April 4, 2014
Originally set to come out last year as a part of the Year of Shadowrun, Shadowrun Online was set to be a multi-player online game set in the Sixth World, 2075. Obviously, this did not happen. Difficulties with production and staff stalled the Kickstarter funded game for quite some time, and even now it is a good deal behind what its original goals were. As such, saying it has been “released” is somewhat of a generous statement as what he have is little more than a sample play-through of its most basic combat mechanics. No character customization. No inventory. No decking. Only basic movement, gunplay, melee weapons, and a few combat spells from your two characters as they fight their way through four very short stages. Thus far, it is not what I was hoping for but I do think it holds a lot of potential.
The game is still very much a work-in-progress. In releasing this early sample of the game, the developers are looking for feedback on what needs improving as they plan on continually releasing additional features over the course of weeks until the final release of the game. Those who paid for this early look are, in essence, paying for the full game as well as the right to give their feedback to the developers as to what they are hoping to get out of this game. When released, the game is set to be free-to-play with a one-time purchase option to unlock all of the additional content found within the game – though I am told that nothing in the game is exclusive to buyers and can be earned through play with a lot of time and effort.
So what do I think of it so far? Well, it certainly needs work but I do like what I am seeing. Health is treated like it is in the tabletop version, with Health Boxes, rather than as a pool like you find in many MMOs. Characters are able to do many things with their weapons, such as firing single-shots, double tap, or full auto with a sub-machine gun or altering the spread with a shotgun. Casting spells currently feels a bit weak, but they are still working on that part of the game and we are likely going to see many improvements in that area as time goes on. The game looks good, which is always a plus, and the voice acting is fun to listen to even if the only ones talking are the two characters you control. One thing I took away from the game was just how brutal it could be. As there is no inventory for med-kits nor are there any healing spells in the game yet, whatever injuries you suffer are yours to bear throughout the level. What this means is that it forces you to play smart, seek out cover, and make use of everything you have at your disposal to get through a run, all of which I actually really like. Its hard, but that is what makes it feel like Shadowrun.
While the game certainly has a long way to go, I find myself very hopeful regarding the final product and cannot wait to run the shadows alongside some of my best chummers in this long-awaited Shadowrun game.
As always, thanks for reading and I wish you all good gaming.
Image Credit: Catalyst Game Labs