Average User Score: 7.4Jul 26, 2013Well, let's start with what it is: This is a CRPG, based around the Shadowrun universe (which was one of my favorite tabletop games). It allows you to jump into the life of a Runner for a few days and deal with some drek that just keeps piling on. It is, IMHO, a nice single player tabletop-like experience if your GM likes to keep tossing more and more on you.
What it isn't: This is not Fallout or FO: Tactics, this is not FF, this is not Diablo. If that is what you are looking for you will be disapointed.
1. The writing... oh wow, the writing. You can tell that the game was put together by a team that loves the world, and knows how to write a campaign. It's one of those stories that remind me of sitting with game designers at GenCon playing their favorite modules or testing out a new story line.
2. Atmosphere. They nail the dark and gloomy of SR's Seattle, the inter-species/racial tensions of the world, and the socio-economic politics that go along with it all. You deal with Corps, Johnsons, Riggers, Trolls, Shamans, etc, etc, etc. A good taste of a little bit of everything. Pre-rendered background art that works well with decent sprites keeps you interested in the world and makes you want to look around. Subtle and nice music keeps things flowing (when it isn't choppy). Portrait art is very reminiscent of the game art from the books, and helps keep you in the world (think Baldur's Gate).
3. Tactics. Yup, they've got that down rather nicely. Mild inventory management, but more of a time management game (think original X-Com). You pick your team of runners, you spec out your own kit, and then you run your crew. Positioning, cover and flanking, saving some time for Overwatch fire, or popping off a spell with a long cooldown early, you have lots of options in combat.
4. Character. This is a hit and a miss for me. You have a fully open character sheet to spend your Karma (XP) as you will. Want to have a Mage with high strength? Sure, uhm, you could do that. Your outfits are rendered on the sprite so it's neat to see the new armored trenchcoat you just bought actually on the character. Sadly, we're all a little spoiled by Bethesda when it comes to creation customization for looks, which is something you have very limited control over.
1. Check-point only saves, seriously? What PC developer does this? Massive negative. You can not save the game at any point in time. Only at the beginning of levels does the game auto-save. Should you have a power failure, need to hop off the game to tend to RL stuff, etc. You get to replay the whole area you just did.
2. Levels. Now, let me clarify, since I said the writing was one of the best things, what I mean here is the linear nature of the story and the follow the arrows map design. The good memories I have of running or playing module based tabletop RPGs is tempered with my hatred for straight from the book GMs. SR:R is definitely a pre-made module. It is a linear story line with only a few minor choices to make, and a handful of hidden rooms. That doesn't mean the story itself is bad, just that it is extremely limiting. Of course, the GM toolkit and futher expansions will mean that this may not be a massive issue given time.
3. Strategy. The game has tactics, the game does not have strategy. You can't really customize your Runners, or establish a regular team. You don't have the option to just do off-site hacks or sneak in through a vent... sure those things are there, but only when the game gives them to you. Yes, you can get out of some combats by having the right skills set or stat, or picking certain dialogue options, but really you are playing the game the way the GM wants it played.
4. Optimization. Odd graphic glitches, weird music stutters, and the occasional hangup on a load screen came make things annoying and make you worry that you'll have to replay things. No massive game breakers, but enough that it is rough.
Did I like it? Hell yes, Chummer! Was it worth the money to get it on Steam? I think so, but I'm a fan of the game and look forward to designing my own campaigns and seeing what others will make available.
If you miss doing runs for Mr. Johnson, you can again, but you may be left wanting more. With only the one linear campaign available right now, you're looking about about 12 hours of game. Granted that's game with wonderful writing, but you need to understand what you're getting into. There is no voice acting, you will be reading (oh quit complaining, we had these things before tablets and iwhatsits called books), you wont be getting Mad Lootz from enemies you'll bring in your gear to the fight and hope it's enough. You wont get to wander around and take jobs from the different Corps, you'll do what your GM tells you to do.
If you want to Run in the Shadows, I say get this game. If you want to play Diablo or Skyrim in the SR world, you're out of luck.… Expand
Average User Score: 2.1Mar 5, 2013Alright gang, let's get the obligatory complaining out of the way:
1. Always online DRM
2. Only 2 US servers (5 total)
3. 0 customer service response or presence (255+ minute wait time to speak to an online rep, suddenly removed phone and email support access)
The combination of these things has resulted in a horrible release for EA. Can I say I'm surprised: no, not really. We, as consumers have allowed this behavior, and even excuse it with: It's release day, just wait... Every game has these problems at start... No one can expect the server load... and various other excuse that gets tossed up on a forum complaining about the game. The fact is NOT every game has this problem, because not every game requires online access, not every game requires you to link up with a limited server farm, and not every game is released with almost zero customer service... sigh, now that's out of the way, my review of what (little) I've gotten to play:
The visuals of the game are wonderful. The city grows very organically, and is pleasing to watch. The detail used to express and track the individual Sims in your city as they go about their daily lives is a great feat and adds so much to the depth of simulation. Musical effects are fitting for the scene and don't draw attention to themselves, while adding just enough ambiance to fill out the effect.
For those that have played previous SimCity games before, you will find some issues though. First and foremost to me is the limited size you have to build your city in. Due to the "specialization" that you are "encouraged" to use for each city, you are limited to what appears to be about 2 square kilometers for each city. These are not very large spaces, especially compared to some of the huge blocks of space you could use in SimCity 4. Secondly, you will find that things have been streamlined. This is not always a bad thing. Everything runs through streets (power, water, sewage), so you can layout utilities and transport all in one go, however this also feels like "training wheels" to experienced SimCity players. The snap-to guides are handy, but lack any sense of sizing for future development. How big of a zone do I need to have a sky scraper in a few years? I don't know, I guess I'll just put these roads wherever.
Region interconnectivity is an interesting, but less than stellar additon. The ability to work with friends and assist them to start off by providing Goods or Services is nice, but really rather meaningless if you aren't specializing your city.
Graphic glitches do exist, but aren't game-breaking (many times my buildings simply dissapear or roads become transparent). The biggest issues are server issues. Any time I have attempted to play I have had to sit and wait for atleast 30 minutes before being able to join a server (yes, I'm sitting for the fifth time today as I write this). This wouldn't be too bad expect for frequent crashes and glitches on cities becoming no responsive that require restarting the game, and sitting the server que... again.
Another frustraion comes from the division of the servers themselves. The most common response we (people seeking support from EA) have gotten is: "Just join a server that isn't full". That's all fine and good, except the city I just spent three hours on only exists on one server. When you go to a new server, you have to restart with the tutorial (something that you can't skip and is bugged out on some servers), and start all over. Also, you only have access to 10 regions at any one time. You can delete a region to free up space, but this is bugged and currently not releasing the save slot on some servers. The ability to have a private region is nice for those of us that really don't want someone creating a bunch of pollution in our areas, but makes the always online DRM rather oppressive.
All told, the few hours of play time I have gotten have been enjoyable. It's nice to have a pretty SimCity to poke around with, and I look forward to experimenting with the city specialization and regional superprojects, however, I have spent as much time waiting for tech support and sitting in server lines as I have played in the last 24 hours since release, and that is unacceptable to me.
Is this a great sequel to SimCity 4... sadly, no. Is it a good game, yes I'd say it is. It is fun, a great time sink, and something that has been lacking in recent games, but as always Buyer Beware when it comes to EA and any other distributors that restricts your access to the game you purchased. My other major concern is future content being distributed as purchased DLC, server instability, or the fact that at any time EA could decide to shut down the SimCity servers and your $60 game is suddenly gone.
Use your personal scales to decide if you want to play SimCity badly enough to support such bad business practices. If you do, the game itself isn't bad.… Expand