Generally favorable reviews - based on 54 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 805 Ratings

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  • Summary: Jordan Weisman, the creator of Shadowrun, is back and Shadowrun Returns is the game that Shadowrun fans have been waiting for. A 2D turn-based single player game with deep story interaction, meaningful character development, and highly-contextual tactical combat. According to the Mayan Calendar (and lots of tabloids), the world will end on December 21, 2012. Its part a 5,200 year cycle of death and rebirth that, in Shadowrun, actually charts the ebb and flow of magic from the Earth. So, on 12/21/12 magic will return, end this world, and wreak holy havoc while starting the next. Aboriginal cultures, who maintained their mystical traditions, are the first to feel the return of magic and use their newfound power to reshape the political, financial, and physical world around them. As the magic increases, Elf and Dwarf babies are born to very surprised parents who carry the right combination of long-dormant genes. But all of these events pale in comparison to the horror of "goblinization", which painfully reshapes the teenage bodies of those unlucky enough to carry dominant Ork or Troll genes. And then the first Great Dragon rises from its 5,200 yearlong hibernation and circles over Tokyo, signaling that the world has truly AWAKENED.

    Fast forward two generations, to a world transformed not only by the growth of magic but by the acceleration of cyber technologya continual effort to improve upon the gifts that nature gave humanity; by the inevitable maturation of the World Wide Web into the Matrixa network directly accessible by the human brain; and by the near elimination of governments as they are replaced megacorporationsmonolithic entities who see only customers, not citizens.

    And moving through the dark shadows cast by the gleaming towers of the corps, are Shadowrunners disposable assets and corporate pawns scratching out a living using a combination of technology, magic, and street smarts. Shadowrunners live between the cracks and operate outside the law, doing the dirty work that corporate wage-slaves wont soil their hands with and occasionally acting as the only protection the citizenry can turn to.

    Welcome to the world of Shadowrun, where man meets magic and machine.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 54
  2. Negative: 0 out of 54
  1. Jul 25, 2013
    This is one of the most satisfying and complete tactical roleplaying experiences to come out of 2013 and realistically the last few years.
  2. Oct 5, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns is a bit more simplistic than I had hoped for, but at the same time it is not bad at all. [Sept 2013]
  3. Aug 7, 2013
    Even if Shadowrun Returns can't be compared with the giants of the RPG genre, it has enough character to shine and to show us the storytelling potential of the powerful editor.
  4. Aug 20, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns is an old-style RPG based on a robust and well calculated gameplay, that will entertain all the fans of the genre and a large group of nostalgic. At the same time, this project is also very limited and linear.
  5. Jul 25, 2013
    The bite-sized scope and limited choices available make me more interested to see what Shadowrun Returns will be a year from now, after the community has used the included mod tools to build on it, than in what it is today.
  6. Aug 9, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns is enjoyable while it lasts, thanks in large part to its great writing and enthralling murder mystery.
  7. Jul 26, 2013
    A perfectly capable tactical RPG that's unfortunately light on both the tactics and the RPG. Not really bad in any way, but I suspect this won't really shine until the community get to grips with the editor.

See all 54 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 61 out of 302
  1. Jul 25, 2013
    An amazing game living up to the Shadowrun name. If you weren't a fan of the series before you should be now. Beautiful artwork and great tactical strategy elements mixed with true Shadowrun RPG style. Also the ability to create your own complete runs adds INFINITE possibilities.

    This game has SERIOUS superior re-playability
  2. Jul 31, 2013
    The story, the grit, the humor and going "back" to 2054 with the original creators and writers of the game made for a fun gaming binge. Could not stop playing until the first campaign is over.

    Writing is excellent. The atmosphere and the setting are spot on.

    Game mechanics are on the easy side (there is a setting that makes the game harder but it's not obvious, you have to go find it in the options). They simplified a lot of things from the original books, so it's not a 1 to 1 rule adaptation of the table top game. It's close to second edition, but not really.

    If you liked X-com, you'll like this. If you liked second edition Shadowrun, but house ruled your setting to hell, you'll like this too. Can't wait for the Berlin campaign and user generated content the editor looks excellent.
  3. Jul 26, 2013
    A lot of people are noticing what I'm seeing as the major drawing point of this game. The Campaign included with the game purchase is a fun 9 hour introduction into the Shadowrun universe, and it provides a fun way to learn about the universe, the lore, and the combat.

    While the combat may not be as polish as others in it genre (Xcom, Jagged alliance, etc.) It does provide a fun and challenging experience that I felt provided an authentic experience. My guns felt like they were doing damage, and my runners were viable no matter the spec.
  4. Aug 9, 2013
    This was the first "major" kickstarter campaign I funded that came to fruition, and the first one where I can honestly say "money well invested".
    For it's limited budget and short development time, the game delivers exactly what it intended to. Solid, old school roleplaying in a well-loved setting. It catches the atmosphere and the "feel" of the universe just perfectly IMO. The graphic style and looks are superb for me.
    The initial campaign is short, but very well done. It has a wonderful "detective noir" flair in the first act, many references for old shadowrun players and readers, and some pretty interesting battles, none of which feel like filler material just there to increase game time. The second act is a bit more linear, but still well written and with some very satisfying runs.
    The tactical turn-based combat is interesting, though not perfect yet, but it beats most modern RPG hackfests hands down. The interface is a bit too "tablet style" for my taste, as is the inventory system.
    The save game system is bad, no doubt about that. At least a "save on exit" option badly needs to be implemented, as some checkpoint are *very* far from each other.
    The campaign is pretty short (about 12 hours for a thorough playthrough), but I take quality over quantity any time. And I still get the Berlin campaign in October. :-)
    All in all, I'd rate it a 7, and add an extra point for the editor, that has already yielded a few short but interesting user made runs, and for the upcoming Berlin Campaign that I'm really looking forward for.
  5. Sep 22, 2013
    SR is probably slightly overrated at the moment as we are still coming out of a drought in the oldschool tactical RPG subgenre, leading reviewers to grade it on a bit of a curve simply because there are very few games like it at the moment. Ultimately, SR is a competent, but as yet unremarkable old-school RPG. Future patches and player content may bring more to the table.

    Hopefully SR's first effort will prove to be just the leading crest of a small wave in isometric oldschool RPGs, because by itself it is somewhat overwhelming.

    -Great user mod tools.
    -Solid combat system, though you probably need to crank up the difficult to experience any challenge.
    -Strong atmosphere, reinforced by the consistent tone of the (generally competent) writing.

    -Far too linear to be a true successor to the isometric RPG classics.
    -Save system can be inconvenient (though I personally was only trivially inconvenienced by it).

    -Unclear if SR's community will be large and creative enough to supply interesting community content.
    -Harebrained Schemes has heard the most common critiques of the game regarding linearity, save system, length, etc., and the next campaign ("Berlin") will attempt to address them.
  6. Jul 26, 2013
    Shadowrun Returns has good ideas, pretty visuals and a great atmosphere, but ultimately falls short.
    It is fun while it lasts, but it is a
    very short and incredibly linear experience and offers little else other than storytelling that ranges from interesting noir to groan worthy cliches, interspersed with combat that offers little challenge.
    While the game and editor offer potential, I have to judge the game on it's current value, which leaves a lot to be desired.
  7. Sep 6, 2014
    Pile of garbage. If I have no stash I cannot buy **** for my characters. My main needs to be able to use what I buy because the stash disappears when I select another character. The thing is this **** over UGC too. Pistols are **** Oh and the graphics are **** Expand

See all 302 User Reviews