RPGWatch Feature: Shadowrun Returns Review
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September 22nd, 2013, 23:30
Hi again. Quite a lively discussion going on here, which I really enjoy. Excuse me for replying only occasionally, I am traveling and have only sporadic access. Still I wanted to reply to a few things.
Regarding replay value, my statement on that did really seem to bug Ihaterpg:
First off, no, if you expect multiple play throughs from your reviewer, than you have to look elsewhere. I simply don't have the time to do that, nor is it my style of playing, to be honest. I think this was transparent already from the review as written, but I concede it’s a good idea for the future to explicitly state the amount of play/replay in the future, so people can take that into account.
I did however rewind several times in my playthrough to try different conversation options (including skill or etiquette options) and decisions, and it was very clear that most resulted just in a few lines of different dialog, a few resulted in a different reward, but in no case could I determine any notable consequences or long-term repercussions – and yes, there are quite a few games that have something to offer in this respect. And yes, many AAA games (except maybe the Wither series) aren’t exactly great on that either, but they often make up for it by other means (open worlds, side quests, e.g.). And I wouldn’t necessarily give many of them 5/5 either…
I also replayed the early missions with the different characters I mentioned earlier, but I found little to make me want to go on, it was exactly the same story. And i took into account the other reviews and comments and impressions I read. Yes you can use different solutions to problems depending on your character (skills, stats, maybe other traits) (I mention this in the review), but it’s always only a very short range decision – as an analogy: you can choose the red door, the blue door or the yellow door – but you will always enter the same room, no matter which door you choose. Maybe there are these instances you cite “There's even some parts where there are up to 4/6 different ways to achieve a goal involving series of different actions”, but to me even when there were different options it all seemed very pre scripted – if you’re a decker, you can deck here, if you are high charisma charm the guard, if you are high strength, threaten him. Pass checkpoint, continue to the left. If you want to provide some concrete examples what I failed to dig out something, please do so, maybe using spoiler tags – but I suspect it comes down less to me not noticing it, but more to you being impressed by things I was not impressed by, as per the above example. Well, in the end, if you found it engaging enough for replaying, good for you, and thanks for chiming in on that, maybe it encourages some other readers to give it a try. I personally was not encouraged to, and my analysis of how the game worked found no reason to recommend doing it or give it good marks for replay value. My duty is to relate my impressions –from a certain point onwards reviews are subjective.
Which brings me to Dusk: “Personally, I don't write my personal review on major site if I don't like a game. I, indeed despise some games but I don't have a problem in other people having their options. I don't understand why some people seem to be eager to close the doors for other people. Opinions are free and I don't mind it at all (otherwise, I shouldn't be browsing) but I don't see a point in score systems.”
Firstly, I did not dislike the game, I say as much in the review. That does not mean I close my eyes to it’s weaknesses, nor that it gets an automatic good score. I score it based on the scoring principles put forth by the site, no more no less. Secondly, as someone else noted: scoring is a good exercise for the reviewer, you have to fess up, and it’s quite agonizing I tell you. It’s also a hook for the review – on a glance you can see if you generally agree or disagree with the reviewer (if you have already played the game). Or if this reviewers opinion is generally the same or different from the other reviews you’ve read. So it serves it’s purpose. As for the commercial effect we cannot and should not worry about that. We are fans of RPGs, and most of us are fans of indie devs. But a review is not an advertisement. My only concern HAS to be to do the best I can to give the reader both objective information about the game (mechanics, lengthe, bugs, etc.) and my honest opinion about my personal experience – the inevitable subjective element of any review. And frankly, RPGwatch remains a small site, all things considered. Considering that our reviews are mostly coming quite late anyway, I don’t think you need to worry that we ruin any game developers even if we (or I) were just unreasonably mean (which I really don’t think I am). I also think text, score and comments form a whole – which is why I really value the discussion – it’s very good that you don’t agree with the review and say so, that improves the overall value of the site for everyone.
Which brings me to Dusks “why now?” – as Myrthos already explained there is no agenda. The review was sent to Myrthos when I had finished playing and writing, and then it appeared when Myrthos had time to set it up after runnung some other stories. That’s all. And that’s how it will be in the future, unless other people here who play more / faster start to write.
Which brings me to one final point that is actually important to me. I find it strange to be addressed by you guys as “the reviewer” I am not an institution or a figure of respect – I’m just GhanBuriGhan, I’m a regular member of this site just as you are. Please address me directly. I write these reviews for two reasons: to give something back to the site that has provided me a lot of free news, entertainment and info over many years now. And second, because I find I enjoy playing the games more when I aim at writing about them. It intensifies the experience. But I am no more expert than the other members here (in fact I think we have members here who are clearly greater experts, but most have not chosen to write so far), and certainly it seems the call to write for RPGwatch is open to anyone who can and will write. So the third reason I write them is simply that noone else has.
Finally on the story
– to me it’s not a great story because it falls prey to tropes and clichés in the end. It starts out great, different and personal. Wry and witty. But in the end you save the damsel’s (trope 1), except the ones that turn into monsters (trope 2), in a dungeon filled with demon goo (haven’t I seen that in DA:O, and countless other games). Oh, in the end of course you really didn’t save anything because the megacorporations own anything, thanks for that, but its still a cliché, in a shadowrun world. Good but not great, I stand by that.
Sorry for the long reply, thanks for disagreeing, keep discussing.
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