Note: Originally written 5/3/2014
I love the setting of this game, something along the lines of fantasy/magic meets scifi/steam punk. The main story, titled "Dead Mans Switch" is really engaging and exciting. Without getting too much into the details, it revolves around solving the murder of a friend of the protagonist. The story is very well written, with lots of interesting and engaging dialouge. It really draws you in and drives the gameplay -- you will most likely find yourself playing into the night in an attempt to uncover the next part of the mystery -- a mystery with plenty of twists and turns.
After you have completed the main story, there is also some new DLC available on Steam, as well as a community content creation tool, allowing players of the game to create their own campaigns.
The audio in this game is all around pretty good. I think some good voice acting would have been really cool in this game and added a lot, but perhaps there just wasent the budget for that. The music in the game is great, really driving the gameplay and the mood. The sound affects (gun shots, magic, etc.) are not bad, but I thought they could have been a bit better. This fact doesnt really mar the experience at all, just something I thought.
The graphics in this game are nothing crazy, but I personally really appreciated the art style and the isometric camera. I have the graphics maxed out on my PC and the character models leave a bit to be desired, but the backdrops/sceneray/general art direction of the game is very well done, and definitely brings the setting to life. Its definitely reminicent of other isometric games like Diablo/Baulders Gate/Fallout.
I really loved the gameplay in this game, however its definitely not for everyone. If you like turn-based strategy, like that found in games like KotOR, XCOM, then you will most likely enjoy the gameplay of this game. If thats not your thing then I dont think youre going to love Shadowrun Returns.
So far I've been playing the game on normal difficulty and have found this to be very satisfactory. Its hard enough that you will die sometimes, and it will be challanging/rewarding, but not hard enough that you are getting frustrated and want to walk away.
There is definitely some strategic depth to the fighting, but nothing you have to rack your brain over. When combat starts your characters (usually 3-4) will be all grouped up. You will want to spread them out and get them into advantagous positons. You will want to have some support characters and some heavy hitters, and it will usually pay to plan out your attacks as opposed to just running head first into battle. I found the gameplay to be very engaging, but as I said earlier, it might not be fast paced enough for some gamers and it can move a bit slowly at times.
I think there is a lot of replay value to be had for this game -- as I mentioned before there is already DLC available, player created content, and a bunch of different classes one could replay the campaigns with.
Overall I think Shadowrun Returns is a great game for gamers looking to sit down, relax, and get involved in a great story. The gameplay is fun and rewarding, although some might find it a bit slow. The graphics are nothing special, but the art direction is great. Sound effects are also nothing special, but I really liked the music. There is also a lot of replay value in this game with DLC, a selection of classes, and player created content. All for around $15 bucks.