RPGWatch Feature: Shadowrun Returns Review
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September 20th, 2013, 17:23
I agree with the rating of 3 out of 5 and the one part of a sentence which explained the game best was
it often felt more like a point-and-click adventure with RPG elements than an actual RPG.
I think most of the major aspects were mentioned in the review, including the beautiful but "empty" and very linear world, the saving system and the strength of the story…and the short play time.
I did a
let's play in German
and spent 14 hours. I have read every text, I am not an especially fast reader. I think you can't beat the game below 12 hours if you read all the text but needing more than 16 hours (with this character choice) is also very, very unlikely.
The balance problem and lack of challenge was hinted in the review. Actually with a very weak main character it can be challenging.
In the review it was mentioned that it's almost like in Jagged Alliance and while the hiring process really is the way, the feeling of a group isn't.
What you need to know right from the beginning is: It's your main character which matters, everything else is optional. If you hire a character this character will get everything assigned automatically. Besides of playing the character in fights, you have absolutely no control over it in terms of skills, level ups and so on. All the dialogues are done by the main character, much like in NWN2.
My character was a specialist in rifles and just killed everything without any problem. It didn't really matter who I took into my team. I only failed in two fights on the first try: first one because I wanted to rescue some innocents. Second one because I did not understand the mechanics of the final battle immediately. The fight at the cemetery was also challenging.
But besides that the battles were not challenging at all. Technically I liked them more than the battles in XCom, but the balance was horrible. The class to class balance on one hand but also the skill balance. The headshot ability was basically completely useless. In most of my fights my main character was Rambo who killed everything and the others job was to buff him.
But if the fights were more challenging (which I would have liked) it would have backfired due to the bad saving system. It's no fun to click through wall of texts each time you fail in combat.
But back to the play time: Having only 15h of game time isn't good itself. But what was worse is that the game mechanics look like beeing for a game with 50h content, just pushed together to fit within 15h. So the character progress is insanely fast, you get tons of skillpoints thrown at you. You don't feel any sense of achieving progress because the single steps just didn't matter much. You just bought a new weapon or armor you will soon exchange again anyways.
In addition while the story wasn't bad, it didn't really tell you when to expect the end. Or actually I expected it two times before the actual ending. This makes it very hard to manage your credits. If you want you can spend all the credits by hiring temporary members for each mission. But you can also invest in items or save the money until the next item tier is unlocked. If you would have seen all items from the beginning you could have said "well, I will just save for the most expensive one", but the way it was, you had to decide when to spend all your money. And when you decided to buy all the Tier 3 items and thought it was the last tier, you wont be able to buy the Tier 4 armor after that because you already spend your money.
In addition some skills like the different Etiquette unlocks only could be used like 2 times in the whole game. Now if you are 50% through the game and unlock one of these, you have good chances that the options to use this unlock already passed.
The hacking skill sounds nice in the beginning but is completely useless on the main character. You only have very few opportunities for hacking. And at these opportunities you always get an additional NPC which can do the job, probably even better than your character if you had learnt it with him, which will frustrate any player who chose the hacker path. As there are also not very many fights in the whole game, the threw in some options in the level design. Maybe you played Dark Messiah of might and magic. Every time you saw spikes in the wall you thought "ok, now some enemies will come so that I can kick them into the spikes", and seconds later they came. In shadowrun returns it was almost the same, jsut with drone shafts which were artificially put into the level design and felt out of place.
So to keep it short:
-horrible balancing which might either result in unchallenging combat or frustration due to save point system
-bad party management which also wasn't communicated
-bad character progression
Join Date: Jun 2012
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