+Classic pen and paper character creation system from tabletop Shadowrun days
+Beautifully animated visuals that provide a rather appealing Chinese appearance
+Use of classic tabletop mechanics shine brightly throughout the game
–Framerate hiccups from time to time
–User interface still feels somewhat… Confusing to use when navigating menus
Remember the days of old Shadowrun where you’d sit at your table, sipping your drink and nailing down stats to your Technomancer Ogre just to see how well you’d pull it off? Welcome to my life, but in video game format. To be honest this is my third-and-a-half time around the neighborhood with this series that features magic, technology, elves, ogres, orcs, humans, and more. To be honest? The series is an amazing one, but this latest installment is where the franchise has really begun to shine. Much like in the previous two titles, your story starts off with you, the player, building a Shadowrunner. Shadowrunners being a secretive like gun-for-hire that can either run with technologically advanced powers or even mystical powers, and if you want to go with an imbetween? You can do that too, the option is there, and it is suggested depending on your play style to do so. Thanks to how the game works you will be leading a team of characters who are fixed in their class, but also feature personalities that make up for it while exploring in real-time with them. This includes following through a throwback to the 80s cyberpunk era that’ll remind you of that early 90’s movie Demolition Man, but in this game the Triads are running the city, social segregation is at an alltime high, city-wide troubles have begun to take a foothold while a gang war has broken out and troll mercenaries are raising Hell and well magic-assisted corporate espionage like problems have begun to take place.
When looking away from such a small portion of the game that drives the dialogue and story, one of the biggest portions of this game is a giant leap forward is the new art, writing, and even the beautifully pleasing life-like Hong Kong that is truly brought to life through the script the writers made. To be honest? This game felt like a gigantic expansion for Shadowrun versus a whole new game, which is welcoming, and has come rather generously from Harebrained Schemes, and we couldn’t ask for more regarding the title. After a rather successful Kickstarter campaign once more, Shadowrun: Hong Kong brings forth massive locations, gigantic missions, beautiful decorations to each of them, but unfortunately most of it will be seen as a massive backdrop that the game uses. For those wondering what your home base looks like? It’s a hub that is very alive, but in the dockside underworld town where you’ll be introduced to quest-givers, shops, side-dialogue, and even micro-missions that will introduce you to the underworld of Hong Kong and even more complicated occurrences that will take place in your time here.
Shadowrun: Hong Kong – PC [Reviewed]
Developer: Harebrained Schemes
Publisher: Harebrained Schemes
Price: 19.99 USD [Steam, GOG.com, and Humble Store]
Released: Now Available
Unfortunately the downside to the game is that it does not have an open world even with how beautifully crafted Harebrained Schemes made it. This drawback is one that truly makes the game show its weak points to players as they may wish to go back to earlier locales, hunt down hidden items if there are any, and ultimately try to find anything they may have skipped over earlier within their title. Much like the rest of the game, it has been carefully crafted to such an extent that players will find themselves not just enjoying the graphical prowess of the game, but also the artistic creation through the soundtrack, ambience, and even sound effects when they ring out through a set of gaming headphones or perhaps even that gaming surround sound.
Even with such beauty that comes with an amazing story that is followed up by one of the glossiest appearances to date in the franchise, Hong Kong does find itself with a few fundamental flaws that made me tilt my head in confusion when playing such as frame rate dips, and even combat scenarios that I found my characters taking damage when they should not. At times? I found myself wanting to play the good guy in conversations, but instead found myself becoming the villain and settling the encounter with a gunfight that lead to my characters turret mowing down enemies while my main character bled out and had to wait for a revival from one of the others. The downside? Tutorials in this game are weak, which will lead many players going through one thing I had to do before in Shadowrun: Director’s Cut, which was learning how to revive a character while they bled out turn by turn until the game posted the infamous “Game Over” and had me restart from either my last save point or my last checkpoint depending on which one was more available at the time.
However, even with the minor flaws, Shadowrun: Hong Kong is a beautiful experience that will lead players through a lavishly told story even if it’s without the narrative as an interest point. This is one of those that is highly recommended for any player who love the old “pen and paper” style RPGs. If you do? This is right up your alley and is a franchise we highly recommend up to the current point.
Our review is based upon the release of the version that was given to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over onTwitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.