When Bad Ideas Go Right !
The Shadowrun franchise is basically a series of RPG board games in the vein of Dungeons & Dragons but in a sci-fi setting. These games have a huge following and a lot of variations were made. After that a couple of videogames (SNES & Genesis) were inspired by the books who set the rules of the board games.
The 2007 Shadowrun is a game that is set in the same Sci-Fi Universe, but is also a Online Multiplayer First Person Shooter. Following a formula inspired by Counter-Strike, this team based shooter rewards your actions (killing enemies, capturing the flag or healing & resurecting your teammates) by giving you money which enables you to buy equipment and abilities at the star of the next round. The weapons you can buy are pretty standard for shooting ames, but here is where this game stands out: You can choose between 4 races with different attributes, half of the abilities available to you are magic based and the other half are tech based. You have a limited amount of magic and using tech abilities can further limit how much magic you can use.
What is great about this game is how many different combinations you can come up with. No game is ever the same since buying different things will completely change how you and your team can approach your goals.
Unfortunately, a couple of questionnable design decisions have overshadowed this games qualities. Most notable is the total absence of a single player campaign. The six training exercises and available bot matches simply can't replace the missing "story mode". This is the biggest reason why this game did not catch on. Other problems included average graphics, missing animations, limited amount of maps, almost no integration of the RPG elements that ARE Shadowrun.
The incredible thing is that if you can get over those short comings, Shadowrun is really a great online shooter. People who enjoyed it dont let go and you can still have a fun time with this game which is now often found in a bargin bin.
If this game had been better received by the public when it launched, the studio who created it would not have been closed down by Microsoft and it would have probably been updated with more character races, maps, weapons, magic spells and tech abilities.
Note: this game was the first to include cross-platform online play between Xbox 360 and Windows Vista users.