Shadowrun Trilogy Review (Switch eShop)

Captured on Nintendo Switch (docking station)

Harebrained Schemes’ superlative Shadowrun Trilogy first released in 2013 after a successful Kickstarter campaign that saw its intriguing cyberpunk-meets-fantasy world drop onto PC and mobile devices. Set in the same universe as the long-running tabletop RPG series Shadowrun, it’s a trio of games set in a delightfully atmospheric futuristic world where elves, orcs, dwarves, and humans live side by side. in a complex and troubled society. .

The first entry in the series, Shadowrun Returns, wastes no time blasting you through its straightforward character creation suite before immersing you in the soggy streets of 2054 Seattle where you’ll engage in plenty of well-written conversations with a cast of interesting NPCs while engaging in delightfully airy XCOM-lite style battles. Yes, it’s true, costs. One of Shadowrun Returns’ main draws, and one of its biggest surprises considering the genre, is that fast, easy breeze that filters through every aspect of its ride. It gets straight to the point quickly, guides you through its linear story and world without wasting a second of your time, makes upgrading and purchasing gear a breeze, and it’s all done and dusted in about ten hours.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (docking station)

Basically, if you’ve ever imagined being stuck in Divinity: Original Sin 2, Pillars of Eternity, or a similar style of tactical RPG, but thought they were way too complex or too long, well, Shadowrun Returns might be right up your alley. in your street. It may be a rather abrupt experience in some ways – and quite easy as far as this genre goes – but it’s also been made with an eye for detail and an innate knowledge of what makes this genre of games work.

The same goes for Shadowrun: Dragonfall and the final entry in the trilogy, Shadowrun: Hong Kong. While these two later entries nearly double the runtime and reinforce the core of what’s in Shadowrun: Returns by giving you more freedom to explore their delightful hub worlds and take on side missions however you see fit, they are essentially more of the same. These are games that don’t overstay their welcome, get you into their combat and storytelling as quickly as possible, and as a result, they’re perfect for newcomers to the genre who also possess the ability to absolutely keep the RPG veterans transfixed.

All three games feature essentially identical combat, with Dragonfall and Hong Kong making a few changes here and there, notably in that you take control of a team of shadowrunners for their duration rather than hiring random strangers, which helps add a little more tension. to the procedure. There are also a few new mechanics such as ley lines dotted around arenas that give a boost to magic attacks, and Hong Kong introduces the ability to surprise attacking groups of unaware enemies. But on top of that, it’s pretty much a standardized experience across the board.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (handheld/undocked)

In terms of storytelling, where Shadowrun Returns tells a short story very well, its sequels introduce more meat, giving you new opportunities to flex your conversational muscle and reap the rewards of pumping up your karma points – which you’ll earn by completing tasks. missions – in skills that give you access to more dialogue options and allow you to completely avoid combat scenarios a few times. If we had to pick a trilogy favorite, we had to go for Dragonfall, as its depiction of near-future Berlin and the story that follows as you attempt to avenge a fallen comrade and acquaint yourself with the resurrection of a legendary dragon, is the most complete and fastest of the group.

Shadowrun: Hong Kong isn’t far off the pace, and it’s only in a mid-section that gives you a little too much freedom to wander off to flesh things out, alongside unnecessarily long conversations, that he is holding himself back from reaching the same heights as his predecessor. Taken as a trio, however, the Shadowrun Trilogy is simply superb. It’s truly one of our favorite RPG franchises and a series we have many fond memories of when it first released.

Not everything is perfect, mind, the combat here is pretty simplistic in the way it handles its cover system, you can’t control the in-game camera during fights, which creates a weird and awkward angle , and all three games feature Matrix hacking sequences that we would prefer to do without. However, for the most part, these are very enjoyable adventures whose mechanical failings are more than made up for by stellar writing and world-building.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (docking station)

Of course, being fairly old games that we originally played on our mobile phones, we weren’t at all concerned about the quality of the ports here and were just eager to dive back into Nintendo Switch again, which turned out to be a big mistake. Yes, for reasons we can’t for life begin to comprehend, what we’ve been served here is a chaotic trio of ports that seem to struggle to run on more powerful hardware than it successfully launched on. almost a decade ago.

Shadowrun: Hong Kong comes off the best of the three games here, not suffering from the consistent framerate and stuttering issues of the other two entries, though it does retain the overly long load times and menu interactions. / frustrating and sticky pimples. However, this final entry and Shadowrun: Dragonfall came with a pretty serious bug that sees both games completely freeze during sections that use the Switch’s internal keyboard to enter passwords and other information. These buggy sections, some of which are critical to your campaign progress, have caused us to repeatedly restart our games and, in some cases, lose an entire mission’s progress in the process. Additionally, we found no solution to the problem other than repeatedly reloading, desperately switching between rooted and portable inputs until we finally got out of it, haphazardly.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (docking station)

That’s not ideal, and it makes recommending this compilation – a trilogy of games we love – very difficult. If you have the patience of a saint you might be able to put up with the constant performance issues, frame rate issues and that bug that sees your game freeze entirely, but otherwise this is a an experience best avoided until a patch drops to fix the most glaring issues.

Conclusion

The Shadowrun Trilogy is a superb trio of RPG classics that we couldn’t wait to find ourselves in again on Nintendo Switch. However, consistent performance issues, including choppy frame rates, long loading times, unresponsive and sticky controls, and a serious bug that freezes your game entirely at times, mean it’s stale. This is a series of ports that we find very hard to recommend picking up as things currently stand at launch. Hopefully there is a major patch on the way as soon as possible as these are games that deserve to be played by as many people as possible.

About Jason Zeitler

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