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September 20th, 2013, 21:43
@Turambar: But that was probably because you happened to pick a class which was neither strong nor weak.
I would have gone with 4/5 if the game was about twice as big so that the mechanics fit the game content.
Also looking forward to the Berlin Campaign.
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September 20th, 2013, 21:56
Thanks for the positive as well as the critical comments, much appreciated.

I don't know why I always take so much longer with some games than most other players, but it sure seems like I usually need 25% more then the average Watcher.

I fullly understand why some don't like the art style. I personally liked it, but with a style like that it really matters if you like the art or not - not like a semi-realistic Approach that probably most of us can appreciate if it's technically well done.

Capt. Huggy Face, yeah the character development isn't really deep that's true. There is certainly little incentive to play the same archetype again, as there would be few new choices. I gave it a pass mostly because I felt the strength of the game comes from assembling a team of diverse characters more than developing the individual player character. I probably should have discussed that.
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September 20th, 2013, 22:28
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Capt. Huggy Face, yeah the character development isn't really deep that's true. There is certainly little incentive to play the same archetype again, as there would be few new choices. I gave it a pass mostly because I felt the strength of the game comes from assembling a team of diverse characters more than developing the individual player character. I probably should have discussed that.
And I suppose this game isn't particularly notable in that regard amongst today's crop of RPGs. I guess I just miss the great variety possible with the old D&D games. Lack of character development is a complaint complaint I have these days. An excellent review, GBG, and I didn't hate this Shadrun game. Just found it disappointing in a few areas. I liked the art style well enough.
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September 20th, 2013, 22:39
Shadowrun Returns is pretty damn good, besides the lack of manual saving which has had me frustrated at length.

Got a playthrough going of it, hopefully finishing the game in a few days.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pk3…wTMxV4r0X1bfq1
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September 21st, 2013, 00:55
It felt more like a 4/5 to me to. The lack of saving didn't bother me in the least.

Daniel.
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September 21st, 2013, 02:39
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
I fullly understand why some don't like the art style. I personally liked it, but with a style like that it really matters if you like the art or not - not like a semi-realistic Approach that probably most of us can appreciate if it's technically well done.

Capt. Huggy Face, yeah the character development isn't really deep that's true. There is certainly little incentive to play the same archetype again, as there would be few new choices. I gave it a pass mostly because I felt the strength of the game comes from assembling a team of diverse characters more than developing the individual player character. I probably should have discussed that.
As for the art-style, I personally wanted more hardboiled/film noir feel but, since it's the crazy world of Shadowrun, or a melting pot of both Sci-Fi and fantasy factors, I think the devs took a good balance without making it look too goofy. The same goes to the story and atmosphere. At least, I was happy to see that they captured Shadowrun feel well.

Also, you wrote there is no replay value but, what kinds of builds did you try in your playthroughs? I used a genuine shaman, a ranged with Heal I magic and a rigger/decker. As it turned out, the most boring one was the ranged since it made the game laughably easy. The shaman with maxed charisma took almost all the etiquettes but I found the outcomes relatively underwhelming. Dealing with combat situations with support spells and summons was more interesting, though. The rigger/decker was not a bad idea but the equipment restriction was heavy on it. His slots were occupied by only a keyboard and a drone respectively, which made the final fight quite tough since only single person in the whole party had an Aegis weapon. I could have taken the NPC equipped with an Aegis weapon but I gambled since I found it's rather fun to play with indirect characters (Not Gimps since they are good at their own areas-I simply refused to let them have any weapon skill). Also, it's with the character who allows me to complete all the cyber "dungeons." He even managed to go through the scientist abduction subquest singlehandedly (Precisely speaking, by letting his drone slip into vents and hacking computers). The point was that, since I found most NPCs available more or less balanced, I decided to build the main characters in a more single-minded approach in order to make each playthrough impactful. Indeed, it turned out good for my three playthroughs but I suspect I'd continue on playing melee or mage characters since I doubt that I could get much more than what I've already gotten from doing so.

All in all, Codex review is more like my impression. It's far from perfect and, indeed, I can agree with a lot of his complaints but, with the scope in mind, it has its own charm.

BTW, as for making the game more adjustable for our life styles, why not just close your laptop, if you want to sleep? You only need to open it when you have time to play.
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September 21st, 2013, 03:26
Gook work on another review GhanBuriGhan. Just remember you will never please everyone with any review.

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September 21st, 2013, 04:38
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
@Turambar: But that was probably because you happened to pick a class which was neither strong nor weak.
I would have gone with 4/5 if the game was about twice as big so that the mechanics fit the game content.
Also looking forward to the Berlin Campaign.
I went with a decker, which I came to understand was the "weak" choice. Definitely some challenge there, and I can agree that I would have loved to see a bigger context and more opportunities to use the skills and systems found in the game. I didn't like the save system at all, but despite that, I had a lot of fun and was moved by the story. Well above the median, to me!
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September 21st, 2013, 09:46
Dusk, I also played a Shaman as my main character, and replayed parts with a Street Samurai focusing on ranged and an Adept melee fighter. My comment on little replay value is based on there being very few instances where a different character really has different options, and the few cases where there are the linear story re-converges quickly. The combat experience is soewhat different, but since you can play with varied runners in your team, I felt I had also already "seen that" by the time I was through with my shaman. Plus my impression was that the game was far easier with the combat characters - I have a comment about that somewhere in the review.

Couchpotato - thanks. I absolutely agree - the purpose of a review at least on this site shouldn't be to convince everyone of my views but to provide a solid basis for further discussion and analysis. So I am very happy to see comments that disagree with my views (also happy that others agree, of course )
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September 21st, 2013, 18:27
Nice writing GBG.

I agree with your review numbers. The short length and the no-save option just really took away from the game for me.

I too am a slow gamer and I put in . .. 48 hours on ShadowRun. The one benefit I get from taking so long to play a game is that there is only a handful of game that I replay.

NOTE: about 10 of those hours went to the last mission. I kept getting called for dinner, or work or some household duty and had to restart it a bunch of times. Not to mention the large number of times I died in that last mission.
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September 21st, 2013, 19:41
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Dusk, I also played a Shaman as my main character, and replayed parts with a Street Samurai focusing on ranged and an Adept melee fighter.
Myself I used an Elf Girl Rigger/Decker/Pistol for first play. And Troll (girl too I think, not sure) Decker/Adept/Close Combat.
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
My comment on little replay value is based on there being very few instances where a different character really has different options, and the few cases where there are the linear story re-converges quickly. The combat experience is soewhat different, but since you can play with varied runners in your team, I felt I had also already "seen that" by the time I was through with my shaman. Plus my impression was that the game was far easier with the combat characters - I have a comment about that somewhere in the review…
It shouldn't be so complicated to use the editor to check the options implemented in the game, but probably still a significant amount of time, I don't care enough to try. Or perhaps it's not possible to edit the game.

Yes it's a linear story and not many CRPG could offer them parallel stories. The point for me in this game is that by playing two times the game and few reload/restart I noticed there was many opportunities to do things differently to achieve a goal, much more than the common RPG and I include big AAA stuff.

It's possible that many choices opportunities aren't linked to the character class but there's multiple that are linked to skills and it's main character skill when it's choices during exploration mode, but also there's some hacking abilities during some fights where you'll hardly pick any hacker. Also for a replay it's still stuff to do differently and that's cool for the replay. I mean many choices are coming from your choices more than the character base class but that works anyway for a replay.

About choices I quoted quite many, some points:
  • I noticed a choice that seems linked to Orc and it could provide a quick additional mission.
  • Multiple choices are coming from your ability to charm NPC or not, it's a good idea to try the two opposite for a play and replay.
  • Many choices can also appear if you are broken or not with money and could bride or not, again it's good to experiment around that.
  • There's also choices coming from strength and so on.
  • There's even some parts where there are up to 4/6 different ways to achieve a goal involving series of different actions.
  • In few parts you have a brutal path choice.
  • And so on.

Overall I found the choices on how achieved goals a lot higher than most RPG and a quite good element of the game making the replay much better than usual.

One point about choices is for many you don't have them until you fulfill the conditions and that include for example that an item isn't here if you haven't filled the condition, or have some dialog options that aren't show by the game if you don't have the conditions. So it makes difficult to have a good idea of all choices, only those more generals and IF you try do things differently and some linked to attributes and dialogs and are shown disabled if you don't match the condition.

The other good points than amount of choices to achieve goals in different ways was:
  • Very good fights, I mean modern RPG tend not be that great on the point. For example it's better stuff than Spiderweb RPG to make a comparison with party+turn based.
  • Great story telling even if the writing could have more punch on the stomach. I noticed many story details was working better at replay.
  • And last but not least of the good points, is the excellent gameplay density, much much higher than usual modern CRPG (I see only Legend of Grimrock to do better on that point). There's few fillers but not much and that includes little tricks to find and all the fights hand made design tuning.

The only weaker point for me are:
  • A more emotional story telling would have been better.
  • The exploration is a weak part of the game, with some area well designed on that point, but many very underexploited with only too few tricks to find.
  • And obviously the lack of true save can be a burden.
  • Well ok also the game could have a bit more gentle puzzles but there's a good range of tricks to find.

To get more different fights from a play to a replay, it requires experiment around it, just count on using a different character is clearly not enough in most cases if you repeat again the same party compositions and tactics. I agree it seems the classes aren't very well balanced. But all in all the game offer the opportunity of a dual specialization so you have range of experiment before to build a very bad character. The problem rely more on the difficulty management with some step increase.

I have the feeling the reviewer didn't explored well the game and didn't noticed too many important elements and ended on many wrong feeling and conclusions. It's for me like someone commenting in detail something it doesn't know well. It's fair and honest from a reviewer job point of view but not satisfying at the end. There's the point of different tastes but I suspect the very low 6/10 rate is coming from this. Myself I would give a 8/10 but you need know the lack of true saves and admit it and known the relative short duration but good replay value by applying curiosity or experimenting and also the price isn't high.
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September 21st, 2013, 20:09
have the feeling the reviewer didn't explored well the game and didn't noticed too many important elements and ended on many wrong feeling and conclusions. It's for me like someone commenting in detail something it doesn't know well. It's fair and honest from a reviewer job point of view but not satisfying at the end. There's the point of different tastes but I suspect the very low 6/10 rate is coming from this. Myself I would give a 8/10 but you need know the lack of true saves and admit it and known the relative short duration but good replay value by applying curiosity or experimenting and also the price isn't high.

I disagree here.
Of course you can finy tiny things when you play it over and explore different decisions you can do in the game. But I don't expect from any reviewer to explore all these paths. I think a game should be judged for a single playthrough but with open eyes for decisions and balancing (like with the different classes imbalance here because this greatly affects your experience).
Besides that he gave the game a score of 3/5 and not 6/10. While this can be the same, it doesn't have to because the use of the range of the score is different with 5 and 10 points. My guess is that the reviewer's score of 3/5 equals a 7/10 score. But score systems are a science in itself. It's the text that matters. And while I think that he missed a few elements I think it's an overall good review which gives you a good picture about the game.
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September 22nd, 2013, 03:30
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Dusk, I also played a Shaman as my main character, and replayed parts with a Street Samurai focusing on ranged and an Adept melee fighter. My comment on little replay value is based on there being very few instances where a different character really has different options, and the few cases where there are the linear story re-converges quickly. The combat experience is soewhat different, but since you can play with varied runners in your team, I felt I had also already "seen that" by the time I was through with my shaman. Plus my impression was that the game was far easier with the combat characters - I have a comment about that somewhere in the review.
Yeah, you only wrote only about shaman build. The Codex review complained of lot of things but I immediately reckoned that the reviewer, at least, tried various things before writing his review.

Originally Posted by Ihaterpg View Post
Myself I would give a 8/10 but you need know the lack of true saves and admit it and known the relative short duration but good replay value by applying curiosity or experimenting and also the price isn't high.
According to the devs, the save system is going to be improved reflecting the opinions of the players. I don't know why the reviewer needed to post the review in haste.

Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
I think a game should be judged for a single playthrough but with open eyes for decisions and balancing (like with the different classes imbalance here because this greatly affects your experience).
Doesn't make sense at all especially when the reviewer mentioned the replay value even without actually playing the whole game with various characters. Even at the first gameplaythrough, it must be obvious that some character builds affect skill checks exclusive for the protagonist. Also, some builds such as riggers, who can let their drones go through different paths, while deckers can hack computers and beat cyber dungeons which cannot be done with any NPC. Indeed, it may not be worthwhile for some demanding players but how many major games do pay attention to such changes even if they are rather subtle?


You know, score systems can affect sales like Swen wrote in his latest blog entry, and I don't see a point in having score system here. If the score here has weight on average score on the net, then, the responsibility is quite high. Personally, I wouldn't like to give a part of death sentence to a game. Commercial reviewers on major sites cannot avoid this but small site like this can. On the other hand, if the score here doesn't matter much, why do we need it? It's like the infamous handholding arrow in Oblivion. Any individual who actually read them a review need it. Why should such small sites with limited audiences need the patronizing score system?

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.
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September 22nd, 2013, 03:41
We had a vote and dissuasion among the staff about getting rid of the scores. The final vote, and decision was to leave the scores in. Anyway if anyone is confused read this as it explains the system.
A score of 3/5 indicates a good game held back by obvious technical or design issues that limit the appeal. Games that score 3/5 will often split opinion, depending on how strongly the player perceives the flaws.
As for the save function the devs said they were looking into it, and not guaranteeing anything yet.
Improved Save Games: Our intrepid engineers are hacking away at improving our save game functionality in an experimental branch of the code. We still can’t commit to such a major architectural change or to how long it would take to complete but we are diligently working on it, so please stay tuned.

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September 22nd, 2013, 03:57
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
We had a vote and dissuasion among the staff about getting rid of the scores. The final vote, and decision was to leave the scores in. Anyway if anyone is confused read this as it explains the system.
Then, obviously, I'm for getting rid of it but, of course, it's my opinion again obviously.

Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
As for the save function the devs said they were looking into it, and not guaranteeing anything yet.
My point was "why now?" For the game was released much earlier while Berlin and the other improvements are coming, especially for a game which the reviewer cares to play just a dingle play-through.
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September 22nd, 2013, 12:11
So, you are actually saying that we should not have a review of this game, because it has been release some time ago and there are improvements to it in the future that might or might not be in? On top of that you also feel that with Berlin being released next year, it is another reason we should not have brought you this review?
Somehow I find this reasoning to be strange at the least.

As to rating the game, the interpretation of the 3 stars is explained in both the review and a link to the scoring system at the bottom of the review. 3 stars is not equal to a 6, like 5 stars isn't a 10. It isn't equal to any number, it is just a label for a game.

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September 22nd, 2013, 13:28
Originally Posted by Myrthos View Post
So, you are actually saying that we should not have a review of this game, because it has been release some time ago and there are improvements to it in the future that might or might not be in? On top of that you also feel that with Berlin being released next year, it is another reason we should not have brought you this review?
Somehow I find this reasoning to be strange at the least.

As to rating the game, the interpretation of the 3 stars is explained in both the review and a link to the scoring system at the bottom of the review. 3 stars is not equal to a 6, like 5 stars isn't a 10. It isn't equal to any number, it is just a label for a game.
"shouldn't" is a strong word and I spare it for the existence of the score (I'll explain the reasoning below) but, yes, I felt the timing rather odd.

Did you read Swen's blog entry I linked? Most of people don't care about how it is rated but about the resulted score, which can affect rather fragile sales of independent studios. Isn't it sad if a supposed RPG fan site work against indie game devs? We may have agreements and disagreements in details but, basically, it would be more desirable if various options are available. Also, think about other crowd-funded works coming. There are people who put much more money than other people-Some people will be deeply involved while some others can be just by-stander consumerist.-considering it, I don't think there is any way to put the scores in a convincing way. So, yes, I'd suggest you should get rid of the score system but, again, it's just my opinion. I may have sounded bit hard on the reviewer but this is my initial intention.
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September 22nd, 2013, 13:58
I'm very much in favor of numerical scores, because they force the reviewer to think about his position well and express it clearly. If your written review and your numerical score don't line up, you're obviously doin it rong.

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September 22nd, 2013, 14:53
Originally Posted by Dusk View Post
My point was "why now?" For the game was released much earlier while Berlin and the other improvements are coming, especially for a game which the reviewer cares to play just a dingle play-through.
It's now because we have limited resources. If we have a few reviewers and 3 times as many games as they can play, things have to wait. A review comes when it comes. Playing game A for longer than a single playthrough could resut in no review at all for game B. That's the author's choice alone.
The developer's commercial considerations aren't relevant for us.
If you write reviews you learn quickly not to include promises into the score, simply because marketing guys will say a lot of things to get a better score. An updated save system only counts *after* it has been delivered.
My personal opinion is that a game should be rated according to the patch level of the day the article goes live. In the digital age that's the exact game a customer could buy. I don't think we have a standard for that, though.
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September 22nd, 2013, 15:19
GhanBuriGhan's review is a fair one. I like his insight in CRPGs and games in general.
IMHO Shadowrun is much too linear to be rated better than average.
I stopped playing after 10 hours.

@Dusk and Ihaterpg
If you disagree with this review and have a very different opinion about Shadowrun Returns you could post your own review here.

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