A conspiracy 30 years in the making...
- Release Date: 8/20/2015, 10AM PDT
- Platform: PC / Steam / GOG
- Genre: Strategy / CRPG
- Developer: Harebrained Schemes
HONG KONG. A stable and prosperous port of call in a sea of chaos, warfare, and political turmoil. The Hong Kong Free Enterprise Zone is a land of contradictions - it is one of the most successful centers of business in the Sixth World, and home to one of the world’s most dangerous sprawl sites. A land of bright lights, gleaming towers, and restless spirits where life is cheap and everything is for sale.
The lure of a quick payday draws you from Seattle into the neon glow of Victoria Harbor… and into a corporate conspiracy nearly thirty years in the making. A terrifying threat looms on the horizon - a supernatural force that corrupts and consumes everything it touches. Dragged into the shadows of Kowloon City, you will need to forge new connections and gain "face" to survive.
Hong Kong contains fantastic elements for a new Shadowrun setting: an underworld of triads, tongs, and gangs to navigate, wild magic to harness, and bleeding edge cybertech to equip. Plus, Hong Kong’s culture is steeped in "guanxi" - a network of influence and relationships based upon a combination of social status, and prestige. All of these elements add up to a great new setting for running the shadows.
Gobbet is an ork street shaman and a follower of the Rat. Her devotion to her totem has granted her unique abilities to control the battlefield, trapping her enemies behind barriers of coruscating magic and herding them with clouds of blistering poison.
Wu is a veteran security expert with years of sprawl-site combat experience. He has the muscle and the weaponry to either beat his targets into submission or to break them outright, depending on the demands of the situation.
Is0bel is a dwarf decker with the tools and the expertise to clear her own way to a target mainframe. Trained for combat by a cabal of hacktivists, she’s as deadly in meat-space as she is in the Matrix.
Racter is a highly specialized roboticist-turned-rigger who fights with the aid of “Koschei,” his custom walker-form drone. He also carries an engineering toolkit that he can use to repair Koschei and enhance its abilities during combat.
Thanks to his elite Red Samurai training, Gaichû has access to close combat abilities that are inaccessible to other characters. These take the form of stance-based katana attacks that flow together in sequence, each of which has its own unique animation.
Lead a small team of shadowrunners - each with their own outlook, motivations, and backstory. The members of your team are designed to play contrasting roles during missions. Guide your team members as they progress in each of their unique roles, choosing between different focus options to grant them new items and abilities.
Gripping, Turn-Based Tactical Combat: When you’re running the shadows, every turn matters. Choose your actions wisely - move to better cover, charge into melee, or lob a fireball into a crowd of enemies. With over 200 weapons and spells at your disposal, every turn is filled with meaningful choices.
Thanks to a shattered stretch goal, the Matrix(the 'other' world through which hackers and/or deckers do their thing) has been completely revamped, so it's no longer just the main game with a different shade of paint.
Also, new animatic cutscenes!
HBS was formed by none other than the creator of Shadowrun himself, Jordan Weisman.
Although Hong Kong is the third iteration of the Shadowrun Returns series, no prior series knowledge is required.
That said, the last two games are each fantastic in their own way, and well worth playing.
(The Dead Man's Switch: a tale of Seattle, undead shadowrunners, Jake Armitage, Harlequin, Cherry Bomb, and one hell of an overdue check.)
(Dragonfall: set deep in the Berlin Scrawl, a small group of runners find themselves on the trail of a massive conspiracy involving the most feared creature in Europe: the Firewing.)
What does not feel different, or different enough at least, is the story. Admittedly, I only managed to squeeze in 10 hours of gameplay in the 30-hour preview window I had access to.
We’ve said it practically with each new Shadowrun Harebrained Schemes puts out, and we’ll say it again for Hong Kong: this is the most definitive, comprehensive and polished version of Shadowrun on the market. It builds on the past games in subtle but smart ways, fixing what was broken, and not touching what wasn’t. As a result, players are left with a magical cRPG that gives players so many options. Whether it’s dialogue and story or character, combat, exploration and loadout options, this is about as close as folks are going to get to a tabletop experience.