Just two quick notes, before I set into this review. First, I'm going to be comparing this game to Shadowrun Returns and Dragonfall a lot, because it's the only other really equitable game to compare it to. Second, I'm ignoring the server lag for the purposes of this review. It's a known issue, and the developers have been very straightforward about trying to find a fix for it. They're a small studio, so I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt in that regard.
First up, we have the good:
1) Pretty graphics, relatively speaking. Chronicles obviously isn't going to set any records for having pretty artwork, but what's there is eye-catching and does a good job of setting the cyberpunk mood that Shadowrun so requires. The character portraits are hand drawn, coupled with decently detailed three-dimensional character models. From a character model standpoint, I'd say that it's prettier than Shadowrun Returns - though not by much.
2) Adequate soundtrack. It's not something that will blow you away, but I found myself occasionally tapping my foot or my finger in time to some beat or another while I was killing badguys.
3) Solid combat. It's not the most detailed system out there, but the combat system is adequately detailed (especially for a game that is in part being aimed at portable devices). Much like the more modern incarnation of XCOM, Chronicles uses a streamlined tactical combat engine with a square combat grid, directional cover, and percentage-based attacks. There are a variety of special attacks, and things like range, cover, and positioning will have a direct impact on what strategies you want to use during combat. Enemy AI is acceptable, with enemies generally making use of cover and doing an adequate job of trying to catch you off-guard (focusing fire on exposed targets, attempting to flank, using their own special abilities).
4) Interesting, if linear story. The game is very linear, which can be a good or bad thing depending on what you're looking for, but what's there is fairly intriguing. It's not fantastic, but it at least has a good general grasp of the setting, and does a decent job of setting up a few big twists as it progresses. An important thing to keep in mind is that where Shadowrun Returns was set in the 2050s (surrounding the "Universal Brotherhood" incident), Chronicles is actually set in the 2070s. Technology has advanced to the point where things like bioware, nanotech, and wireless technology are commonplace. This is a small but important detail, especially for those who have previously played Shadowrun Returns or Dragonfall, but aren't otherwise familiar with the setting.
5) Character customization. There are a decent number of options when building your character, including character portrait, gender, species, background trait, wardrobe, and a small number of starting skills. While there could always stand to be more options, there are a fair amount currently available. Physical options such as gender, species, wardrobe, and cyberware are all reflected visually on your character model.
6) The community is great. Thus far, the community seems friendly and genuinely helpful. You get the occasional bad apple in the bunch, but most players will be quick to offer help when you need it, whether it's the answer to a question or another runner to help you through a tough mission. The system is set up so that "griefing" is difficult, with limited friendly fire and a "shared loot" system that prevents people from swiping your hard-won nuyen or karma out from under your nose. The devs even pop up on the Global Chat from time to time, to answer some questions or address concerns "in person".
And then we have the bad:
1) Streamlined = Simplified. Shadowrun Returns used a stripped down, simplified version of the Shadowrun rules system, but Chronicles goes one step further by simplifying it even more. There are currently only nine skill trees in Chronicles (seven weapon skills and two utility skills), and you can only use four of them on a character at a time (two weapon skills and two utility skills). Equipment progression is fairly linear, with most new gear being a straightforward upgrade without any need for real thought about how to equip yourself. You're occasionally presented with an option that actually matters to an extent (such as whether to use Cyberware, mutually exclusive skill options, or what two "tactical slot" items to take with you on a mission), but these kinds of decisions are few.
2) Poor documentation. The game is still in a state of flux, because it's freshly released, and it went through a lot of revisions during the late testing stages. Some of the ability descriptions are poorly explained in the tooltips, and in rare cases they're actually incorrect (such as in the case of the Bioware Reflex Recorder or the Manabolt spell). Certain basic bits of information are withheld from you, though not deliberately - they simply haven't added in certain amenities yet. A detailed character sheet, for example, is very much needed. The devs have stated that they intend to address these issues, but they are currently low priority due to bigger issues (such as the server lag).
3) Limited functionality. Much like with the poor documentation, there are a number of things that are planned but simply haven't been added yet. There's a Chat system, but it's currently very limited in what it can do. Certain basic functions such as "Ignore" or "Whisper" are not currently implemented, though they are planned. There's no buyback feature at merchants, so if you accidentally sell something, it's impossible to buy it back. There's no character respec system, which (coupled with the poor documentation on some abilities) can lead to great frustration when you pick a skill that you THOUGHT would be good but turns out to be useless. During missions, the sometimes clunky interface can often lead to mis-clicking or accidentally skipping your turn.
4) Mildly lazy character/level designs. This is a debatable point, especially for a low-budget title like Chronicles, but it's worth mentioning since some people find it more annoying than others. While there are a lot of visual pieces of cyberware and clothing, many of them have clipping issues or odd limitations. Wearing a hat, for example, causes your hair to vanish. Wearing a longcoat causes your pants to vanish (though you can still equip some basic pairs of pants in your "underwear" slot). The pointed ears on most metahuman races WILL clip through pretty much any hat or helmet you wear, since they're all obviously designed for human heads. Maps are visually appealing and present tactical options, but many of the maps are re-used multiple times. They'll often try to obscure this by adding some new set dressing, or having you enter the map from a different direction, but you'll quickly start recognizing certain maps (such as the "Warehouse" map) because some are used for three or four separate missions.
5) Limited content, lacks enough variety. What's in the game is fairly smooth and interesting, but there's just not enough of it - especially for a multiplayer game. The largest degree of variety you're going to run into is the runners created by other players, but the actual game itself is very limited. When it comes right down to it, there are only about twenty enemy designs in the game - which sounds like a lot, until you run into your fifteenth pack of barghests. Similarly, there aren't enough meaningful options for gear, or skill options, or character portrait options. The main story is "only" about twenty short missions (thirty if you count sidequests), which you can blow through in about a day of solid gaming.
Final Thoughts: All told, Chronicles is a promising start to something that could be a great game eventually. For now, it's best for someone looking for a casual strategy game, or any enthusiast of the Shadowrun 5e setting.