Shadowrun: Hong Kong, the third Shadowrun video game from Harebrained Schemes (based on the classic Shadowrun tabletop game), came out a few weeks ago on Steam after a successful Kickstarter. I’m new to the Shadowrun series, though I’ve been meaning to check it out for ages now. I’m glad I finally did.
I only played the PAX demo for about 25 minutes, but this game has great music, great graphics, and a super-intriguing setting. There was a lot to see in the background and in the corners; I immediately got a good feeling for the world and atmosphere. It’s gritty—this is Hong Kong in the future, in a slum, and it’s raining. It’s sort of noir, sort of urban fantasy. That was one of the things that really drew me in, initially. While it is set in the future and has a lot of science-fiction trappings (like cybernetics), the game also has magic and elves and trolls. (This is par for course for the Shadowrun series, it turns out.)
I was able to choose from two characters, so I went for the elf (yay, female characters!) to start with. She wanders into the slum area to explore places like a nightclub (or a hub of organized crime, depending on how you look at it) and the docks, where her crew has settled. I asked lots of questions to find out more about what was happening around me, and I have to admit, it’s a lot of reading. I like this stuff. I’m the person who has read and re-read every single codex entry in Dragon Age. I minored in history in college, and I enjoy learning about world-building as much as I enjoy story. I only mention this to warn newcomers that it’s pretty dense. Great for teenagers who need more reading practice and would like to get it in a non-book setting, and awesome if you like reading in general and don’t mind pausing to soak up some lore while you’re playing a game. Not so good for those who get bored with plain text easily.
In short—Shadowrun: Hong Kong looks really great, and I definitely plan on picking it up when I have a chance. Keep an eye on it if you like urban fantasy, in-depth world-building and story, and roleplaying games.