So after seeing gameplay videos and the Replay of the original Shadowrun, I gave in after a long time being tempted and decided to drop $20 on this game.  For the most part, I have not been disappointed.  While I have not played the tabletop RPG (or any other, much to my eternal chagrin), I have frequently heard very entertaining stories, and this game has not disappointed.  The turn-based gameplay, cribbed in no small part from X-COM: Enemy Unknown (which is one of my favorite games) is extremely solid, and while the story campaign won't win any writing awards it is definitely satisfying, if a bit on the short side.  (The same thing, incidentally, can be said about the musical soundtrack.)  The graphics are also quite nice, with a very good sense of art direction that goes a long way towards selling the setting.  The fact that they include level editors similarly promises to extend the longevity of this product by quite a bit.

     While Shadowrun Returns is, to be certain, a lot of fun, there are three hiccups that prevent me from giving it a perfect score (and one minor annoyance that doesn't really affect anything but I feel is worth mentioning).

  1. The save system is not very good.  Now, I understand what they were TRYING to do.  The game, much like early console games, does not allow you to save whenever you want; instead, the game automatically saves whenever you enter a new map.  If you want to go back to an earlier map, you must select your game in the load screen, then click on the "Rewind" or "Rewind and Copy" functions.  While obviously meant to prevent save scumming, this ends up being moderately annoying, which is not something you want your load function to be. -.25
  2. Unless you are playing one yourself, DECKERS ARE USELESS.  For the uninitiated, deckers are the broad equivalent of rogues in the Shadowrun universe, able to unlock and hack into anything, anywhere, as well as upload their minds to the Matrix (the local internet equivalent after it was apparently destroyed in 2029).  In the game, there are several sections where, if you have decker skills, you can hack into computers or open doors.  Yet, despite the fact that on these occasions, I had brought along a decker just for this purpose, the game didn't care - since I did not have decker skills (I played an elvish shaman for the purposes of this review), I was effectvely locked out of a chunk of the content.  Disqualifying the player from skill challenges in situations where another member of the party could just as easily do it has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time in RPGs, and nowhere is it more apparent than here. -.75
  3. There are no keyboard shortcuts in the game to quickly check inventory/character traits and the like, and the UI takes a bit of getting used to.  You have to manually select the menu for that in the upper left corner of the screen. -.25
  4. As for the minor hiccup, occasionally the game stuttered a bit when first loading a section.  It did not affect gameplay once things got started, and may have been due to my graphics settings.

In summary, while Shadowrun Returns has a few rather irritating annoyances that keep it from reaching perfection, it's a fun diversion that is well worth the $20 asking price.  If you are a fan of X-COM: Enemy Unknown or are curious about the Shadowrun setting, I recommend giving it a try.