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Game Review: Shadowrun Returns

The year is 2054 and you’re in world where magic meets tech in the tactical role-playing game

Atul Kumar Oct 28, 2013
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Shadowrun Returns. Photo: Courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

Shadowrun Returns. Photo: Courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

[easyreview cat1title = “Shadowrun Returns” cat1rating = 4]

Harebrained Schemes

Rs. 1200 (PC), Android/iOS (Rs. 600)

Much like last year’s superlative XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Shadowrun lets you indulge in chess-like warfare. You command your character (and hired henchmen) across a map and then your enemies do the same. This isn’t all. There are occult creatures, a ton of sleuthing around the Matrix (Shadowrun’s version of the internet, which has more in common with Tron than the 1999 Keanu Reeves blockbuster) and grotesque monsters.

A large part of what makes Shadowrun so appealing is its premise. According to the game’s lore, it’s 2054: an age where magic meets tech, and mythical creatures such as elves and orcs live among humans. Throw in ruthless corporations, corrupt government employees and sinister cults and you have a scenario quite similar to the modern day give or take a few ghouls and spirits that inhabit the world of Shadowrun.

Along the way, you’ll meet a host of intriguing characters from an exceptionally cheerful mortician to a shotgun-toting barmaid, all of whom have their own backstories that fit in well with the game’s sinister feel. At no point in time are you spoonfed an NPC’s [non-player characters] backstory, rather, you’ll be given bits and pieces about it thanks to the superb conversations that the game brings up. While the events of Shadowrun Returns takes place in a future rife with magic and tech, the entire plot is set up much like a good detective story complete with all the film noir trimmings you’d expect. Needless to say, there are enough twists, turns and revelations to keep you playing to the very end.

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Speaking of the end, it’ll take you around 15 hours or so to see yourself to the finale of Shadowrun Returns. It’s not a particularly tough game with a variety of missions, taking you to a host of interesting locales, from pristine corporate offices to gory sanitariums. The environments do a fantastic job of keeping the experience fresh, as do your objectives. Certain missions have you tasked with avoiding collateral damage, while others have you or another runner jacked into the Matrix to lessen the numbers of foes after you or allow a speedy escape. The best part is that the game never gets monotonous.

Shadowrun Returns is a slick iteration to a franchise that’s been in hibernation way too long. With a slew of user-generated content on the horizon thanks to the game’s level editor and new downloadable content out soon, this is one title that demands your hard drive space. Especially if you’re a fan of tactical Role Playing Games.

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