Thursday, October 1, 2015

Shadowrun: Dragonfall Director's Cut - 2/20 hours

"Dragonfall" starts you off in the middle of a mission. You are invading a fancy looking mansion in the hopes of stealing something or other (it's actually kind of vague what the goal is), and you've got a team of colorful characters helping you out. Naturally, something goes horribly wrong, and the team leader, Monika is killed by what appears to be an experimental Black IC (a deadly computer program that can seriously harm hackers who try to direct neural interface with the setting's virtual reality computer networks).

As she lay dying, Monika utters a single word, Feuerschwinge, but without any context, the information is meaningless. After her death, the run falls apart, and me and my companions must flee the scene. Monika's friend, Eiger, blames me for her death, and though it appears we will work together to find her killer, relations are tense.

Then I wandered around town for about an hour, poking my nose into various shops, because the hub map is much larger than "Dead Man's Switch's" Seamstress' Union.

My first impression of the game is favorable. It definitely looks nicer than baseline Shadowrun Returns, and though it's probably just an artifact of me having a much lower skill level, but it appears that the combat numbers have been tweaked to make misses more likely. This plays in to the more complex cover mechanics, and makes combat a longer, more drawn out affair. It's a little early to say, but I think I like it.

My plan to check out the new spells and items has so far been a bust, though. The problem, I'm now coming to realize, is that I am currently playing an elf shaman, a character type I never tried before, which means that I am in a poor position to judge what is new. All of my previous magic users have been temporary hires, and though I'm seeing some spells I've never used before, I don't know whether they are new to the game or if they simply weren't equipped by my previous compatriots. I guess it doesn't really matter, they're new to me, but I am a little disappointed that I won't have the experience of seeing new things.

What I'm enjoying most about "Dragonfall" is the art direction. It's much less confined than "Dead Man's Switch" even at this early point. The mansion map was huge, and the hub area, the Kreuzbasar, is even bigger. Yet neither of them felt repetitive. I also liked how they were visually distinct from the first campaign's Seattle. I'm just an untraveled oaf, but the Kreuzbasar felt "European" to me, while still having all the necessary cyberpunk genre markers.

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