Shadowrun has a great world with a lot of gameplay choices that could easily hinder any enjoyment a player might find.
Early fortes into mixing a standard turn-based RPG into something a bit more action based always had my interest more than the rest. It would soon become clear that I preferred this style of game over a standard JRPG. This version of Shadowrun does that and keeps another important thing I like a fairly linear narrative. Like many games I seem to play it stars a hero who has lost his memory.
Waking up in the morgue was the last place Jake Armitage expected to be. Especially since the only reason he knows that name is that it’s on his name plate. It soon becomes clear he took on a job that had him obtain something very valuable that many corporations would rather him not have. To get out of this predicament he’ll have to use every skill available to make his way through the seedy underbelly of the city to find out the truth.
While this isn’t a semi open world like the Genesis game it does have a solid variety of places to explore. This is mostly just old game design but it gives out very few clues where you’ll have to go next. The environments aren’t huge but sometimes you’ll just need to go around talking to everyone till it progresses the story in some way. Which was annoying at certain points that didn’t quite make it clear what I had to do next. Plenty of guides around to make that less annoying though.
The main gameplay is based on the top down perspective. In a lot of ways this feels like a PC Game on a console. After pulling out a piece Jake has to slowly move the cursor over the enemy to hopefully hit them. Magic is also done in a similar way although you can only use one spell at a time without going back into the menu. Looking at what I’m typing here does make it sound bad but it does have a unique flow that I never quite found again afterwards. After the intro the game expects the player to go into the battle with a game plan that feels pretty good once you pull it off. Leveling up is done via earning Karma points by defeating enemies. That can then be put into better accuracy with firearms or even just more health. I really feel like the game expects some grinding early on yet that isn’t really required as the game goes on.
Going in alone isn’t required either since other Shadowrunners can be hired if you have enough money. Unless they have some magic they are mainly just around to be another object that the enemy can shoot at instead of Jake. Plus this game has a real lack of ways to earn money fast thus requiring the player to think a lot about what you decide to buy. Which can be really punishing if you spend all your money on help only to be able to not buy better guns later.
Whenever someone isn’t trying to kill our “hero” the rest of the game is spent finding key words from other NPC’s. That then lead to the next part of the narrative. With this being a cyberpunk world Jake also can hack some PC’s but it is very underwhelming. Booting up the PC looks cool but then your just moving on a grid while pressing a button to attack every time to clear the way. From the start to the end it is all very monotonous. The fact that the final scene of the game is a hack makes it a very underwhelming finale.
Fortunately everything leading up to the end is fun. Seeing the world of fantasy and cyberpunk mix does a lot for the atmosphere. Really makes it feel unique to the very end to confront vampires and spirits while running around a city. This is a hard game for me to recommend to anyone since a lot of why I still like this feels like nostalgia to me. Yet if you want to check out something a bit different from the norm this might be worth going back to check out.