We were skeptical when Microsoft announced that Shadowrun would be the first game to support full cross-platform multiplay between PCs and Xbox 360s. Being staunch advocates of the keyboard and mouse in first-person shooters, we were worried that the developers at FASA would dumb down Shadowrun to even the playing field for our gamepad-wielding counterparts. Luckily, after several weeks of playing the game, we can report that it is not only fair and balanced for all players but also a truly innovative multiplayer experience that’s loads of fun.

A couple memorable in-game scenarios highlight Shadowrun’s standout features. On the Temple Grounds map, the red Lineage team mounts an assault up a massive ziggurat while the blue RNA team tries to protect an artifact from being captured. As an RNA defender, we chose to be an elf, one of the four classes available to all players. With increased speed and magic capacity, we sped around the map, using purchased spells to teleport through corners and surround the artifact with deadly spikes. Other teammates chose the heavy troll class and unleashed a barrage of bullets while being protected by their reinforced hides. Another crafty team member played as a dwarf, sucking away magic from enemies and flanking them with a high-flying glider.

And that’s the beauty of Shadowrun. With four classes, an arsenal of weapons, and numerous magic and tech abilities to purchase, every player can design a character to match their play style. On the Favela map, where both teams rush for an artifact in the Extraction mode, we won numerous rounds by playing pure defense. Trolls guarded the capture point while the rest of the team saved money between rounds for defensive abilities like antimagic generators and minion summons. The impressive number of class/weapon/ability combinations meant that teams really had to work together to counter opponent strategies.

This proved most true in the Attrition game mode, in which a team can win only by killing off everyone on the opposing team. In one match on the Nerve Center map, our team lost the first few rounds quickly because everyone chose to buy weapons early but failed to purchase the resurrection ability. No matter how many times we killed an enemy, he would be revived by one of his teammates. But once we learned to stick together and make judicious purchases, we turned the tide for a narrow victory.

Also surprising was how hard it was to distinguish between PC and console players in-game. The interface and menus don’t make the distinction, and we couldn’t tell based on skill or movements either. That’s a testament to how seamless the cross-platform play really is, though connecting to games with the TruSkill matchmaking system often took several minutes. We were also disappointed that the developers scrapped plans for a story-based campaign, since the game’s nine maps were a little worn out after a week of play. The biggest kicker is that Shadowrun also requires Windows Vista, even though it doesn’t use DirectX 10. So although it’s a highly addictive and fun multiplayer game, a few quibbles hinder its true potential. Wait until Shadowrun drops in price before picking it up.

Tree of Life

Lots of class, weapons, and tech options. First game to let Xbox 360 and Vista owners to play together.

Shrub of Stupidity

No singleplayer; limited gametypes and maps. Requires Vista, but no DX10 support.




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Julia Meth

Ya he is right FASA is no more available now... but that was a great thing. Dissertation Help



You forgot to mention here that Fasa is no more. So there will be no support for this or new maps and such.

I also just don't agree with the score on this one Norm. The fact that it had no single player, only had bots in the practice rounds, and required XBOXLive gold to play cross platform was enough for me not to play it.

I felt like I was moving through it very slowly also.

I wish I had my money back on this one.


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