Shadowrun Online : Boston Lockdown Review

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You know, part of me wishes there was a world changing event and magic is brought into the light. There are few people who could do with the odd lightning bolt, plus travelling on the motorways would become a lot more interesting with the overhead threat of a Dragon attack. Sadly we don’t live in the world of Shadowrun: Where Bladerunner meets Baldur’s gate, Spinal implantations combine with summoning killer bears.

Those of you new to the whole Shadowrun universe, it started life as a tabletop game a ‘la Dungeons and Dragons – Dice, Skill books, a Dungeon Master and excessive body odour. Porting into a digital world, your runner works their way through a series of missions involving corporate espionage, brute force and assassinations in a bid to earn credits to spend on cool, funky equipment such as replacement limbs, mystical foci and big fat hand cannons.

Needs more Blade Runner right?

These missions take their sweet time into introducing you into the storyline which revolves around the resurrection of a dragon (who has been ”missing” for some time) and the increasingly shady deals including body parts, drugs and black market weaponry.

I’m a fan. Anyone who has played any of the XCOM series will be a fan. This is one of the top tier turn based strategy games out there, and after three different incarnations, it really should be. The skills tree is deep and rewarding, as well as making life difficult for people who try to be a jack of all trades. The weapons and equipment vary in degrees of appearance and type allowing you to customise your heart out. The combat is satisfying and rewards skilful positioning of your main character and the accompanying squad in order to take out enemies with greater ease.

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This game is hard. Like genuinely unforgiving. Miss-step in combat and expect to feel the full wrath of the opposing forces. Reloading your weapon in the wrong place will get you killed. Relying on that summoned minion to take out the bad guys? The AI will focus fire it down. Kudos to the designers of the levels making you have to genuinely think in order to complete the missions with your team intact.

There are a few issues with this game. In making it so familiar, the designers have pushed it a little too far and the game can feel very generic in some parts. Nothing should come as a surprise when playing through the missions, plot ”twists” are telegraphed minutes in advance. I would have liked a lot more variety when it came to weapon skins and additional tactical items as there seems to be too few (from what I have seen, there may be a loot system in the background), plus killing enemies yields only experience, no drops or organ recovery, which to me seems like a waste. God forbid you don’t cover all bases when it comes to non-combat skills. The agony of walking past a locked box for a loot whore like myself… It doesn’t bear thinking about, especially when missions only reward ”nuyen” the monetary unit of the future. The graphics options barely raise an eyebrow – post processing can be turned on and off, but doesn’t make a huge difference to performance (and I’m running a GTX 460 and 2nd Gen i5).

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I did mention the Online bit right? This game is astounding when you team up with others. At the time I played I was lucky enough to have access to the private press server – which was lonely. I saw one or two people, but they left the social hub before I could whip out my best impression of Goldshire Local Chat!!!ONEONE11. Logging in to the launch game means a teeming horde of people

desperate for assistance. The beauty of it is that you move at the same time as your team mates, this allows for some clued team tactics to take out some of the hardier enemies. Loot is assigned from lockers and pickups without the need for rolling (much like Diablo 3) and some of the spells and skills work in synchronicity. For example, the hacker specialist can stun and mark a target, any subsequent attacks against the marked target cause additional damage AND the opponent cannot attack back.

Overall I really enjoyed the game, it’s a lot of fun teaming up online to complete tricky quests, and I really look forward to any expansions and content patches to bring the game up to speed. Thankfully the developers really listen to their fans (as seen on Steam) and they have fixed a major issue already.

Pros:
– Instant familiarity of controls and mechanics
– Deep character customisation
– Online play is superb
– Short snappy missions

Cons :
It is not an iOS port.  Please omit.  Leave in the bit about it being generic.
Cons :
Sadly not moddable.

Score: 7.5/10