaching the end, only for another layer to open up. Running with a Shotgun-toting Decker, and the game really hasn't been that difficult. I am still enjoying the combat, though, as well as the way you can still interact with the environment during combat. Story is decent, but nothing special.
  • redwing42redwing42 Just Monika Full Members
    Finished up the first title a couple days ago. I did enjoy most aspects of the game, and if the sequels are improvements, then I'm certainly looking forward to them. Again, no real difficulties with the combat. I had one wipe very early, when I was still trying to figure the game out, but after that, I didn't have a single casualty the rest of the way. Setting was great and characters were nothing special, but got the job done. I do want to move on to Dragonfall, but instead, I think I'm going to cheat just a bit and get an early jump on Wasteland 2 for next month.
  • NimNim _ Full Members
    Dragonfall DC is probably my favorite in the series with Hong Kong a close second.
  • daveyddaveyd Turn-based lifeform PAFull Members
    Dragonfall is definitely my favorite, too.

    There's a little trick where you can play "Dead Man's Switch" (Shadowrun Returns campaign) through the Dragonfall Director's Cut engine. It doesn't change a lot, but it adds the improvements to the combat system (e.g., flanking, new armor system). It makes playing the first game as a physical adept a lot more interesting / viable. Been playing it on very hard and definitely getting some challenging fights.

    I have also been meaning to check out some more of the user made campaigns. I really liked "Jacked Up" which is a great decker focused campaign. I have been hearing great things about "Mercurial" which is available for DFDC. I wish I could find the time to learn how to use the editor and make my own campaigns, but I just have too many games I want to play.

    I don't want to start playing Wasteland 2 until their "Director's Cut" comes out.... But I plan on trying to plan the first Wasteland game; I've actually never played it but it's sitting in my GOG account.
    Currently playing (on PC): Hard West, Eisenwald: Blood of November, Dungeon Rats, Wasteland 2, Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire





Sign In or Register to comment.