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Shadowrun

 
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Posted:     Post subject: Shadowrun

Don't know how many people here play on the Xbox 360, nor how many actually got Shadowrun. However, here are my impressions from my own personal blog.


So all of the other game review sites have given Shadowrun relatively mediocre to poor scores, and a lot of people are apprehensive to the title as it has no single player. I myself was very worried, as I am not the biggest online multiplayer fan. Im into the single player campaigns and stories. So when I went to buy my copy of Shadowrun, you can bet I was nervous if the decision would be a good one or not.

I can safely say that this game only supports my opinion of most game jou
alists being full of complete crap.

Now, if you dont play multiplayer much, wait for the demo to be released on Xbox Live before you make any final judgement call on buying it or not. All they offer for single player are a set of tutorials and the ability to create bot matches like in Unreal Tou
ament games. This is certainly a nice way to learn the basics of the game, and the bots arent too shabby either. However, it is certainly not how the game is intended to be played, and it is far from being a replacement to a campaign.

With that out of the way, the only real flaw I can find in this game is that it takes a while to find and connect to a game. Following in the footsteps of Halo 2 (and potentially anyone else that may have done matchmaking before them), the game will take your preferences and your skill level and search for games that best match those two requirements. This can take a while, and, depending on what time of day youre playing, you have enough time to go make yourself a sandwich and eat at least half of it, if not all of it. This is usually the case in the morning, but I have yet to wait less than five minutes to connect to a game.

Well, you now know the two greatest flaws of the game. No single player and taking a while to connect. So what else is there? Nothing but fun.

The games break down into two teams.
A (blue) or Lineage (red). You are automatically placed on one of the two sides, and during the game may be shifted to the other side if one team begins to be more numerous than the other. All game types are team based, so you will be placed on one side or the other. Inviting your friends to join a game is a simple process that can either be done through the Xbox Guide or using in game options.

Once connected and assigned to a team, you get to choose a race. Each race has strengths and weaknesses. You have the human, whose weakness is that he has no strengths. He is the balanced race that is just average at everything. Elves have less health, but can restore it over time using essence (think of that as magic points) and also have great speed. While one might think the ability to restore health is cheap, it doesnt really take much to take them down in the first place. Dwarves have more essence and less health, but their essence regenerates more slowly. They can be valuable on the battlefield, though, as they are able to absorb essence from other races and from spells. This can turn them into magic casting machines. Lastly are Trolls, the slow damage sponges. They have more health than other races, but less essence. When they are attacked, they begin to use a skill called harden that reduces the amount of damage they take. This requires essence, however, and over time will make them even slower and easier targets. They take no further speed penalties to using heavy weapons such as the mini-gun.

While at first you may think one of these races has an advantage over the other, they really dont. Someone that doesnt know how to play a stealthy elf will surely be killed swiftly, but a player that knows what they are doing is incredibly dangerous. Fighting someone that knows how to use a dwarf can create disaster. For players like me, who tend to be damage sponges, the Troll tends to be the best choice. However, that doesnt make them a munchkin race, as playing like a newb makes your corpse the first on the battlefield.

At the beginning of each round, the players are able to buy weapons, technology and magic. Humans start with more money than any of the other races, but that doesnt mean they have a greater chance at winning. Players gain monetary bonuses as they gain more kills, carry the artifact (this games version of a flag), resurrecting friends, and so on. When you die, you lose your weaponry. However, you still keep any magic and tech you bought. All players start with a basic pistol and grenades. Dont be fooled, though. Its not all too hard to take other players down with this combination alone as long as you know what you are doing.

The weapons are typical FPS fare. What sets this game vastly apart from others of its kind are the spells and tech. You can map them to the left trigger, left bumper and right bumper. The right trigger is reserved for firing your weapon. The placement of the icons on your HUD may be intuitive, or they may not be. On occasion Id fire off the left bumper when I really wanted the right trigger, but that was only a problem for the first match I played. Its a simple system that you get used to really quick. You can buy as much tech and spells as you can afford, even though you may not be able to map them all.

To use spells that arent mapped, you simply hold the B button down, bringing you a radial menu (that means all the options are in a circle). Just point your analog stick in whatever direction you want to navigate, and place it in the center to go back to the previous menu. You can remap spells and tech here or quick cast/use. In the end, this process can take you less than a second to use.

To go through the advantages and disadvantages of every spell and piece of tech would take much longer than explaining it with the separate races, so just take it from me that everything is balanced. Even the spell resurrect, which allows you to revive party members. It is not an infinite respawn. If a resurrected player dies a second time, their body is destroyed. If the resurrector dies, then the resurrectee begins to bleed out and can soon die.

There are two primary game types in the game. Raid and Attrition. In Raid, either both teams are seeking to grab the Artifact and take it back to their base point, or the Lineage team is looking to grab the Artifact and the
A is defending the Artifact. The Attrition gametype is typically team deathmatch, where the Artifact merely allows the holder to see enemy locations. In this mode, bodies cannot be destroyed in order to prevent resurrection.

Now, there are some nits to pick about this game. While a lot of people like the team based games, Im sure there are plenty of folk that would like more options. I wouldnt mind a simple assault type of game myself like in Unreal Tou
ament, and plenty of folks would likely desire a simple deathmatch. However, these game types arent needed for the experience to be fun. More maps would be nice, but each of the maps is balanced and built for multiple strategic points, entrances and places to use the Teleport spell. There are plenty of new things to learn about each map by playing a different way, making them more versatile than any map in another shooter. Being able to choose your side would have been nice, but given a lot of the issues you run into in Gears of War ranked matches I prefer randomization. Its nice to play with your friends, but its also nice to play against them.

The only thing I wouldve wanted in this game (aside from a single player campaign) is the ability to customize your character appearance.

That said, I still absolutely love the game. Its probably the best online experience Ive had since Aliens vs. Predator 2, and even people Ive played with online have expressed that they dont understand why this game has gotten such low scores. It is not a perfect package, but for the goals that FASA set forth, which is to create a fun online multiplayer game that is different from its competitors, this game succeeds.

The Bottom Line

Now, as stated, if youre big on single player, this game may not be for you. If you are a big fan of nothing but realistic shooters, this game is definitely not for you.

However, Shadowrun provides a new multiplayer shooting experience. Not only that, they manage to provide it perfectly balanced. I never think about who is and who isnt playing on Vista or the Xbox 360. I never find myself feeling cheated because something is too powerful, because I know how each thing can be countered. I have yet to become bored with any of the maps or game types.

Shadowrun is a fantastic multiplayer game, and dont let any snot nosed game jou
alist tell you otherwise.

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