[dropcap size=big]F[/dropcap]irst off, let’s throw any misconceptions out the window here and now: the recently re-titled Shadowrun Chronicles (formerly Shadowrun Online) may appear to be the online successor of Shadowrun Returns, but it’s not a full-on MMORPG. This new title currently in Early Access allows players to jack into the net and play with other human players and NPC henchmen. Unfortunately we have yet to see a Shadowrun title host a persistent online world, however there is an online hub and a chat feature where players can hook up to take on missions together. At said hub, the player will stock up on gear for missions, talk some drek with other online players, and obtain info for their next mission.
Missions play out in the same grid-based movement and combat as in Shadowrun Returns, and a party is assembled beforehand, offering up to four members in the squad. Staying true to its pen and paper RPG roots, HP is not just a huge number allowing a large reserve for health. The challenge is present, and puts mortality into perspective, as players will want to seek cover from enemy attacks about 80% or more of the combat rounds. If the player rushes out into the open during their turn, death is very immanent, and all it takes is a few enemy turns to wipe out you or your chummers.
The Shadowrun Chronicles Early Access can be found on Steam for $29.99, and currently features a main story mission set that can be played alone or with a partner. So far, here’s what you can expect:
- Overworld map featuring several locations in a near-future Boston
- Central Hub Zone complete with merchants and plot characters
- A small arsenal of weapons that cover the basics: close range, pistol, grenade, etc.
- First aid, armor, and a variety of clothing options
- A set of several NPC preset characters to bring with you on missions
- A dragon that emerged from underneath Boston, causing enough trouble to keep the player busy
- Tactical Grid-Based combat played in turns
- Skill Tree for class-building
Overall, Shadowrun Chronicles stays true to the series and doesn’t falter after making the jump to an online version of this game world. The framework is well-organized, providing an easy-to-use interface for running co-op missions with friends. There is plenty of room to expand, but enough present in the early access to keep the pace going for players to quest on through Boston in 2076. Updates can be consumed on the Shadowrun news feed, the Steam store page is here, and Twitter users can follow Shadowrun Chronicles here.