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Dark futures indeed
The original versions of Shadowrun are superb cyberpunk thrillers that combine deep, tactical gameplay with cool Neuromancer-style sensibilities and complex Baldur's Gate storytelling. The recent reboots stand up well when compared with their predecessor's and should be played by veterans and newcomers alike. This one is the third standalone modern version and plays out in similar fashion to earlier games, featuring a winding narrative that takes players on a thrill ride through a nightmarish future Hong Kong that is a unique mix of science fiction and fantasy. The story is fascinating and complex, well written and absorbing, with a rounded cast of memorable characters that show what can be achieved in video games if the talent is used. Combat plays out in turn-based fashion and thanks to the wealth of skills, classes and other assorted RPG elements, it proves to be just as enjoyable and rich as the narrative. The game is also pretty open ended with a vast amount of freedom as to how you actually progress and which gives it a lot of replay value. Generally speaking, this is a cracking adventure which is well worth playing whether you're a newcomer to the series or an old hand. The visuals are great, stylish and oppressive and really bring the world to life, with sound to match. The 15 hour campaign will keep you hooked to the end, while most of the minor tweaks to the interface are very welcome. The only real criticism is that it's very similar to earlier instalments but apart from that, this is top notch stuff.