Here you can play as an orc shaman with a Kalashnikov.
If after these words you still do not have a desire to try this game, then let’s talk about it in more detail.
Two upcoming RPGs are preparing for release – Baldur’s Gate 3 and Cyberpunk 2077. But if you are tired of the fantasy genre, and cyberpunk has not yet been released, I advise you to pay your attention to Shadowrun Returns, an RPG developed by the independent studio Harebrained Schemes under the guidance of a game designer Jordan Weisman, who is also the creator of the original board, on the basis of which the project was created.
The authors collected funds for development on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform and quite successfully, which made it possible to implement additional ideas.
This project is unusual due to its setting, which combines the typical attributes of the fantasy genre such as trolls, orcs, goblins and magic with the typical attributes of the cyberpunk genre, that is, implants, corporations, hacking and infiltration into cyberspace.
A mixture of settings
You are a mercenary, a runner doing various jobs for money, as usual, not always well, or even mostly illegal. And once, once you are broke, you receive a letter from your friend who died and asks you to find your own murderer, for which he will pay 100,000 remaining in his account. You agree and go to Seattle, where a solid crime story unfolds. In the course of it we will face detective investigations, rituals in order to interrogate the dead, and we will deal with the capture of Jack the Ripper. Gradually, it develops into a typical cyberpunk storyline with an ominous, grandiose plan of a powerful corporation. It is frustrating that there are few tactical RPGs with an interesting storyline. In X-COM, this is more likely not a plot, but just a global goal, you can try Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden, but I didn’t go through so I don’t know how much the authors were guided by the story, well, Gears Tactics in which the plot is typical for the universe of gears, but you don’t need more from it, although I can’t play it because it won’t pull it on my device. But we got distracted, so we go back to Shadowrun.
Since the game is in the RPG genre, it starts with creating a character. We are given five races to choose from: dwarves, elves, humans, trolls and orcs. The choice affects which specialization is more suitable for a given race. With specializations, things are better. They are represented by seven types:
1) Mages are all familiar guys who can heal partners, throw fireballs, and also apply positive effects on their allies, such as increased action points, increased accuracy and armor. In addition to party members, they can debuff opponents by the type of slowing down, distraction, decay, agony, and increasing the use of action points on spells. Although they themselves are not very effective against opponents, they are of great benefit to the team.
2) Street samurai are fighters who can effectively fight both in melee and in ranged combat. A useful character if you do not have enough combat power. I can’t really say about its features, since I rarely resorted to its help.
3) Deckers are hackers of the Shadowrun universe who, using cyberdecks, hack various systems while passing through cyberspace. I took on the assignment only a few times, and then because of the plot need.
4) Shamans – are able to communicate with the world of spirits and call them to their aid. They are armed with various totems that give an increase in accuracy and are also capable of applying various buffs and debuffs to allied and enemy units. As you can see from the title, I chose this particular class. Thanks to his ability to summon spirits and the applied effects, it was possible to get out of difficult situations with minimal losses, but sometimes it happened exactly the opposite.
5) Riggers are guys who control drones and this is their only feature. I took it exactly once per assignment and did not see the benefit of their help.
6) Martial adepts – possess knowledge of martial arts and successfully combine them with magical effects.
7) Well, the seventh special class allows you to customize your character in accordance with your own preferences.
There are also seven communication styles to choose from, from street gangs to corporations. As the leveling progressed, I discovered almost everything, but in the game, the use of this skill was extremely rare, and even then in order to increase or decrease the transaction price.
How you want to return to the bar
In the gloomy world of cyberpunk, you expect set-ups at every corner and hostile attitude from others, but in the place where we take tasks, buy resources and rest after sorties, an atmosphere of trust, friendliness and mutual assistance hovers. The place is a bar “Beautician”, and the name is explained by the fact that during the development of the wild west and the population census, it was necessary to somehow record the brothel workers and their profession, so they decided to write down every woman engaged in prostitution as a seamstress. Here is such an interesting excursion into history. Well, in this bar between missions, you can stock up on weapons, armor, you can also buy medicines, spells and install various implants. I can’t say how much they affect the gameplay. Due to the fact that the implants reduced the abilities of the shaman, I did not install them. In addition to the merchants, there are quite interesting characters in the bar, be it the hostess who takes care of each customer and helps the runners, or the troll, whose appearance gives the impression that he is just a mountain of muscles without a drop of intelligence. In fact, he is quite smart, well-read and intelligent. Thanks to such characters, such a family atmosphere develops in the bar, where the runner will always be helped and covered in case of trouble.
The main gameplay is tactical turn-based battles, where the player first makes the move, then the opponent. Action points are spent to execute shots or movement. More points will be spent depending on the distance to be covered. In battle, it is necessary to combine the abilities of the characters in the team in order to get to the goal with minimal losses. The success of a shot is calculated by probability, which works oddly. With a hit probability below 70%, I hit 4 times in the whole game, but my opponent is quite successful for me. There are various shelters at the levels that increase the percentage of protection from hits, and you can increase or decrease the probability of hitting by using various auras, spells, buffs and debuffs.
As for the feature of the shaman that came out sideways. Imagine a situation in front of you 5 opponents, and there are three of you in your team, you summon a spirit to equalize the chances, but on the next move you do not spend enough action points hoping to still make a shot, and due to low pumping you lose control over the spirit and now it is against you not five, but six opponents. Moreover, the spirits in battle are quite effective both in relation to enemies and to the player. You have to figure out where to move, so as not to rake the enemy on the move, make a shot or use the ability to facilitate the course of the party members.
When playing for mages, special points are located on the battlefield, the concentration of magical power, when switching to which, all his spells become more effective. When hacked, a hacker enters the virtual world, where he also participates in tactical battles only with programs.
Also in combat, in addition to melee and ranged weapons, you can use consumables, these are grenades for various purposes, first-aid kits, and so on. Certain shots require a certain number of action points, the more accuracy or the number of shots, the more they are spent.
If you know that the enemy will pass in the area under your control, you can use the concentration mode. Leaving unused action points and aiming at a specific area, you can take a shot during the enemy’s turn if he enters that area. Funny situations arise with this mode. When you know where the enemy will be, for example, he will enter the door, in concentration mode you aim all the team members at this door and when the enemy enters, he receives a volley from all the barrels in his chest.
Developing tactical moves does not get bored throughout the entire period of the passage, and sometimes there is a desire to replay the missions already completed in order to resolve the situations that have arisen more effectively.
Efficiency is also increased by pumping, which is not tied to any specific class, which allows you to retrain from a magician to a hacker. You can pump both general parameters, such as health and the level of possession of weapons of different types, and, accordingly, the parameters characteristic of classes. After the mission, pumping points are poured in excess and there is no dilemma of what to pump this time, but this is on condition that you develop a branch of your class.
If you want to while away the month while waiting for Cyberpunk 2077, then I recommend this game for review. After all, where else will you see the combination of the gloomy world of cyberpunk and fantasy. Plus, there are few, few tactical games with an interesting plot, and the plot here is worth getting to know.