Shadowrun Returns with Dragonfall - Is it worth checking out?
Shadowrun saw its initial return last July with the release of Shadowrun Returns. Back then, I thought that the game was worth playing and checking out. This is what I said in my review about Shadowrun Returns, "At the end of the day, Shadowrun Returns is a great experience. It throws you into a world that you might already be familiar with or are learning about. The overall story is good, even if the character interaction can be a bit lacking for a game like this. I do wish there was more to do outside of the main story as it's just too linear. The gameplay is solid even though it doesn't really do anything new, but I did like what they did with the The Matrix and it made those parts enjoyable to play through. However, the possibilities with the editor will keep me coming back to the game for years. It's a game worth checking out. "
Shadowrun returns again this week with the release of its first expansion Dragonfall and a lot of the things I thought about Shadowrun Returns still stand true, but Dragonfall expands and improves upon the experience. Dragonfall is a completely separate campaign than what we saw in Returns. There are even clues that show it takes place during the same time period as the original story. The story seems very cookie cutter on the surface as you have to rebuild your team after a run goes bad. That seems pretty standard when you think about it, but the small things are what matters when it comes to the story. One of the great things about Dragonfall is the character development, which is much more prominent. They turn the death of a character at the very beginning into a huge deal, not just for your team of shadowrunners, where it matters to a whole community. That character's death sends ripples into your teammates as they not only lost a leader but a friend as well. It also greatly affects the community as this character was highly regarded by a lot of people in this small hub community that stands in the free city of Berlin. It also gives more weight to the your character as you have big shoes to fill since you have to gain the trust of your team and the community. The expansion also brings with it the mystery of "The Flux" as you unravel everything surrounding the aforementioned run that went bad. That plot point is interesting enough, but is ultimately strengthened by the much stronger character development.
You're not going to see a drastic change in Dragonfall's gameplay as it hasn't really changed much. You'll see a few enhancements here and there, such as saving at any point and new healing kits/items to use, but the core turn based combat remains the same. This isn't a bad thing as I think the combat was solid and really didn't need major changes. One of the things I saw that was a big improvement was the sheer number of options during conversations. This really makes your karmic (you spend karma when you level up) choices more important as your knowledge in certain areas could make some parts of the game more or less challenging depending on the situation. It's not just about your charisma, it's about what your area of expertise is. This also leads to more optional side quests that you may not be able to complete based on the build of your character. This adds to the replayability of the game, as you can see how different scenarios will play out.
Let's just get to the nitty gritty, Dragonfall is still Shadowrun. If you enjoyed your time with Shadowrun Returns last year, you will absolutely enjoy your time with Dragonfall seven months later. Dragonfall improves the most when it comes to the characters and what they mean to the world presented in the campaign. There are slight overall gameplay improvements, but Harebrained Schemes isn't changing what works. This new campaign isn't going to change your mind on Shadowrun Returns, but it's an absolute must buy for those that want a new experience in the Shadowrun universe.