June 24th, 2008, 04:07 Posted By: Shadowblind
Old game(mid-2007) but many people have no clue about it.
Developer: FASA Studios
ESRP: $19.99 (For Value rating)
Shadowrun is a game that is like its Sega genesis brother in name only. Unlike its RPG roots, Shadowrun for Windows and Xbox 360 is a fast paced FPS that makes you rely on more then just your weapon. To defeat your opponents, you must also make use of 5,000 year old magic powers. As a member of either the RNA, a huge corporation wanting control of this newfound magic, or the Lineage, an ancient order trying to keep the magic at its natural roots.
So much story potential. None of it used.
Shadowrun does has a story. The RNA, a global organization and the Lineage, ancient tribes, are feuding over a magic that could change the course of history itself. A neat story isn't it? Well, it could have been. Thats just it, though, COULD being the key word. Shadowrun has about as much storyline as Wolfenstein 3D. That is, no story at all, but a great setting. However, setting is only a small part of a grand storyline. Shadowrun has a huge potential for a storyline; it features everything from dwarves to elves to trolls, all set in a futuristic world where culture is still a very important part of life. What potential. But this game is all about its multiplayer, and it shows. The only "storyline" it has is 6 ten minute tutorials showing you how to use all of the magic, weapons and classes as an RNA combatant. Beyond that, even characters are perfectly lifeless. Commands in multiplayer don't even have actual human voices. Its a robot for every class and every team. Honestly, this game busts here.
Guess which one will win. Go on, guess.
Amazing magic effects vs. Sub-par character models
Let the fight begin. I'll start off with the good. Effects for magic are simply amazing. The light show is great, and for the most part, magic is all about the lights and pretty colors. Teleport is a flash of orange blur that brilliantly lights up with a bit of red and blur. Summon magic creates a monster of either yellow or flourescent blue that sparks to life and beats the living crap out of the enemies. Strangle spawns shining blue or orange gems on the ground with a great shining effect. Even the absorbing power of the dwarves looks radiant when its in effect. Now magic is nice, and I've probably made that overly clear by now. Back to the other stuff. The character models are boring. Interesting at first, trolls and elves and ect. lose their interest factor after you've killed about 3 of them. They all look the same, and even when they are dead they have the exact same face expression as when they first spawned. To be fare, the Lineage do look a bit unique, with an art direction like that of Native Americans. But the RNA are just bland, basic and boring. Gun models are all uninspired; they work. But they are just average. No interesting ideas or art direction went into these weapons. Backgrounds are pretty well done, especially those of the Lineage-based levels. Which comes to make one realize that while the Lineage have a great artistic ideas about them, the RNA are boring, right down to they're RNA-themed levels.
Mars probably has more life in it then Shadowrun. Music-wise anyway.
Shadowrun doesn't have any music. If t does, I don't even remember because it must have been too boring. To its credit, music probably wouldn't have helped too much anyway. Still, some nice action themes would have added a bit more to its credit here, and the total lack of music is purely, mind-numbingly annoying. Its annoying because, without music, only sound effects are present to clear the sound of that extremely annoying AI that serves as the voice for all of players in the game. Which brings me to that point, possibly the only thing more annoying in the game then the lack of music is the robotic female voice that says all of your and your teamates commands. Blahblahblahblahblah. Other sounds. Gun sound effects, while just as inspired as the weapons, do what they are supposed to. No big awesome booms or anything of the such, but they work. Magic and Tech sound off like the 4th of July. They have varied and wide sounds to each of them(for the most part) and sound above average, though still not anything amazing. Shadowrun is rather dead when is comes to all things sound-wise.
Look at me! I look like everyone else!
Magic and machinery DO go well together
Shadowrun relies primarily on one thing to get its point across--and thats its combination of magic, tech, and weaponry. In Shadowrun, you get Tech upgrades and Magic upgrades that you buy from a menu at the start of each game like Counter Strike. From this menu you also buy weapons and ammo, from Shotguns to katanas. This is Shadowrun's best feature easy. The addition of inspiring and awesome magic and tech to the game give it its uniqueness is the face of thousands of same-faced FPS. Ranging from everything between Teleport, a magic that lets you move 3 meters in any direction, even through walls, to gliders which allow you to basically fly. You really will feel as though you are a superhero in Shadowrun. Magic and Tech are inspiring and reat fun. So what about the rest? Guns, as previously mentioned, are totally uninspired and bland. They do what they are told, and thats about it. The katana may be the only interesting weapon, and even that is only slightly above average. Weapons are boring. So how about the classes? Classes consist of 4 types; elves, trolls, dwarves, and humans. Although its kinda unnecessary, the addition of these classes and they're unique abilities adds a great deal of joy to the game, at least for a while. Its fun seeing how each class will help you in your online play against others. Combat works. By that I mean, its solid, and fun. They are many irritants however. For one, anyone who is a chronic sniper will be sorely disappointed by this game; sniping is a no-zone. The sniper rifle is just painful and frustrating to use. Grenades take too long to explode. The pistol is worthless. Rocket launcher ammo cost too much. There are a good bit of annoyances in the game that usually just get ironed out over time and experience by the devs. It being a new project and IP for them, you have to be a little impressed by they're ideas. Still, a game is a game, and new or not, it a mixed bag. Most of Shadowrun is. And C'mon, this is coming from a guy with Shadow in his name. I really wanted this game to be good.
Multiplayer IS this game. Literally!
This game screams multiplayer. Two reasons: One, it doesn't have a story, and two, the only other game mode IS multiplayer. Granted you can play with bots that aren't too dumb, but this game was created and breed for multiplayer. So it should be noted that multiplayer is actually quite fun, mainly via XBL. Connection issues are present, but not as much as IGN and others have made me think. I honestly don't know if I've even played with Vista gamers yet, but who knows. And unlike most 360 games tat have been out this long, Shadowrun still does have a decent host of people that still play it online. 16 maps and 3 game modes will keep you for a good while, though the achievements may be a little too specific for you to try to get them all. The first six are cake.(Which may or may not be a lie. Eh? Portal reference.)
Time again then to finish up.
Major Selling Points:
-- Magic and Tech both cool and fun
-- Different classes add to the experience
-- Great Multiplayer fun
Major Breaking Points:
-- No story mode
-- Weapons are bland
-- Gets repetitive after a while
-- Sound is near painful
So much potential, but its not explored. At all.
Character models for RNA and they're levels are boring. Lineage, Magic and Tech FTW.
Meh. Its all here(except music) but its all average. Magic stands out as good.
Magic and Tech are great additions that ought to be in more games. Weapons are boring, classes are cool, but little annoyances pervade.
Replay & Multiplayer: 3/5
This game was made for Multiplayer, and it works well. However, with no story, it gets repetitive after a few.
At $20 for a game this quality its quite a steal. Still, its only for those who love the multiplayer.
Shadowrun is a mix of great ideas, bad ideas, and great execution and bad execution. Its a game that is the most of a mixed bag I've ever played. some will hate it with a passion and some with love it like a drug. It really comes down to your personal preferences.
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