Not that long ago I pointed out that the Kickstarter backed Shadowrun Returns was now available for purchase, and I am happy to say that you should indeed purchase it. The game is a turn based tactical isometric RPG, which is a fun way of saying you get to look down on the game, take turns, and level up.
The game’s plot allows you take the role of a down and out Shadow Runner who gets a job thanks to a “kill switch” on a dead friend. The switch phones you with a recorded message saying you will get a $100,000 life insurance policy if you can avenge his death. Since you need the money you get yourself to Seattle to find your friend’s killer, and like all things Shadowrun it gets much more complicated.
The setting is in a near future version of Seattle, and in the near future magic has reemerged, so the world is filled with elves, dwarves, and trolls, and you can use a mixture of future weaponry and magic.
The game’s mechanics are simple. You use your mouse to point where you want your character and party members to go and to select the skills and items you wish them to use and what or who you want to use them on. In combat you only have so many moves you can make called “Action Points”. For example if you have two “Action Points” you can move a long ways, move a short ways and shoot, or shoot twice, and you can do that for every member of your party.
For leveling up you get Karma points for completing tasks or doing good deeds, and you can spend those on things like being able to shoot more accurately or being able to carry more items, or if you are like me, making your robot minions much more deadly. My biggest problem with this is that there are a lot of non-combat skills, but the game is mostly combat oriented, so they are a waste of points.
The art style is fantastic. It is dark, but they use neon colors to brighten it up, so it is not all bland and gray. The areas of Seattle look like a cool future version of the city, but not a utopian one.
I have a couple of other minor complaints, there is no manual save system, so you have to rely on an autosave. It does save fairly often, but it means you cannot get up and leave whenever you want to, and the game is fairly linear, so you do not just get to go out and explore, you stay on a set path and series of events.
That being said the game is fun, and for a group of indie developers it is a job well done. Thanks to the level design kit there are already mods being developed, for instance the old SNES Shadowrun game is already in alpha on the new engine, and a free expansion is coming out in October, so it is well worth the money. Have fun in the shadows!