The first PC-to-console network playable videogame impresses on both formats.

Xbox 360, PC
FASA Studio

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By Stuart McAndrew

What's cooler than elves, dwarves, trolls and humans fighting each other? Elves, dwarves trolls and humans fighting each other with GUNS! FASA's long running cyber-punk RPG Shadowrun has been licensed off to Microsoft, which has turned it into a FPS. "Blasphemy!" many Shadowrun fans have cried; but don't give up all hope. While the 360 has enough shooter titles to bore the most energetic kill frenzied gamer, Shadowrun offers us enough quirky gameplay variety to make it well worth a look.

Set in the none too distant future, magic has returned to planet earth. Many humans have transformed into meta-humans (elves, trolls and dwarves) as the magic awakened long-dormant genes in their DNA. Society has accepted all of this, however the dominant RNA Corp. seeks to control magic while The Legacy fight to make magic available to everyone. With plenty of rich background material to draw from in the RPG books, Microsoft has insanely decided to ignore it all outside of the instruction booklet and training missions. Shadowrun fans everywhere are justified in their indignant fury.

"With such a potentially fantastic licence, the decision to ignore any campaign mode makes little sense."

With such a potentially fantastic licence, Microsoft's decision to ignore any campaign mode makes as much sense as booking a holiday to Egypt and not visiting the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Shadowrun would have been an excellent RPG style game based on its roots, and the decision to transform it into an FPS certainly caused uproar in the RPG community, while the thought of another FPS on the Xbox 360 and PC didn't turn many heads. For those without an Xbox Live Gold Account Shadowrun will consist of team battles with bot allies and opponents and is practically dead in the water.

For those who do have a Gold account, Shadowrun is a tremendously fun online shooter. The different races all have their own strengths and weaknesses. Elves have little health, however they are fast and regenerate. Trolls are slow brutes with masses of health and rock hard skin to deflect bullets. Dwarves drain magic from those around them. Humans are the balanced race, receiving less penalties for cybernetic implants against their magic and more money to buy gear at the start of the match.

"The ability to pick your own selection of race, magic and tech, and engineer your character is what every FPS player has always wanted."

Apart from the variety of races, magic and tech are what sets Shadowrun apart from 90% of the generic shooters out there. The ability to pick your own selection and engineer your character to become the stealthy/sharp shooting/flying/teleporting/ indestructible killing machine is what every FPS player has always wanted. While some skills (such as wired reflexes) are easily seen as more appropriate to certain races (elves in this case, to further boost their speed) there is nothing to stop you giving it to a troll and scaring your enemies as you boost towards them, katana in hand!

There's a great deal to be learned about using each skill efficiently on its own, and which combos make the most sense for your character and fighting style. With teleports, gliders, the ability to smoke, gust magic to blow people back, anti-magic grenades, life-giving trees and the power to resurrect your team mates, Shadowrun is actually a very deep game under its initially superficial surface.

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Video Coverage
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Direct feed trailer   (X360. PC - Microsoft)
01:29 32MB DF, ED, 16:9
Direct feed gameplay   (X360, PC - Microsoft)
00:33 11MB DF, ED, 16:9

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