Shadowrun: Hong Kong is a turn-based tactical role-playing video game that was released in 2015. It is the third licensed instalment of the Shadowrun video game series and is, in our opinion, one of the best titles to be released in the franchise. It received almost unanimous critical acclaim and is one of the best cyberpunk games to ever be released. Read on for our Shadowrun: Hong Kong review.
Developer: Harebrained Schemes
Publisher: Harebrained Schemes
Platform: Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux
What Is Shadowrun: Hong Kong?
Shadowrun: Hong Kong is a turn-based tactical role-playing game that includes a single player campaign and an editor that allows players to create their own levels and share them with other Shadowrun players.
The Shadowrun series is set in a near-future universe where cyberpunk themes are prevalent, and the fictional universe is abounding with elements of conspiracy, crime, and sci-fi fantasy. Society is frequented by shadowruns – data thefts between rival corporations – and underworld figures reign supreme in a world governed by industrial espionage.
Where Shadowrun differs from conventional cyberpunk themes is in its use of urban fantasy. This blend of cyberpunk, magic, and mythological races creates a unique cross-genre experience that makes the Shadowrun series so compelling and enjoyable to play.
Shadowrun: Hong Kong was well received upon its release and is seen by many as one of the best instalments to the franchise since the first video game released in 1993. It received an impressive Metacritic score of 81% and is always in the conversation when discussing the best cyberpunk games around.
The game received particular praise for its story, setting, and RPG elements. In this Shadowrun: Hong Kong review, we will explain why this game is still worth playing.
Shadowrun: Hong Kong – Story
Shadowrun: Hong Kong is set in 2056 in a part of the city known as the Free Enterprise Zone, controlled exclusively by mega-corporations.
Players take on the role of an orphan from Seattle who grew up on the streets with his best friend Duncan before being taken in by Raymond Black, their foster father. Duncan has become a member of the Lone Star, a private police corporation operating in the Hong Kong Free Enterprise Zone, when the player travels there to meet him.
After receiving a strange message from Raymond, they, along with Lone Star superior officer Carter, decide to investigate the matter further. This leads to an ambush by the HKPD in which the survivors escape to boat village on the outskirts called Heoi.
While in Heoi, the gang meet Kindly Cheng, leader of the local Yellow Lotus Triad group, who agrees to help them investigate the mystery of Raymond in exchange for being runners.
Without giving too much of the story away, Shadowrun: Hong Kong then takes the player on an interesting journey with many plot twists, character encounters, and some cool futuristic cyberpunk settings to explore.
If you’re enjoying this Shadowrun: Hong Kong review, you might also like our Deus Ex: Mankind Divided review, another one of the best cyberpunk games available right now.
Shadowrun: Hong Kong – Gameplay
Shadowrun: Hong Kong retains the feel of previous Shadowrun games and stays true to the cyberpunk and urban fantasy themes that made the franchise such a hit in the first place.
Combat in the game is turn based (in a manner similar to that of XCOM games) and players decide the actions of their team before the enemy makes their move. Characters within the team have a base of 2 action points (AP), which can be affected both positively and negatively by abilities and items used on them. It is not mandatory to use all AP within a move, with any extra action points being forfeited at the end of the turn.
Players can upgrade their character and install different cyberwares, which allow for different augmentations and synergetic abilities that can be used in combat to benefit the player. Player attributes in the game are also customizable and you can alter the level of strength, quickness, willpower, intelligence, charisma and body points, all of which create different pathways of skillsets to be unlocked and applied to your character. You must gain karma points in order to distribute points into the different categories.
Shadowrun: Hong Kong – The Good
- Setting and Visuals: The greatest appeal of Shadowrun: Hong Kong are its visuals and cyberpunk style. The game does a phenomenal job of creating an immersive and futuristic dystopian Hong Kong setting that is both charming and stylish. The graphics are certainly not the best in the world, but they don’t need to be, or want to be. The reason the franchise has garnered such a cult following is largely down to its charming and self-effacing appeal. This unique style is something we can’t stress enough in this Shadowrun: Hong Kong review.
- Story: This game has a LOT of dialogue, and it really adds to the story and aids the immersion of the game. This can sometimes sour a game for some people, which is understandable if the writing is sub-par. Yet, the Shadowrun: Hong Kong story is written carefully with some expert storytelling that keeps you gripped form start to finish.
Shadowrun: Hong Kong – The Bad
- Lack of voice-overs: Perhaps the main criticism that we are aware of in this Shadowrun: Hong Kong review is the lack of voice-overs. No character in the game has any legible speaking voice, and even the utterances provided in the combat scenes by certain characters are slightly untidy. In a heavily text-laden game, however, this should not really come as a surprise and doesn’t take much away from the game.
- Dialogue: Another aspect of the game that came into criticism was the huge amount of text dialogue in the game. Admittedly, there is a lot, and it can seem a bit of a chore to scroll through at times. But for those used to playing games heavily loaded with text (like the early Final Fantasy games), this didn’t feel out of place and, in fact, keeps you focussed and immersed in the Shadowrun universe.
Games like Shadowrun: Hong Kong
This game is undoubtedly one of the best cyberpunk games around today, but there are other great titles in the genre that you should try after giving this a go. Here are some other games like Shadowrun: Hong Kong for you to check out:
- Shadowrun: Dragonfall
- Shadowrun Returns
- Satellite Reign
- The Age of Decadence
Blog of Games Rating
You may have noticed from reading this Shadowrun: Hong Kong review that we are big fans of this game. For us, it is one of the best cyberpunk games around today and you should definitely consider it if you are a fan of the genre. Its unique blend of urban fantasy and futuristic sci-fi is a recipe for a great game, and we score this game an impressive 8.5/10.
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