Shadowrun is kind of special, in the fact that it is the very first game that will allow Xbox 360 users to play with PC (Windows Vista) users. I am in the process of reviewing the game, until I have finished here is an article to wet your appetite.
What is Shadowrun?
Shadowrun is an intense FPS experience that rewards cleverness and split-second improvisation through a unique combination of modern weapons, ancient magic and advanced technology.
Set in and around Santos Brazil in the year 2031 Shadowrun tells a story of struggle between two opposing forces. RNA Global is a megacorporation out to control a recently unearthed magical power. The Lineage is a 5000 year old secret society dedicated to defending that same power. Their conflict will change the course of magic in the region.
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How do I win?
The game is played over a series of rounds and, during the first 30 seconds of each round, you will have the ability to buy additional weapons, magic and tech, spending the money that you earn during play. You earn money for winning rounds and for actions during gameplay, including killing opponents, carrying the artifact, and using certain abilities to help your team. Players on the losing team also earn some money between rounds.
The winning team is the first one to win six rounds. Each round is four minutes with the possibility of one minute overtime. How to win a round is determined by the gametype.
How many players does the game support?
16 people can play at one time. 8 vs 8.
What are the gametypes?
Shadowrun has three different gametypes. These are Raid, Extraction and Attrition.
The Raid gametype requires the attacking team to capture a magical artifact and deliver it to the extraction area. The defending team must stop the attackers from escaping with the artifact.
The artifact always starts in the same place and only the attackers can carry it. If it is dropped and not picked back up, it will eventually return to its initial location.
With one side on offense and the other on defense Raid is the more tactical of the gametypes, often feeling like a high speed chess match with magic and machine guns.
In Extraction the artifact starts in the center of the map. Both teams can pick the artifact up. Each team wants to bring the artifact to a separate extraction area on the opposite side of the map from where they start.
Extraction is the more fast paced and frantic gametype. Both sides are after the same thing so combat happens faster and faster paced.
Attrition is basically a game of team deathmatch, however there is no respawn. The only way to come back into a specific round is to be resurrected by a teammate.
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How many weapons can I carry at the same time?
Two plus grenades.
What are the different weapons?
: Low power, relatively accurate, single shot per trigger pull. Your starting weapon and the weapon of last resort.
: Decent power, moderate accuracy, fully automatic, better up close than at a distance. A good all-around weapon.
Rifle: High power, high accuracy, single shot, one level of zoom. A good long range weapon.
: Damage varies from extreme up close to very low at distance, single shot. A strong close in weapon.
: Melee only weapon, deals extreme damage to unaware enemies. Good for sneaky attacks from behind. When wielding the Katana you are in a third person view.
: Moderate power, good accuracy, fully automatic, must spin up before shots are fired. A good close to medium range weapon if you have time to spin up; can put out a huge number of bullets before having to reload.
: Extreme power, extreme accuracy, single shot, two levels of zoom, can only be fired while zoomed. Head shots deal extra damage.
: High area damage, moderate to low accuracy, fires a slow, wire-guided projectile. Can clear areas and kill multiple enemies at once, though it takes a steady hand and oftentimes some luck to use.
: Each player starts with two grenades per round. Grenades do high damage but are hard to aim. Unlike the other weapons grenades can be used while carrying another weapon in your main hand.
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What are magic and tech?
Magic and tech give you the ability to do game-changing things and are usually the key to your team’s winning or losing. Magic and tech work against each other, however. You need Essence to cast magic and tech reduces the amount of Essence available. You can choose to rely exclusively on magic, only on tech, or can try to balance a little of both.
Note that neither magic nor tech can be used while carrying the magical artifact. Attempting to activate a tech or cast a spell will force you to drop the artifact. Any passive abilities granted by magic or tech also do not function while carrying the artifact.
What is Essence and how does it work?
Your Essence is the magical energy that you need to cast spells. You start with a full pool of Essence and every spell that you cast takes its cost from that pool. Over time, your Essence pool will regenerate, filling back up to its maximum. Your Essence is represented by a column of circles in the lower left of your screen.
However, having tech assigned for use will reduce the maximum size of this pool. Each tech has its own Essence penalty associated with it and assigning multiple techs will reduce your available essence by the total of these penalties. Tech penalties are shown at the top of the Essence bar.
Certain spells will also temporarily drain a portion of your Essence pool while they are in effect. This is called investment and the spells that have investment costs are detailed in the “What are the different magics?” section. Investments are shown at the bottom of the Essence bar.
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What are the different magics?
Tree of Life
: Creates a magical tree that heals anyone, friend or foe, that stands under it. The tree is a physical object and provides cover and some concealment, though it can be shot and destroyed. It can heal a limited amount of health, after which it is destroyed. Healing your teammates with a tree of life will earn you money.
: When you cast Resurrect it brings back to life any dead within a short radius, tying them to you. This is a powerful ability and will cost you some essence as an investment if anyone is actually resurrected. You can resurrect multiple nearby players in a single cast and a single investment by moving over multiple bodies while casting. You will make a portion of any money that the resurrected player earns.
If the resurrected player dies, they will not leave a body and cannot be resurrected again and you will regain the invested essence. Destroying enemy bodies will prevent the enemy team from resurrecting dead teammates.
If you die, any players that you have resurrected will start losing health at a fairly rapid rate. In this state, they can be re-resurrected by another teammate and saved, but if they are not, they will likely die in short order.
: Creates magical crystals that damage and drain essence from players that run into them. The crystals also attract and trap players for a short while, though the individual crystal is destroyed by this. Each cast of Strangle costs you some essence as an investment. When all of the crystals from a particular cast are destroyed, you will regain the invested essence. The crystals are useful for blocking routes and slowing enemy passage.
: Creates a strong gust of wind that will disrupt enemy aim and send them flying, potentially off of ledges and to their doom. Gust is useful in denying opponents access to an area and also damages players that are smoked (see “Smoke” below).
: When you activate Smoke, there is a short delay as you smoke, after which you are unable to be damaged by anything other than Gust. While active, Smoke drains your essence to maintain itself, and will shut off when you use it again or when you run out of essence.
While assigned, smoke renders you invisible to Enhanced Vision and prevents enemies from locking onto you with Smartlink. See “What are the different techs?” below for details on these techs. While assigned, Smoke reduces the rate at which you regain essence.
: Teleport moves you roughly eight meters in the direction that you are moving, regardless of what is in the way. You can jump up and teleport to move through ceilings or can crouch and teleport to move through floors. Teleport is extremely versatile and finding good teleport routes through the map will allow you to quickly cover large distances, escape from a bad situation, or surprise your enemy.
In order to teleport you must be moving or crouched. Teleport also will not work through thick rock.
: Summons a minion to attack your enemies. If you cast summon while targeting an enemy player, the minion will hunt them down, otherwise it will defend the area around where you targeted.
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What are the different techs?
: Gilder allows you to glide long distances through the air and will prevent you from taking falling damage while active. You can activate Glider by using its assigned button or, when it is assigned, by hitting the A button while in the air. Glider combined with teleport will make you extremely maneuverable. A small electromagnetic generator causes some initial lift when glide is activated.
: When activated, Enhanced Vision sends out a sonar-like pulse that will let you see both enemies and friends through walls, combined with a distance indicator to each contact. If you are close enough to a player, you will see their silhouette; otherwise you will see an icon representing them. Enhanced Vision does not show players that have Smoke assigned.
Players on the receiving end of a vision pulse will feel a distinctive rumble and will see a visual effect, telling them that they’ve been spotted. Be aware that, if an enemy on the receiving end of a vision pulse has Enhanced Vision assigned, you (and only you) will automatically show up to them, just as if they had activated it.
: While active, Smartlink confers a number of advantages, but also adds a laser sight that makes you more visible to opponents. Smartlink helps to make firing your weapons more accurate, adds an additional level of zoom to each ranged weapon, and adds smart targeting that prevents you from damaging your teammates. Once activated, Smartlink remains on until you use it again to deactivate it.
: The AntiMagic Generator creates devices that, once thrown into the world, absorb all magic within their area of effect. This will destroy trees of life, minions, and strangle crystals as well as draining all essence from players within that area. When thrown, they will stick to almost anything that they hit and last for quite a while before running out of power. The devices can also be shot and destroyed. You start with four devices and will slowly regain them after using any of your initial four.
: While assigned, Wired Reflexes increases your movement speed, makes you jump higher, allows you to reload weapons faster, and gives you the ability to block some or all of most weapon attacks while you are wielding a katana, facing your attacker and not yourself attacking.
When activated, your movement speed increases even further, you jump even higher, and you reload weapons even faster, but activating Wired Reflexes costs you health, potentially even killing you.
What are Races?
You can play Shadowrun as one of four different races: human, elf, troll or dwarf. Each is different, with their own strengths and weaknesses. Teams that have a good balance of races tend to do better than teams that are missing one or two.
What are the different races?
: Humans are the balanced, jack-of-all-trades race. They are versatile and can fill a number of different roles. They:
• Start with bonus money, allowing them to get a jump start on the other races.
• Have the lowest essence penalties for using tech of any race.
• Have the third highest essence, after the Dwarf and the Elf.
• Have the second highest health, after the Troll.
: Elves are well suited to hit and run tactics, getting in quickly, getting away, and living to fight some more. They:
• Slowly regenerate health over time if they are not being damaged. This ability is powered by the player’s essence while healing.
• Are the fastest race, though they are slowed more than the others by carrying heavy weapons.
• Have the second highest essence, after the Dwarf.
• Have the least health of all the races.
: Trolls are the assault troops, large and slow moving, but hard to kill. They:
• Harden when hit, reducing the amount of damage that they take, but slowing their movement. If a troll is trading bullets with a non-troll, the non-troll is likely going to lose. Hardening takes essence and will wear off over time if the troll runs out of essence or stops being damaged.
• Are the slowest race, but are not slowed at all by carrying heavy weapons.
• Have the same essence as humans but pay a higher essence cost for tech.
• Have the most health of any race.
: Dwarves are small and have the innate ability of absorbing essence from their surroundings, allowing them to bypass magical defenses and frustrate enemies by draining their essence. They:
• Absorb essence from magic in the environment, destroying trees of life, minions, and strangle crystals while replenishing their own essence.
• Absorb essence from players, though this ability works on enemies at a farther distance than on allies. To drain essence from an ally, you need to be standing almost on top of them.
• Have the most essence of any race, but it regenerates extremely slowly on its own. Absorbing essence will help to keep their essence bar full.
• Have the third highest health, after the Troll and the Human.
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Shadowrun is a 16+ rated game and is available from June 1st on both Xbox 360 and Windows Vista platforms.