Perhaps it's too early for me to do a review seeing as I just got the game today, but I've completed all tutorials and have been playing all day since getting home. So what the hell.
The game is, as you've probably heard, online-orientated. There is single player but it's nothing more than a few tutorials. The positive side of the single player, though, is that the bots are excellent. Really life-like. At first I believed I was actually put into an online match!
And the tutorials are well laid out. They do take a while to do, but they're very helpful and after spending 40 - 60 mins on the tutorials, you can just jump into a match and feel fully prepared.
It's a first person shooter hybrid. The shooting itself is a bit like counter strike. You get a buy screen and you can purchase weapons with the money you're earning through artifact captures and enemy kills.
But the shooting is just one of the many aspects. You also have magic AND technology. The same rule applies, gain money and buy upgrades or entirely new abilities. These range between; A tree that regains health to anyone nearby, a creature summon, wings that allow you to fly and hover for a short while, teleport which lets you disappear and reappear about 5 metres ahead. and there are many more.
And even after mentioning all that, there are still more aspects that customise your gaming experience. You can choose between 4 classes:
Human, Elf, Dwarf and Troll. Each of these have their own unique abilities. For example, trolls are slow but can take a lot of damage thanks to spikes that grow out of their body when hit by bullets, elves are weak in terms of how much damage they can take but they're also teh fastest, slickest and their health regenerates, and Dwarves and Humans have their own advantages/disadvantages which you can find out for yourself.
And quite frankly, each class is awesome and you'll definately find one that suits your playing style best.
The online has up to 16 players per match and about half of these are usually PC players, as ShadowRun is the first game with cross-platform online. And this is great because even today, about 4 years after it's release it still has an fair amount of players online. At any time you should find around 5 games minimum. There are a pretty good amount of maps, I believe there are about 14 and all of them (at least, the ones I played) seem to be well designed and are quite different from each other.
So although there's next-to-no single player, the multiplayer is such a blast! It is everything I could want from a first person shooter and more!
Think World Of Warcraft and Halo features thrown into Counter Strike and that sums up this game.
The visuals, for a 2006 game are fairly good. But todays standards make them look a little....stale.
To be honest, the game is visually on-par with Mass Effect 1 but without the constant texture pop-in, though the downside is that it's primarily in first person so the texturing doesn't always look that great. The backdrops range from impressive to awful and the character models are surprisingly good. Especially the trolls, I love their bloodshot eyes!
So the graphics are a bit underwhelming overall but chances are you wont be complaining about the visuals, when you've got so much going on at once.
Without actual stats and with just a couple of modes and on top of that, no campaign whatsoever, naturally it seems that this game would have little replay value.
But in actual fact, there are so many customisation/loadout options that this game that the replay value is tremendous.
Admittedly, if the price were higher I'd be a little more cynical but there's no denying that this game is immensely fun!
Considering I got it for just £3.50 i think you can understand if I wanted to give it 9/10! But I wont. I'll rate it as if I spent £15 - £20 on it.
I'll give the game a 7.5
I'd recommend it to anyone, regardless of whether they're playing Reach or not. The game can be bought for $5. That's a ridiculous bargain! Just pick it up and play it if you ever feel like it.
It's totally worth it.