Shadowrun: A pleasant surprise

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Vincent O’Connell

Earlier this week I had the pleasant surprise of discovering Shadowrun for the Xbox 360. A friend had loaned it to me long ago and we both forgot about its existence.

Shadowrun is a cross-platform multiplayer FPS for Xbox Live and Games for Windows Live. It was released in 2007 and surprisingly still has an online community today.

Shadowrun was the first game released that allowed Xbox and PC users to compete in online multiplayer. Unfortunately, this feature uses the Games for Windows Live service. Games for Windows Live is known to be one of the worst platforms for gaming available on PC. Despite this, a community for the game still exists, though it’s very small.

During my weekend with Shadowrun, I encountered only Xbox players. When I was putting the game in I expected a generic FPS with an empty matchmaking system. What I discovered was an underrated competitive shooter with an active and highly skilled community. There were at least three full servers of 16 players each for the whole weekend.

Joining one was fast and easy. Once inside the game I quickly got served by the Shadowrun veterans.

The game plays very competitively, similar to Counter Strike. Thankfully the game has a single player section with a very good tutorial and training against bots. The tutorial has a great voice actor and goes into depth about some simple tactics while teaching you about the mechanics of the game. It’s moderately interesting until around the fourth section.

The bot training is a lot of fun and a great introduction to the game. Once you know the mechanics and how to play, the learning curve is a lot easier.

I was surprised for a second time when I discovered the loadouts and races being played were well varied. Usually games like this one have one or two overpowered setups that everyone uses. My personal favorite was the semi-automatic rifle with Smartlink tech, which adds a zoom and increases accuracy.

The game mechanics revolve around using magic, guns and technology to accomplish tasks in team based battles. There are four races to choose from, each with their own strengths and traits. These are humans, elves, trolls and dwarves.

There are seven magic abilities, six technologies and 11 weapons. A huge number of powerful combinations can be made from these items so there’s a variety of tactics in use online.

I enjoyed playing Shadowrun, but I would not choose it over Battlefield 3 or other multiplayer games. It is a good change of taste and could be a great buy for fans of older competitive shooter games. I wouldn’t pay over $5 for this game as it’s very old and not very popular.

For more information on Shadowrun you can visit the wiki page at shadowrun.wikia.com/wiki/Shadowrun_(2007_video_game) or you can check out my video review and item rundown on my YouTube channel (youtube.com/Vok250).