Overlooked – Shadowrun

In what I hope is a bright idea, I’ve decided to write several pieces on overlooked or underappreciated games that I believe deserve your attention. As with everything I write, these are just my opinions, so feel free to post your thoughts in the comments below. I’m hoping to roll out several of these in the coming month or so, if all goes according to plan. Anyway, I’ve chosen to start this off with what I would call the best multiplayer shooter of the past five years: Shadowrun. Hit the jump to learn why you shouldn’t have passed it by.

Now, you may or may not be aware of my love for this game, depending on how well we know each other. Back in 2007, a developer named FASA Interactive (Perhaps best known for Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge and the Mechassault series back on the original Xbox) put out Shadowrun for the 360 and the recently-launched Games for Windows Live platform on the PC. This was a game that I’d read about, seen screenshots of, and was very excited for, so I picked it up on day one. Almost immediately, I jumped online and began having a blast. While there was no online progression of any sort (CoD 4 wouldn’t come out for another 5 months), it was still a ton of fun to play through each match, buying spells and technology in a Counterstrike-ish manner. Sure, there were only 9 maps and 3 game modes, but they were all FUN, and that’s what mattered to me. ┬áIt wasn’t until a few days after the game’s launch that I began hearing that people had a lot of problems with it. As it turns out, the gaming community doesn’t react favorably to $60 with very limited single player content. With only 6 training stages and the option for bot matches, the community was in an uproar that such a multiplayer-centric game could be put out at full price. “How DARE they!?” they cried, “How DARE they charge us $60 for this unfinished garbage!?” Well, I and several like-minded friends leaped to its defense on our forum of choice. We explained how the maps didn’t get old, and that there was enough content on the disc to justify the price. People that hadn’t even played the game were writing it off as a piece of trash! It broke my heart that so many of my peers would never experience the magic that we were. But alas, aside from a select few friends that were swayed by our argument, everyone else passed Shadowrun by. As they did so, we continued having the time of our lives for the next several months (the game launched in late May, just in time for many people to get out on summer vacation,) but eventually we moved on as well. However, several of us would go back now and again to relive those glory days. Several months later, FASA announced that it would be closing its doors for good, putting to bed all hopes for future DLC. Thankfully, last I checked there seems to be a fairly sizeable community that loves it as much as I do, since each time I’ve gone back I’ve had no trouble finding a match in a timely manner.

So, if you’ve ever seen Shadowrun on the clearance rack or in the bargain bin, go back and hope that someone hasn’t discovered its true value before you did. And if you do take my advice and check it out, then give me a shout. I’m always happy to drop whatever game I’m playing and become a Shadowrunner once more.