When it comes to dark future scenarios few capture my imagination more than roaming through glittering cities full of neon skyscrapers and augmenting my fleshy bits with chromed up hardware all the while fighting the large corporations that pretty much run the world. Cyberpunk stories have been around for decades and there’s a reason that they’re still popular today. They’re mostly modern retellings of David and Goliath, the “little guy” versus the “untouchable juggernaut”. And Satellite Reign certainly holds true to these tropes in an action RPG that’s a very viable alternative to Shadowrun Returns and its expansion games.
In Satellite Reign you’re in command of a small four-person team of ‘runners as they take on the nastiest of the nasty corporations, Dracogenics. Or at least it’s what your contact that sends you messages throughout the game claims. The dude in charge apparently created a sort of cloning program that lets your consciousness be transferred to another body when it dies. And, just like any good Cyberpunk story it’s up to you to use this technology to help take him down. You can die, but you can respawn in a cloned body at various relays that you drop down in each of four “zones” of the city.
Storywise, that’s about it. It’s all about taking on Dracogenics and its competitors as you work towards earning (i.e. stealing) cash and using it to upgrade your cybernetics and gear, and doing odd jobs to earn said funds and experience and other resources to prepare for the endgame. And the finale is about as hard as you’d expect given that your target is one of the most heavily armed and guarded areas of the map. But the ending more than makes up for the lack of plot. It’s a twist that had me shouting “OH CRAP! What did I just do?!” I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s worth playing through just to see that.
Satellite Reign won’t win story of the year, but Cyberpunk doesn’t necessarily have to have a deep plot. While it, and most titles in the genre, deal with the warning of how rampant technology and the quest for power can corrupt to the point of forcing people to take the major players on sometimes that’s all you need to have a fun and addictive game. It’s you and a handful of disaffected citizens forming a resistance against the powers that be to return the city to the people. And I really enjoyed taking on the big players and stealing their technology to use for myself. After all, if I didn’t like the game I wouldn’t have logged 24 hours on Steam before writing this review.
Satellite Reign actually has more in common with the Shadowrun series than just having a dark but glitzy setting. It plays similarly too. Both are action RPGs, but unlike the more familiar title everything…and I mean everything is real time. No turn based combat here. Which makes it a frantic pace getting in and out with your ill-gotten gains alive. It did take me some time to familiarize myself with the controls but when I figured everything out and started to upgrade my team I couldn’t stop playing until I reached the end. If you’re a fan of this genre you should do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s most certainly worth playing.