Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Shadowrun Returns - 18/20 hours

So, here's a thing you might not know about me - I hate being threatened. I mean, obviously, that's not too unusual a personality trait, because who actually likes being threatened? But for me, it's a huge character flaw, akin to Marty McFly being called a "chicken." If you want to manipulate me into doing something, threaten me unless I do the opposite. I like to think I'd be wise and level-headed enough to see through such a ruse, but who am I kidding.

I only bring it up, because "Nightmare Harvest" is a very well done fan creation, but EVERYBODY KEPT THREATENING ME.  I'd go to a place, a thing would happen, and then some snotty NPC would come up to me and say, "do what I tell you to, or I'll kill you." My reaction was pretty much "fuck you, I'll ATTACK." Which, you know, would be fine, except that the scenario enforces these threats by instantly killing me if I go against them.  The very least they could do was give me an unwinnable fight that demonstrated that I was in over my head. Especially since some of those fights looked extremely winnable. I imported my character from "Dead Man's Switch" so I had a maxed out Dodge score and Wired Reflexes, and thus I was more than willing to test myself against those arrogant gangsters. But the most aggravating part was that, towards the end of the plot, I was expected to work with these people as allies, and never really got a chance for revenge-killing them. Grr.

Aside from that complaint, though, "Nightmare Harvest" was pretty good. It had an interesting plot, it did some weird, but tenable things with Shadowrun canon (at one point, the Comanche Mafia demonstrates some technology that would be much more profitable taken to the legitimate market, rather than used to facilitate their drug business, but I'm just going to take that as a genre conceit), and there were memorable characters and environments. Its only real flaw (my personal hang-ups notwithstanding) is that it's a bit on the sexist side. The only important female character is a stripper, and you have the option of killing her when she refuses to return to her controlling husband (though this mission is not quite as outrageously offensive as it could have been, because you also have the option of covering for her, still yuck). I'm inclined to cut them a little slack, though, because this module was clearly a labor of love that had a lot of effort invested in it, and this is something even the pros struggle with, but it was a notable oversight.

I've now got about 2 hours left with this game, which bugs me a little, because that is not really enough to dig deeply into another mod, but I'm not too stressed about it because I hear that the Dragonfall: Director's Cut is not just a new story, but also has improved graphics and combat mechanics, so I've been looking forward to it.

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