Shadowrun Dragonfall doesn’t pull any punches. From the word 'go' it tosses you into a world of quick deaths, big shotguns, and difficult situations.
Even on the easiest difficulty setting you need to have your wits about you. Within ten minutes of starting the game you’re already in a firefight, already outnumbered, and already juggling keeping your team alive and dealing out damage.
That steep learning curve is likely to put some people off, but those who persevere will find a clever, engaging cyberfantasy RPG that pushes all the right buttons.
Its tactical combat is razor sharp, its old school story is entertaining, and everything is polished to an almost glistening sheen.Aim and fire
The game certainly starts with a bang. Just outside Berlin you lead a team of cybercriminals into an underground bunker beneath a mansion to steal some data.
What was supposed to be an easy job soon goes south and you end up running for your life, and getting embroiled in a conspiracy about an apparently long dead dragon.
The tale is surprisingly well told. There's no voice acting here, just reams to text, but none of it would feel out of place in a Gibson novel.
The combat is the core of the experience though, and it’s tight, fast paced, and tactical. Each of your characters gets a set of action points to spend each round.
You can use these to move, fire, or use a variety of different spells, buffs, and items. Learning the strengths and weaknesses of each class is essential.
There’s no point putting your shaman in the line of fire, and there’s no point keeping your street samurai with metal claws hidden at the back.Blast radius
Flanking, cover, reloading, and creatures you can summon from machinery all come into play, and they’re woven into a brilliantly balanced system.
When things get tense, which they do pretty quickly, you’ll often find yourself juggling medkits and healing spells while trying to keep the enemy pinned down. you’ll dart between cover, let out a shotgun blast, then make another character fire out a burst of lightning.
It makes for a brilliantly intense experience, and it’s complimented by smart AI and brilliant encounter design. You need to learn to use everything at your disposal to get the job done and keep your team alive.
The seedy dens and glittering cyberpunk spires you find yourself in are all presented in great detail. Switches flicker, radioactive insects skitter around, and neon lights fizz against the night sky.Tube lines and dragons
The very best RPGs build believable worlds, and that’s precisely what Shadowrun Dragonfall does. It’s a little smoother than its predecessor as well, and the touch UI feels that little bit more intuitive.
Throw in 20 hours of campaign play and you’re left with a package that feels classic and fresh at the same time.
Its violence is direct and engaging, its story tight enough to enthral, and the fact you can pop it in your bag and take it anywhere you go is the icing on the cake.
If you liked the original Shadowrun Returns you’ll love this, and if you’re just on the lookout for a new RPG to lose a chunk of your life in, you’ll probably love it as well.