There seems to be a bit of a trend just now of old games getting the remaster treatment… shocker (I know), and no we are not talking about games that are less than 5 years old. We are talking about OLD games like Blade Runner and Bard’s Tale games, that are a good 10+ years old. The latest to join the trend is Shadowrun which has just seen studio’s Harebrained Schemes and Codeglue teaming up to give the remaster treatment to three classic titles and bundle them together as Shadowrun Trilogy. This contains Shadowrun Returns, Shadowrun Dragonfall – Director’s Cut and Shadowrun Hong Kong – Extended Edition. To say there is a lot of game on offer here is a bit of an understatement. Unloading the shear amount of tale that is contained in each instalment, would take longer than you and I both have, but odds are you’ll start out with Shadowrun Returns which sets the tone of the trilogy.
In Shadowrun Returns you are sent a letter from an old friend who has passed away and it has in turn activated a sort of dead man’s switch, which leads you to having to hunt down a serial killer known only as “The Ripper”. That’s just the main beat of the first tale and there are a LOT of very excellently written side-quests you’ll come across as well. It’s a thing that hits you extremely quickly that the overall quality of the writing on show across the games is outstanding and really helps to build layers to the cyberpunk-meets-fantasy world. Gameplay is a real blast from the past, as it’s pure RPG fair where you explore for clues and leads, though brace yourself… it has a fixed isometric camera view. This does feel like a system from a long forgotten age.
You start out crafting your own character from a few light templates, that fall into the standard skill sets if your squint your eyes a little to see past the high tech and magic lingo. Though if none of those take your fancy you can just spec your own build from scratch. When things kick off combat is all about tactical turn-based action and if you have played the likes of X-Com you’ll feel right at home here. You have action points to spend and you can move your team how you want, though interestingly a few things you may expect to cost you AP points don’t, like swapping weapons and the like. Keep fighting and you’ll level up letting you spend points on a host of different skills – all of which add a new element to the battles you’ll face, from hacking to being more skilled with shotguns or rifles.
Visually things are ok though they hold onto the original style, so this is far from a full fat remaster, but that’s not to say it’s offending to the eye. What isn’t too good is there are a few visual issues: like never really being able to zoom in to the action as close as you want, which in turn will see you hitting the edge of every table you run past. It also has an odd feeling of lag when you are running through more open areas, which is hard to put your finger on, but it does feel like you have something sticky on your boots. That said, as you work your way through the three games you will also see them improve as well with Shadowrun Hong Kong being all round a better title than Shadowrun Returns, on the visual front and the like.
Shadowrun Trilogy is a chunk of a game that is a little dated in a way, but also delivers a solid and unique world that is all based on a legendary table top role-playing game. That blends the worlds of cyberpunk and fantasy together extremely well. If you’re looking for something meaty to sink your teeth into and a world to get lost in, you can do far worse than this golden oldie.
An Xbox review copy of Shadowrun Trilogy was provided by Harebrained Schemes PR team, and the remaster is available now on Switch, PlayStation and Xbox for around £35 depending on platform.