First off, let me say: THE LAG IS GONE! YAY!
Now that i have that out of my system...
Shadowrun Chronicles has come a LONG way from the original mission i played back in april of 2014, during the first days of early access.
I weigh heavily on the likeness to the pen and paper, as i was introduced to this franchise while it was only a tabletop dice game, so im a bit bias to the IP. -Fair Warning-
While easily shuffled under the blanket of "XCOM" and "FF Tactics" games, this one shines on its own, at the very least because of the Shadowrun brand. Gameplay mechanics are basically the same as those mentioned: Move to cover, preferably while flanking the enemy, shoot, and hope your enemy doesnt have enough AP left to move in for a cheap critical attack (Hoping they add an overwatch system sometime).
While not completely like the pencil and paper classes (your "background" actually has more to do than just modifiers in combat in the P&P.) They have done a decent job of making basic skill trees, each with thier own special perks, though at this point they are a bit limited (10 "levels").
If i remember correctly from my tabletop days, Karma was REALLY hard to come by. In this, not so much. You get around 7 or 8 karma per storyline mission. Making those 10 levels of skills easy to come by if you have friends to rerun missions with. Not a game breaker, but it limits your character progression/ available skills as you can attain a full 10/10/10/10 before even getting close to the end of the game thus far.
Im ok w/ the streamlining of the combat system and abilities (for now). Your choice from the onset is 2 main attack skills, I.E. Assault Weapons and Blades, or Decking and Blunt, etc.
BUT, you can also have 2 Casting skill sets if you feel like being behind the lines all day, like a traditional MMO Squishy. Not reccomended for the newer players. Im not even going to attempt it till they flesh out the casting/ rigging/decking system.
As you advance your character through the story, your main 4 skills will be the defining factor in your characters abilities. While you can put your Karma into whatever skills you want, you want to focus on your 2 main attacks (guns/ swords/ casting/decking/rigging) and splitting the rest of your points between Mind and Body. You can make an uber toon who can cast one mission then swap out and be a frontline bullet sponge the next, as long as you have invested the points into the skills and have the correct item equipped. Case in point: i started a summoner, and put some points into casting. i equipped what i THOUGHT was a summoning totem. Got into battle and was only able to use my caster skills.
READ THE ITEMS BEFORE CLICKING READY. Nothing worse thasn hearing your party griping about the dumbass who cant cast the buff we needed is no good.
The story is getting pretty good so far. Not going to spoil anything, but just be ready to fight a LOT of dogs. A LOT.
Pretty run of the mill storyline, if youre familiar with the twists and turns involved in a good Shadowrun. Getting to point B from point A doesnt always involve the easiest path, and usually there is a few steps between A&B to add some drama and opportunity to get some decent loot.
Gameplay is getting better, now that the lag is almost completley gone. I play with friends (up to 3 buddies at a time. 4 player co-op is where its at!), so its still a bit on the laggy side, but thats mainly due to everyone being able to move at the same time (your team, then enemy team), so you click somewhere, your buddy does too; its hangs up a bit to figure out who gets to move there first. Other than that, the gameplay is as solid as any other Tactical game ive played thus far.
They could be a bit cleaner, but ill gladly sacrifice a bit of polish for being able to spin the camera around to see the map from different angles, like this game does. I would love to see a POV addition (just for targeting), just to settle my complaints about what my toon can actually see vs what i think he can...
Equippable items/ clothing:
Meh. Lots of clothing options, so you are pretty much guaranteed to not look exactly like the dude standin next to you.
I really hope there is more levels of guns and such to buy after the point im at. ive had the same gun and sword for the last 7 missions. The enemies get more HP, i still do the same amount of damage.
Would love to see more cyberware options, as well as higher prices on said items. its kinda cheesy to be able to do a few runs and be able to afford to replace arms and legs for under 15K Nuyen. AND for over 2 essence. I dont know how many P&P fanboys agree with me that the essence system is garbage, (but effective for the blatant PvP skill tree setup this game is leaning towards). I mean a full essence for a datajack? frrrrt chummer... Even by the second edition rules a basic cyberarm replacement was only going to run you 1 essence, with only a .1-.4 additional essence loss for bonuses on the arms. Yes, point 1 to point 4 essence. not 2 full essence for a basic arm/ leg/head/torso upgrade.
Prices for cyberware... jeebus drekking crust my chummer... In Shadowrun, cyberware was supposed to be expensive and hard to come by, making the struggle to be the best chromejockey out there; a bit tougher.
As for Decking and Rigging.... oh boy.. heres where i have some complaints:
They have boiled/ dumbed down those classes into basic caster types. yes, CASTERS. You attain your Bots through your rigging skill tree. you dont buy them like items, so basically evey rigger has the same bots available, just depending on what skills your points are in is dependant on what bots are stronger. Yeah... So basically Riggers are Techno Shaman.
ugh... just ugh. There is NO MATRIX in this game. Thatrs right. if you played Dragonfall or Shadowrun Returns as a Decker, be ready to be rendered ineffiecient in Chronicles. Your role as a decker basically boils down to being a Techno Caster. Buff your party, and mark your enemies. Not that decking is not needed. As you attain better skills, the mark ability will help out your party more and more, I.E. Salvo 2 (Assault Guns ability) gives you a bonus burst if attacking a Marked enemy. Dont quote me on this, but i think that each weapon skill set has an ability that bonuses on marked targets. Comes in handy when youre facing an enemy with 50+ HP.
Good for what it is. The voice acting, while sporadic, is well done; though id like to see an option for different voices based on character race/sex. Kinda funny to hear the same voice when i play a Dwarf as when i play an elf..
The music is pretty decent. i turn it down not only since i stream but also to hear everything else going on. this games sound isnt quite optimized. its still a bit loud, regardless of settings. Sound effects are well done. Guns sound like guns, swords make the swooshing noise a sword usually makes in games.
Overall, I would say this game is running a solid 8/10.
While i base that soley on the things i HOPE they add, its not a bad thing. I am well aware that they plan on doing a lot more with the game.
I just hope, for thier sakes, that they lean more towards the full skill sets from the P&P version of Shadowrun. I mean, they give you current P&P rules and an adventure book (this games story!) in PDF format for buying the Deluxe/ RPG package. Why would they NOT give you the skills from that eventually?
Buy this game.
Its fun, and improving week by week.
Can be Solo'd, but running with 3 of your friends is where the game is at its finest and funnest.