05 August 2007

Shadowrun is claiming my soul

No, not the RPG, which is far too fiddly and crunchy for my tastes (though the cyberpunk-y distopia vibe is something I quite enjoy, even with the fantasy twist). I mean the FPS Xbox 360/Windows Vista title that is based on the same IP, but at the same time is utterly unlike its predecessor games, or the RPG.

It is just too damn fun and, crucially, rewards support play, so while it does not utilise cover mechanics in the way of Gears of War or Rainbow Six:Vegas to cut down on the twitch nature of shooters, being up front and in everybody's faces is not the only way to be successful. Also, the Live community playing Shadowrun is generally good; I guess the option to vote-kick disruptive players really helps here, but it may be more a function of the way the game plays, emphasizing teamwork over individualism.

There are lots of drawbacks - a limited range of maps and only 8 character models (4 for each side, when there are 4 races to pick from) chief amongst these - but a multitude of strengths to cancel them out. The game is balanced to perfection - from the innate powers of the races to the capabilities of the weapons and the range of magic options everything has its worth, and its counter. More, limited though the maps are, they are also generally well thought through, making good (if not always great) use of height differences (hang-gliders, yay!), and wall/floor layouts that maximise the utility of the Teleport spell.

Perhaps more pertinent though given the small number of maps and only three game modes, what makes the game re-playable is the sheer number of options for combining magic, technology and race, thus allowing several distinct builds which all play differently, even on the same maps with the same goals, or against the same people.

I'm not very good, and never will be, at twitch-style games, but I love to feel I'm contributing to a team effort. Shadowrun allows, even rewards me for, the latter so it continues to be fun even if I am falling fast in most even firefights. As a result I've been playing rather a lot of late; possibly too much. Each match is different, each kill unique, each death differently frustrating... and it all keeps me going back for more even when I should be doing other things!


Garry G said...

I just wish I had time! :(

Graham said...

I wish I didn't!

Graham said...

And now the fuckits seem to be growing in number. Perhaps word of how well the game plays has reached the majority of wankers out there now... :(

Dave said...

Or you jinxed it, by mentioning the wanker-free environment. :)

The game does sound like something I'd enjoy as well. Options, mix-n-match tactics and all.

... I just have to pile up enough money to be ruin-able again.

Graham said...

Yeah, that's always possible.

It would definitely be a title I'd recommend generally, but specifically to you based on previous gaming discussions.

Of course, it is also on Vista with cross-platform support... ;)