Version Reviewed: 2.0.8
App Reviewed on: iPad Air 128GB
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I’d heard of Shadowrun in the past - as a table top RPG. I was a White Wolf girl though, and stuck to World of Darkness games (I hadn't played D&D until I was almost 30). So when I heard Shadownrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut was coming to the iPad, I was pretty excited to try it.
When you start the game, you’re given the chance to design a character. There are quite a few classes to choose from, as well as several races. Without a knowledge of the system in advance, I had a very hard time designing my character and just picked an elf and went with the basic warrior type. Then I was presented with detailed statistics to tweak, again with no idea of what was good or needed in this game’s world. The walkthrough/tutorial said that if I wanted more help I could consult the full rules on their website (linked within the app). When I went to check it out it was pages and pages long and very hard to digest, so I went with a few random choices instead.
Shadowrun: Dragonfall is set in a futuristic world where society has changed dramatically. It's futuristic cyberpunk meets high fantasy, and information is the commodity everyone trades in. You’re part of a group of criminals that's been hired to raid someone’s mansion and steal data from them. Of course once we moved into the mansion, we tripped an alarm and security came in to stop us.
The combat system again prompts you to go to their website for more information and once again this 'tutorial' is lengthy and undigestible. I decided to wing it and did pretty well. Combat is turn-based, with everyone on your turn taking actions, then the enemy taking all their actions. Some characters can perform more actions in a turn, so you may be able to move and attack at the same time with some of them. Hiding behind obstacles can help you avoid attacks, but also makes it a bit harder to aim. It’s also important to watch your ammo levels and the health of your teammates during combat. In fact, unlike traditional turn-based RPGs your positioning is almost more important than your actions. If you’ve ever played games like Final Fantasy Tactics, it feels very similar.
Overall, Shadowrun: Dragonfall is outstanding. The character creation system is extremely robust and the gameplay is spot-on. It only has one negative, and that’s its extremely complex rule system and lengthy and ineffective explanations. Maybe it wouldn’t have been such a high learning curve if I was more familiar with the series, but sequels should really be just as accessible as the original game. Even with this problem, Dragonfall gives you a fair chance to learn as you go. And with everything else being so great it’s well worth the effort.