Shadowrun DragonFall is an expansion to last year’s Kickstarter backing Shadowrun Returns. Playing as a turn-based RPG that requires the use of tactical and strategic gameplay choices from the player, DragonFall’s plot and narrative much like Shadowrun Returns is driven by its theme, think Middle-Earth meets BladeRunner and you’re good to go.This is complimented by an amazing soundtrack and ambient effects that keep in line with game’s theme of cyber punk meets magic.
With its descriptive subtitles that constantly update you with information on the environment, character and storyline it blends well with the game’s narrative and makes it that much more immersive and a joy to play. The level design is interesting and fairly reminiscent of the original game, but as some may take this to meaning nothing new in terms of the environment, this can be forgiven to some extent as a complete change in the setting could hurt the game’s overall feel and aesthetic.
"This sense of being a leader while at the same time being on equal and understanding grounds with team mates feel rewarding, and not only in gameplay but in the way the characters respond back to you."
DragonFall doesn’t bring any new features or changes to the gameplay mechanics, or controls and the expansion is strictly for sake of expanding on the game’s universe. DragonFall feels like an oportunist to bring a new dimension to the series wihout bringing an entirely new game. This expansion does require a copy of the original game however and this is understandable as it’s intentions are more to the side of prolonging the game for the sake of the fans, rather than bringing in a new audience. Although it should be noted that as the expansion doesn’t continue from the main game but places you into a new campaign entirely, it can be welcoming.
Taking place in Berlin this time around, very far off from the original which was based in Seattle, you take the role as leader over a small ruff-neck gang much different from those of in the main game. Interacting with your team is done much in the same way as the previous game, the multiple choice scenario presented through text with minimal voice overs that tie greatly into the feel and control of your own experience playing the game. Taking on the role as a leader adheres to the story in a crucial way and since this is placed upon you right from the beginning, your reason as to why you fill this gap sticks with you through some time over the course of the game, much as it does with the other characters in your team.
This sense of being a leader while at the same time being on equal and understanding grounds with team mates feel rewarding, and not only in gameplay but in the way the characters respond back to you. The sense of personality and attitude feels more prominent this time round as the characters have a true sense of life to them, even though the majority of it is experienced through text based interactions.
"The combination of side quests that do their best to feel relevant to the main story, while offering a break from the main story give the game more depth while delivering more enjoyability to the player's experience."
Continuing on the same character creation system as the original game along with the character classes, DragonFall requires you to create a new character in order to take on its new story. Dwarves, Elves, Trolls, Humans, and Orcs are the selection here each with their own unique traits and skill sets to differ them from one another. As your teammates are already assembled and have their base establishments and character traits already, there’s only so much you can interact with them on this level.
There’s a greater focus on you as the main character this time around and while this may sound like a positive thing, to some extend, it places a limit on your control over the team mates during battle sequences. This in-turn effects the difficulty of the game because combat is played through a turn-based series of choices involving attacking, character positioning, and item equipping.
The control over which your teammates evolve over the course of the game feels much slower to that of your own. This can wind up in the difficulty feeling spiked at times, then dropping shortly of a challenge later on. It should be noted however that combat is avoidable during certain situations of the game but this is largely linked to your own tolerance and enjoyability of the game itself.
The combination of side quests that do their best to feel relevant to the main story, while offering a break from the main story give the game more depth while delivering more enjoyability to the player’s experience. While the story is much different to that of Shadowrun Returns it doesn’t present itself to be unrelated or off-track in anyway, in the same way that other game expansions fall prey to in giving the player a new experience. The subject matter of trust, conspiracy theories, and plot twists are still prevalent here but the need to play previous expansions of the original Shadowrun Returns isn’t a requirement other than owning an original copy of the game itself. This can be great for people new to the series that want to be playing with their friends with the option of experiencing Shadowrun Returns at a later date.
"The game doesn't really try anything new within the other areas such as gameplay. This can be looked upon in two ways, the first being that the gameplay is so well established and solid that it wasn't actually required and the second being the personal desire for changes, tweaks or adjustments."
My personal experience of DragonFall was far more entertaining and connective than it was of the original as this was mainly down the characters themselves over anything else. The crew seem to be of more interest this time round and unlike Shadowrun Returns I didn’t feel so thrown in to the middle of nowhere, as my knowledge of the series was at a bare minimal. The characters seem to be more relatable in this game and in the same way that DragonFall’s story doesn’t appear to take itself so seriously without the failure of falling apart, the characters fall inline with this.
The game doesn’t really try anything new within the other areas such as gameplay. This can be looked upon in two ways, the first being that the gameplay is so well established and solid that it wasn’t actually required and the second being the personal desire for changes, tweaks or adjustments. It lies fairly in your own perspective, involvement, and joy of the game but as nothing appears to be broken or taking on anything new that can harm the core mechanics or foundations of the series it’s not something that can really be held of fault.
This game was reviewed on the PC.
Fresh characters, new setting, great story.
Lack of expansion outside the game's use of narrative and story.
The role of leader delivers a new perspective and experience much different from the original game.
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