View Full Version : Shadowrun Returns: Recently Released Kickstarter RPG

Slimsy Platypus
07-29-2013, 07:38 PM
I'm not sure if there is anyone that hasn't heard of the recent release of Shadowrun Returns, but if so... it's now officially out! This was a Kickstarted PC game within the confines of a really epic pen and paper RPG universe "Shadowrun" (I've never heard of it until playing this game). The game is a fairly bread and butter tactical RPG, so if you're a fan of the genre don't miss out on it!

The setting is a futuristic USA where magic, elves, and the like are now present in a cyberpunk universe (and yes, the IP nails it and is as epic and cool as the clashing genres sound). The most exciting part is that the game has a really well written story delivered completely in a text based format... proving that the guys at Stoic aren't all that crazy in attempting to deliver top tier content via text. After my play sessions, I would find myself thinking... damn I can't wait to see what the guys in Stoic have in store for us, as the delivery of the story works very well here.


According some deep tracks I've dug up in the interwebs, there was a bunch of hoopla surrounding this Kickstarter (as apparently seems to flock around all the recently popular Kickstarted games), but I haven't followed this one at all during development and in a vacuum this is a great game; so if you want to support Kickstarter or Indie development definitely try this one out on Steam for the moderate price of 20 bones.

It's funny, ever since my obsession began with The Banner Saga I can't look at the graphics in a game without comparing them to Stoics epic visuals. For example, while playing Shadowrun I found myself thinking: "man I love the really well done 2D visuals in character portraits, but I just don't find myself getting excited to SEE more of the game beyond that". I think Factions has set a high bar for me when evaluating how developers are choosing to illustrate their games. During the Factions Beta I was so excited when a new map or new building UI would be released because I am in love with the visual style and simply have that SHOW ME MORE feeling.

And I find it absolutely interesting how when I go back and play games like Shining Force, Final Fantasy VII, or King of Dragon's Pass (I am a HUGE sucker for the classics) I still am blown away by the visuals (intentionally not referred to as graphics here). I can't explain to myself why, but it is so exciting in Shining Force when you get exposed to a dumb little 2D character portrait when a unit promotes or you unlock and epic character. There's just some subjectivly appealing... thing that is clicking in my brain that I like. I'm so grateful the guys at Stoic seem to have this same appreciation for the elusive "make this look good" feel, as I'm absolutely excited to see more visuals in The Banner Saga. It also doesn't hurt that their other gaming systems all sound to be whittled away from the conventional and more so towards the "better play experience" side of things.

But I digress. Thanks for bearing with me once again guys, and special thanks again to the folks at Stoic! Keep chugging away, the slow clap known as The Banner Saga now is in the "several people clapping" phase! Keep it up and continue churning out epic updates (I mean seriously you guys, I only have so many changes of pants in this world).


Yours and only yours,

(Bold) Brendan

07-30-2013, 10:41 AM
Shadowrun Returns was created by the original designer of the Shadowrun table top role-playing game, originally created in the 1980's. It's the year 2054, and about 40 years ago creatures of fantasy started being born to human parents: elves, dwarves, orcs, trolls. The rise of mystical creatures and magic threw the world into chaos. New empires arose and corporations became the real power brokers. It's a cold harsh world out there and Shadowrunners are the guys living on the sidelines who do covert ops for the corps, infiltration, assassinations, extractions, theft, whatever can earn them some cash.

Shadowrun Return is a great old-school RPG, and I'm really enjoying playing it. This game lets you assemble teams of street samurai, mages, shaman, riggers and deckers and go on a variety of missions. It doesn't have the flashy movies, animation or voice-overs kids expect these days, but with a $1.8 million budget they created a beautiful isometric RPG with turn based combat that is similar to Final Fantasy Tactics and Fallout. Best of all is the detailed cyberpunk/fantasy whodunit plot, with lots of wacky characters, as you track down a mysterious killer in a world populated by punk elves, dwarven biker gangs, troll shamans and much stranger things. I encourage anyone who is fan of RPGs or cyberpunk to check it out. For $20 it's a good game to dive into while you're waiting for Banner Saga to be released.

07-30-2013, 06:00 PM
just wondering, its turn based right? Are the actions limited by an action bar (like Jagged Edge, moving can cost 70%, then you need 30% leftover for attack) or have defined options (you have the option to move X squares and attack Y for a certain unit, like Factions). It sounds interesting, ive never liked the action bar TBS games though

Slimsy Platypus
07-30-2013, 10:11 PM
just wondering, its turn based right? Are the actions limited by an action bar (like Jagged Edge, moving can cost 70%, then you need 30% leftover for attack) or have defined options (you have the option to move X squares and attack Y for a certain unit, like Factions). It sounds interesting, ive never liked the action bar TBS games though

Basically for the combat every unit has a couple action points You can use your action points to move, shoot, use abilities, or cast spells. For example, say my dude has 2 action points; I can move him consuming the first, then shoot at an enemy with my basic attack using the second. Also you have the ability to use any unit in any order you want.

For me the fun part of the game is customizing your characters and the story, as the combat really doesn't feel like something entirely new to me. Don't get me wrong though, turn based strategy RPGs (or whatever you want to call them) are my favorite games ever! So I still find the combat engaging, but don't expect the combat to solely suck you in like Factions does. If the turn based strategy genre hasn't done much for you in the past you'll probably kick yourself for spending 20 bucks on it, but man - the story is done so well here as well so there is a ton to offer!

Alejandro Mackgyver
08-08-2013, 03:43 PM
Just completed it today and was really excited to see it has a fairly sophisticated map/story editor tool set for user generated content!

I'm going to be looking at some of the user generated scenarios over the next couple of days with a view to creating something of my own. Any one else had a chance to get stuck into the editor yet?

08-08-2013, 04:46 PM
I have finished the game using Rifle Street Samurai, now I am playing the game for second time, now with Elven Shaman. Someday I want finish it with Mage and Rigger/Decker.

Alejandro Mackgyver
08-08-2013, 08:42 PM
Cool, My first play through was with a samurai too, he was called "Ol'Petey McGee" With orange hair as bright as sun light and skin as black as the polluted streets. I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing when specing my character up so I ended up being a shotgun/rifle/samurai sword wielding troll with a moral compass that pointed towards getting paid.

Been messing around in the level editor since I finished. What did you think of the story so far?

08-10-2013, 06:21 AM
Is there a demo so i can try if my computer can handle that game^^?
I've read there is a 30minute demo somewhere, but cant find it.

08-11-2013, 04:35 PM
There's no demo available. The system requirements are on the Steam website.


It doesn't require much to play, and as a turn based game it's not a big deal if it runs a bit slow.

Alejandro Mackgyver
08-11-2013, 07:48 PM
For those who have completed the main campaign and are looking for a really good user submitted story. (http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=167538274)

It is a currently an on going project so it does have one or two bugs that occasionally hamper the progress. But other than that it's a pretty solid example of an what a can be achieved when using the editor tool.

Seriously, go check it out.

08-12-2013, 08:35 PM
I'm about 3/4 in the original campaign, and I'm enjoying it immensely. But not without some caveats. Couple of thoughts, observations and lessons that may be valuable to Stoic, in no particular order(*):

1. Meaningful skill info, with numbers, percentages etc. One skill enhances the effectiveness of medkits, but _nowhere_ in the game (help, skill info, tooltips etc) is there a concrete value. Is the skill worth spending a few point? Many points? Is it useless? Is it +1% per level? Is it +10%? Is is +100%? You have to find out yourself. There are more skills like this.

2. Same thing for major game concepts. Take for example drones - I was under the impression that I would have to buy another one when my drone got shot to pieces. But it turns out you only loose it for the remainder of the current run, and you magically get a new one for the next mission. That's pretty important, but currently it's totally not explained to the player, and you have to google to find it out. Drones are expensive, so this piece of information is crucial when considering a rigger build.

I woudn't even know how leylines work for mages if I didn't watch the alpha gameplay video a few months back. Same thing with shamans and special summoning places. They're both kinda explained in the static in-game help, but there's just so much info there you can't remember everything. So, the way to do it is either a verbose manual or an interactive tutorial, and definitely not a single, overloaded screen.

3. Testing, testing, testing. I don't know if you guys plan an open beta for the single player game, but I strongly recommend it. Harebrained Schemes is an order of magnitude larger that Stoic, but still, after 2 patches, they let slip bugs like:
- after earning a certain amount of XP you get a boost of +1 action points, from 2AP to 3AP. It's +50%, so it's pretty significant. But, if your character currently has any kind of boost to AP (magic, cyberware etc)., then you don't get the boost. Confirmed as a bug, so it's not a feature ;) Smells like a totally unnecessary if statement ;)
- one level is extremely laggy for many people - main character actions are delayed for anywhere between 5-15 seconds. You click, the animations plays, but you have to wait for the actual effect.
- various different skills have wrong activation levels. For example the GUI says need skill X to be on level Y to do Z, but there's a bug and actually it's Y+1 or Y-1. Maybe someone got confused and used 0-based numbering or the other way around :)

4. Line of sight info available _before_ I commit the move. This is something that also annoyed the hell out of me in the new XCOM - I was never was sure what will my guy be able to shoot at in his new position. This is the single reason I would never consider playing in Ironman mode. I've reloaded the game many times due to some arcane jugdement that my guy either couldn't see someone or was mowed down by an overwartch through a few feet of solid rock...

5. Shadowrun Returns reinforced my resolve to never play a game right after the release. Normally I wait a few months for all the bugs to be squashed, imbalances resolved, defects repaired. (And DLCs released...) I hope that it will not be necessary for TBS. I beg of you, I want to be able to play TBS Chapter 1 version 1.0 without spending half a day on google finding out what works as described, what works differently, and what doesn't work at all.

6. There's also the subject of broken kickstarter promises. HB got a lot of heat for gimping the DRM-free/tablet release, and they deserved at least part of it. On the other hand, you guys were transparent from the beginning about the multiplayer part, but still some people were confused (to put it mildly). It's a strange world, I guess.

Aside from all this, Shadowrun Returns is a blast - it's a turn-based (check!) RPG (check!) with emphasis on the story (check!), and a robust editor for creating new content (check!).

(*) I'm kinda drunk right now, but I've just came back from a nerdy party where we talked about Shadowrun and all the other crowdfunded RPGs in the works. I didn't want to forget about any of the above points. If something is incomprehensible, feel free to ask :)

08-13-2013, 04:48 AM
Hi trisenk, that's some great feedback :). I hope to help a great deal with #3/5.

They do quite a bit of internal testing for #3 and what they're doing now is develop/work on test builds before establishing a more stable milestone build (or what seems like it at least). Stoic has a few people doing the rounds on both.

I have some involvement with the testing too, so I hope to make sure the launch version works well. I've had similar experiences with games, and one of the main reasons for my helping out a ton with the Factions live last Feb was because as a gamer, I was also all too aware for launch day problems games can experience and gamers have to deal with.

Hopefully, Saga will be far better than the Factions launch and just plainly awesome :D.