May 27, 2015

Posted by in Gaming | 4 Comments

Mix And Match Genres; Caving on Price

Mix and Match Genres

Although I had been trying to stick with SWTOR through to the cap, it’s already starting to wear on me. I might see if I can just plow through, head down, and get my main character’s story done, but I don’t know that I’ll even get that far.

Over the past week, I had been restlessly paging through my Steam library for something “new” to play. As much as we joke and lament about the “backlogs” that we create through Steam sales and such, I find that it’s like Christmas (or your Major Gift Giving Holiday of Choice) when you spot a game you totally forgot you purchased, and decide to give it a shot. This time around I picked Shadowrun: Dragonfall to run with.

I had played the original (meaning the recent Kickstarter version) Shadowrun Returns for a while, but drifted off for some reason. I got SR:D as part of that deal, but it never really registered because it just showed up in my library because of it. It’s a hybrid RPG/turn based strategy that works really well. It’s an exceptionally solid game with great mechanics and fantastic writing.

But it’s Shadowrun. I like the setting OK, but it still rubs me wrong. I’m a massive cyberpunk fan, and if it had just gone that far and no farther, this would be a different post. But Shadowrun is the product of someone at a focus group presentation asking “you know what would make cyberpunk even more awesomeWelding high fantasy to it! Eh? Eh?” I get that it’s a niche, and the lore explains it extremely well, but the addition of the fantasy side adds a bit of…I dunno…camp to the whole presentation. Orc in ablative flak armor? Elf with smartguns? I think Shadowrun was an answer to a question no one asked.

That being said, I still love the game.

Caving on Price

I am a VIP. You may touch the hem of my robe (quickly, before my boss asks me why I’m wearing a robe to the office).

I suspect I’m not alone, though, in being a “VIP at GoG.com” which kind of negates the importance of the title. Still, I got an email from them yesterday, and I actually decided to look at it because it indicated savings within. I noticed there was a section advertising my exclusive VIP deals (which is apparently an actual thing with them for some reason; no idea how one obtains that status with them, but if it was granted to me it can’t be an exclusive club), so I clicked on it.

Now, I’ve been passively resisting The Witcher 3 not because of any real reason. I have other games to play, I have played W1 and W2, but never got past the 45 minute mark or so in either, and the last time I bought a game because of it’s Skyrim-ness — Dragon Age: Inquisition — I left it behind at the oh-so-thrilling “Val Royeaux palace dinner party segment”. I told myself that there were no stars that could align that would get me to jump on W3 until it was at a much lower price.

GoG’s VIP section had the game at a discount, bringing the price down to $37.99I happened to have $17 in my PayPal account at the time, which would cost me a grant total of $20.99 for the game. Hell, I figured that $20 would be the best price I’d see for the game between now and the Winter Steam Sale, so why not. And it gave me a legitimate reason to install GoG’s Galaxy download client, which people inexplicably don’t hate, despite wide spread self-reported loathing for all game library managers that Are Not Steam that the Internet seems to cop to when someone, somewhere, sneezes.

I have yet to actually play the game, though. The intro is on massive-ass cut-scene, interspersed with some thrilling horse riding, and the occasional need to pay attention so as not to get killed. I have to say that the keyboard and mouse control scheme is shit: it’s like piloting a cinder block on a sheet of ice. The controls are so sloppy that I feel I’m going to have to give it a try with a game pad to see if it feels more “natural” that way. I hope so; I could have done a lot of other things with that $20.99.

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  1. Yeah. We share (well many people share) that kind of game-hopping, game ADHD or whatever you want to call it. I actually haven’t gotten anywhere “substantial” in any Steam game in months. It’s usually a first-time, good jump in the pool to really understand the game, but then I break from it long enough to forget – and never really got anywhere storywise. 😀

    I don’t know if you ever played Shadowrun back when it was just the Pen-n-Paper version. Shadowrun is a little odd to me. It’s like the RPG everyone remembers or somehow had a brush-in with and seems to refer to it positively, but in not many people ever played it.

    Your post about it has me at least confirmed that I’ll probably like it and not feel guilt over buying it on sale. 🙂

    • Scopique says:

      It’s an excellent game. As far as the cyberpunk aspects of Shadowrun, they’ve nailed it. It was a product that was created during the heyday of “classic cyberpunk” so I’m not at all surprised. But I’m not a fan of the integration with the fantasy aspects.

      But I guess they needed to do something to differentiate themselves from their contemporary, “Cyberpunk”, from R.Talisorian.

  2. I have that first KS Shadowrun game and never got past like 5 or 10 minutes. It’s something I want to do but so many other more interesting things vie for my limited attention and time.

    That said, I also have a sort of distaste (perhaps the wrong word) for Shadowrun overall. And I’ve never even played the RPG. I think it was mainly because of the campy art I always saw in ads for, and articles about, Shadowrun.

    And yet I still have an undying love for Rifts, another genre-blending RPG from the early 90’s. Maybe they just did it without the camp?

    But I was never “into” cyberpunk, either. I mean, I “was” sorta-kinda in a “when I hear the word ‘cyberpunk’ this is what pops into my imagination” rather than any actual experience with cyberpunk novels, movies, or the Cyberpunk 2020 RPG.

    • Scopique says:

      Cyberpunk was totally over the top, but that was to the 80’s what “the home of the future” looked like in the 50’s. There was little rational basis for it, although it WAS grounded in some level of reality. In the 80’s big business got bigger, so the government took a back seat to the corporatocracy. The war on drugs? In a dystopia, we lost that one and drugs became integral to society. Violence was on the rise, so in cyberpunk it became a way of life. And then there’s the ‘net.

      All of that is why I still don’t understand why or how Shadowrun happened. They took something from out of left field and moved it FURTHER into left field. But the Shadowrun Returns and Dragonfall are really good TBS games, and really the only intrusions that “Shadowrun Proper” makes are the portraits, the references to races, and magic (which I personally explain away as being nanotechnology). So I can overlook it.

      I really loved the idea behind Rifts because it was less hocus-pocus and more about what we get from GURPS or Numenera/The Strange/FATE: a core set of rules that could bring ANYTHING out of a rift, really.

What do you think?