Short but sweet throwback.
I normally never write reviews but feel this title deserves it.
Imagine a short 15hr turn based 2d isometric rpg from the 90s with some upgraded graphics done well. That's what Shadowrun Returns is in a nutshell. Short by any rpg standards the story however is well written. The lack of voice acting is a negative but can be forgiven due to the game's tiny budget. This does let the game have many more dialogue choices then if it were voiced though. Combat is solid though nothing special. It combines an extremely traditional system with some modern UI elements from the new Xcom. This leads me to my only real problem with the game's story. There is very little choice in how the story unfolds and your ability to influence it is extremely limited. However the game brilliantly hides this with exceptionally well done "illusion of choice".
The only one major flaw that I would see stopping me from getting this game is the save system. It's simply archaic at best. The game only auto-saves when it loads new areas/ maps. There is no option to manually save. These areas are all fairly large and can take upwards of an hour to finish. This also creates a brutal lack of checkpoints in battles. Granted battles are all easy on normal but that's besides the point. This also means you can't stop playing the game when you want to without losing progress. What if you need to do something other then play on your pc or the game crashes? It's a terrible system that is worth removing a star for. I would otherwise have given it a 4.
The game doesn't do anything new but it takes old ideas and combines them well. There hasn't been a game in this genre in a long time. The story is well done and doesn't overstay it's welcome. Characters are well written but nothing special. Graphically the game has great art (especially the isometric 2D backgrounds) but on a technical level is terrible. The art really saves it. Gameplay wise, the combat is simple but well made, exploration is extremely limited but this ties back into the game's short length and small budget. More freedom and a larger game world to explore would be a nice addition. Other than the save system there are no major flaws that stand out. Shadowfall Returns is a nice throwback to the isometric rpgs of the 90s. It feels like an abridged rpg from the 90s with some fairly modern graphics thrown on. Nothing wrong with that and it's nice to see one of these games made in an era where they don't exist anymore.
Finally the game comes with an extensive editor and full steam workshop support. These are the same tools the devs used to make the game and even allow you to deconstruct the levels that come with the game. This set of tools promises great modding and user created content potential in the future. It is however impossible to tell if the game will catch on so it's only a possibility for now. The dev also promise to make plenty of DLC in the form of entire new "campaigns" with one already announced. They have stated that the game as it is now is only a framework for what they wish to accomplish in the future. The devs have also stated that some of this dlc will not be free however. If you don't think this game is a good value now there is a fairly good chance it will be in the near future. Also remember stuff always goes on sale on steam. The future looks bright for Shadowfall Returns.