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Preview: Shadowrun (X360)

Shadowrun Genre(s): Adventure, FPS, Online, Puzzle
Developer: FASA Interactive
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Console(s): PC, Xbox 360
Rated: M for Mature

I've, of course, heard a lot about Shadowrun since its recent release on the Xbox 360 and Games for Windows. It is the first game to play on Microsoft's Live service cross-platform, allowing Xbox 360 and PC players to finally face off and decide: Dual-analog or Keyboard-mouse? More important to the average player, the game uses a number of interesting new ideas, namely mixing FPS features and magic. Before we begin, let me remind those of you who don't know that Shadowrun is multiplayer-only. There is no single-player campaign, so other than some cpu matches, you are playing online pretty much all the time.

Shadowrun is noticeable for its very interesting twist on the FPS genre. Like other games before it, the game utilizes team-based arena shooter mechanics, complete with a safe time in the beginning for players to buy weapons. However, during this safe period, players can also buy magic spells and technology upgrades. These can give a variety of helpful abilities, such as auto-aim, healing, or magic attacks. Then, you simple equip your weapons and magic, and begin the fight.

The controls are the general FPS button set, and they work just fine, once you get the hang of the use of magic. Even so, there are times where your character will get inexplicably stuck on edges of buildings and other structures, an error that can be crippling in the middle of a fierce online game. When you die, you do not respawn until the end of the round. However, allies can revive your dead body, as long as an enemy has not come by to shoot you until you cannot come back. This interesting revival dynamic is able to create a sense of teamwork among your comrades, even during a hectic battle.

The game looks nice, from what I've seen, with the magic effects showing off the most noticeable graphical feats. Trees of Light will grow right in front of your eyes, and spray beads of healing light, characters will burst into smoke and disappear, and crystals will spring up underneath you to damage you and hinder movement.

Shadowrun is an interesting take on the online first-person shooter, with its magic aspects. It also manages to create a sense of teamwork that many online shooters fail to achieve. Even with its strengths, the lack of a single-player mode is disappointing for a game with so much potential.

Pre-Rating:
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