Shadowrun: Hong Kong Articles RSS Feed | Shadowrun: Hong Kong RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Cyberpunk Games to Play While Waiting on Cyberpunk 2077 Fri, 28 Feb 2020 16:27:49 -0500 Ty Arthur


What other cyberpunk themed games did we forget about that should have made the list of games to play while impatiently waiting on Cyberpunk 2077? 


Sound off with your top picks below so we have something to do while twiddling our thumbs after the latest release date delay.


In the mean time, we'll just be gawking at the Keanu Reeves guitar-shredding figurines and line of Cyberpunk 2077 Funko Pop figures while dreaming of the day that Cyberpunk 2077 actually hits PC and consoles.


Reality's Edge


We couldn't resist just one more genre hop before wrapping up! If your gaming group is more into the combat side than the roleplaying side, then take a look at Reality's Edge.


What you get here is a setting-independent cyberpunk tabletop skirmish ruleset that lets you use whatever minis you want. That makes Reality's Edge much less of a money investment than jumping into a full blown tabletop war game with its own miniature line.


Cyberpunk Red


In a look at games to play while waiting on Cyberpunk 2077, we couldn't leave out the grandaddy of tabletop RPGs that inspired CD Projekt Red's video game in the first place!


There have been a few different editions of this franchise over the years, and the latest is Cyberpunk Red. If you want to know what to expect from Night City and delve deep into the lore and style before 2077 sees official release, this is the tabletop game to pick.


Infinity: The Roleplaying Game


We've covered a huge range of game styles on the digital front, but there's still more ways to experience the cyberpunk style, especially if you like a community aspect to your gaming.


Infinity is a cyberpunk-heavy 2d20 pen and paper RPG from Modiphius. Even if you aren't an avid roleplayer you might be familiar with the name already, as Modiphius has tabletop versions of Fallout, Conan, Mutant Year Zero, and other franchises.


This one actually goes a bit beyond the bounds of typical cyberpunk, as its inspired by a tabletop skirmish game. That means you get sci-fi traditional warfare, electronic info warfare, and social psychological warfare all in one game and the book is absolutely huge to make room for all those rules!


Obviously the hardcover book is on the expensive side, but you can grab a PDF copy through places like DriveThruRPG for half the price.




Here we go with another radical gameplay shift to show just how versatile the concept of "cyberpunk" can become. Mindnight is a social interaction game of guessing who is for and against you.


Essentially, this is the exact same gameplay as the One Night Ultimate Werewolf card game, except that its online and features hackers instead of werewolves.


While you can jump into multiplayer sessions with randos, Mindnight is signification more fun to play with people you know due to the mechanics of guessing who is doing what.




We aren't done on our whirlwind tour of wildly different genres in the cyberpunk style, as StarCrawlers offers something you don't typically see. This one takes the classic Wizardy or Dungeon Master style of first person dungeon crawler and converts it into a sic-fi cyberpunk setting!


Rather than plundering those underground dungeons filled with kobolds and slimes, instead your crew is committing corporate sabotage and completing bounties for the amoral megacorps.


If you've played Legend Of Grimrock or Might And Magic X into the ground, StarCrawlers is a great palette cleanser by offering similar gameplay in a  totally different setting.


Remember Me


Another blast from the past, Remember Me doesn't require going nearly as far back to enjoy as Snatcher. This one originally hit the Xbox 360 and PS3, although in cyberpunk tech terms, that's basically an eternity.


Although it was sort of panned at launch due to a few issues with repetitive combat, Remember Me has essentially become one of those sleeper hits that's thought of fondly long after its time has past.


The action combat and cyberpunk world on display here is rather surprising considering Remember Me was released by Dontnod before the development team started working on Life Is Strange!


If you don't feel like pulling out and hooking up your old 360, Remember Me is available on Steam now, and its up for grabs super cheap!




Even more old school than Dex, the Hideo Kojima-led Snatcher may be one of the very first graphical cyberpunk games to hit consoles. This forgotten gem was released in Japan back in '88 and then eventually hit North America with a Sega CD port in '94.


Snatcher is basically made of classic tropes, but that's because they were still fairly new at the time. The amnesiac investigator on the hunt for androids who look like humans will make you think alternatively of Terminator or Blade Runner.


On the gameplay front, Snatcher sits somewhere between a point 'n click adventure game and a visual novel but good luck finding a working copy at this point! Your best bets are going to be abandonware sites, trying to get a Sega CD emulator up and running, or just watching full Let's Plays over at YouTube.




So far every single game in our list of Cyberpunk 2077 replacements has been of a completely different genre, and we're not going to stop that trend now! Dex is a side scrolling, platformer RPG with some non-linear elements that let you tackle events in different ways.


For a bit of variety, the hacking segments spice things up by switching to a twin stick shooter mini game. If you've got need for a nostalgic trip down '90s game design, Dex is the game to pick, and it has a free demo at Steam if you want to try before you buy.


Satellite Reign


Focusing more on combat, Satellite Reign is an anomaly in the realm of squad strategy games because it takes place in real time, rather than going turn-based. That can be a big change to overcome if you're switching from Transistor (which uses both styles) or Shadowrun (which is entirely turn based). 


Here your squad will move through typically neon and darkness-shrouded back streets while dealing with the ever present and omnipotent mega corps. There's plenty of different ways to tackle any given scenario based on your squad load out, and the cyberpunk themes are baked right into the gameplay.


Shadowrun Hong Kong


Despite the focus on magic, the Shadowrun series has long exemplified the basic cyberpunk tenets of unrestrained corporate greed and technology merging with human life.


A trilogy of standalone games from Harebrained Schemes kicked off with Shadowrun Returns, and all three of them are worth playing while waiting on Cyberpunk 2077.


While second title Dragonfall probably has the most direct cyberpunk elements, Hong Kong isn't lacking in them and has the best overall gameplay of the three.


Make sure to pick up the missable companion Racter on your playthrough though, and get ready for some mind-blowing discussions on transhumanism and what it means for the species when they merge with robotics. 




While the cyberpunk style tends to be thought of as fairly one note, the differences between Observer and Transistor show that doesn't have to be the case. Despite featuring a totally different color scheme, protagonist, and gameplay style, both are still firmly in the cyberpunk realm.


This is the second main entry from indie darlings Supergiant Games, and sadly many of their later titles haven't been quite as well received as the debut Bastion (the odd football combat mechanics in Pyre didn't do it for me, to be honest).


Transistor still absolutely has the goods though, featuring more options on the combat front, and just as high quality of a soundtrack as its predecessor. Although the sci-fi story is told in a non-traditional (and occasionally obtuse) manner, the journey here is well worth taking from beginning to end.




Cyberpunk typically comes in a dystopian setting, and while games like Shadowrun and even the titular Cyberpunk itself flirt with the idea, not many games in this genre explore the full horror of what that really means.


That's not the case with Observer, as paranoia and hopelessness are major themes in a world where unchecked corporations (and technology) run amok.


Rutger Hauer stars as the main character in this exceptionally well executed version of the "walking simulator" horror game. Observer puts a twist on that style, melding in sci-fi detective mechanics as you process crime scenes and jack into the memories of the deceased. Some of those memory runs end up like a fever dream of a Black Mirror episode.


Although Hauer has sadly passed away since Observer was released, Bloober Team has recently been posting teaser material indicating a possible second entry may be in the works.


Following eight torturous years since the initial announcement trailer blew everyone's minds, the unthinkable has happened. Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed, and isn't due to drop for console and PC until September 17, 2020.


That means we've got an extra five months to wait until finally exploring Night City than originally planned. With all that extra time on our hands, why not delve into other takes on the cyberpunk style?


Here we've rounded up the 12 best cyberpunk games covering every genre and platform with a few tabletop options thrown in as well! 

Harebrained Schemes Working on Horror Game, Possibly More Tue, 17 Dec 2019 17:14:52 -0500 Ty Arthur

Fans wondering what's coming from Harebrained Schemes after Battletech caught a small glimpse of what the studio has in store through a Facebook post today.

The social media link goes to the developer's careers page, where they've put out a call for new team members. Open positions include Game Designer  Mission Design, Game Designer — Systems, Lead Game Designer, Narrative Designer/Writer, and Art Director.

Curiously, only the positions for Lead Game Designer and Art Director specify the new game as a "horror project." The other positions simply mention a "new project." It's unclear if the "new project" and "horror project" refer to the same game or if Harebrained is working on two separate titles. 

The original Facebook post is already filled with comments from fans hoping for a new Shadowrun entry, although it appears Harebrained will give us something else entirely with at least one of the current projects. 

We don't know yet whether this will be a brand new IP or a horror game in an existing universe. The Latest Shadowrun entry, Hong Kong, certainly featured elements of horror towards the end, like a demon goddess who infested the city's inhabitants with nightmares of a fleshy landscape covered in teeth.

Harebrained Schemes has consistently followed a pattern of releasing a non-related game between major entries, however, with the offbeat roguelike Necropolis following Shadowrun Hong Kong and the board game/mobile app hybrid Golem Arcana released after Shadowrun Dragonfall.

The developer most recently released the Heavy Metal expansion for turn-based mech combat game Battletech last month.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more on the next game(s) from Harebrained Schemes as it breaks. 

SAG-AFTRA Releases List of Games being Struck Against Fri, 21 Oct 2016 12:30:59 -0400 Clayton Reisbeck

Today, SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) is conducting a strike in protest to the unsuccessful negotiations for a new contract that would allow for residuals for successful games, safer working conditions, and transparency with voice actors for the projects that they'd be working on.

Along with the strike today, SAG-AFTRA released a list of around 200 games that would be struck against. The entire list can be found on SAG-AFTRA's website.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered

Looking through the list shows many titles that are clearly project names without official titles, but the list does hold some pretty big titles that are supposed to be very anticipated in the next few years. This includes games such as Injustice 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the Crash Bandicoot remaster announced at E3 this year, and Kingdom Hearts 2.8. The list also has some titles that are already released, such as Team Fortress 2 and Shadowrun: Hong Kong.

Those titles that are just represented with project names are also interesting to see. Certain titles that I found intriguing were a couple from Formosa Interactive called "Blood Dragon" and Brothers in Arms. Other project titles of note are from EA titled "American Football '17 and '18" and "Hockey '17 and '18." I think it's safe to assume that those are the next installments in the Madden and NHL series, respectively.

madden 17

Now if this strike goes on for an extended period of time, we could very easily see some delays from these games. The issue I foresee is the companies just hiring someone new to do the voice work. SAG-AFTRA only represents about 25% of voice actors today, so finding someone who isn't part of the union probably wouldn't be hard for the companies being struck against.

Whatever happens to these games, SAG-AFTRA is going to fight for this new contract. Their previous contract was written back in the 90's and hasn't been updated to reflect the current culture of video games.

Which games are you surprised to see? Leave a comment and let me know!

Humble Narrative Bundle Features BAFTA Award-Winning Her Story and More Wed, 01 Jun 2016 04:54:34 -0400 cactusjudy

Humble Bundle is currently offering a Narrative Bundle that features a number of award-winning titles, including BAFTA award-winner Her Story.

Gamers can currently pay any price on Humble Bundle and receive Her Story, along with cyberpunk puzzle game Read Only Memories and mature interactive game Cibele. Paying more than the average amount offered for the bundle (which has been hovering around $4) will unlock quirky graphic adventure game Broken Age, Time Magazine Game of 2014, IGF winner, and four-time BAFTA nominee 80 Days, and sprawling action-adventure title Steve Jackson's Sorcery! Parts 1 & 2Paying $10 or more will also unlock Hardcore Gamer's Best Strategy Game of 2015, Shadowrun: Hong Kong - Extended Edition

This month's Humble Bundle is supporting the charity Worldreader. Worldreader's goal is to bring digital books to children and their families. Since 2011, the global nonprofit has reached 5.6 million readers in 69 countries, with a digital library of 28,500 e-books. As usual, customers can choose how much of their payment goes to support the charity, the game's developers, and Humble Bundle itself. Customers can also choose instead to support one of a thousand other charities.

Founded in 2010, Humble Bundle is a digital storefront for video games committed to providing cheap quality titles and donating part of its profits to charity. Humble Bundle currently runs bi-weekly game and book bundles where customers choose their price -- along with Humble Store, an online store which offers discounted games, and Humble Monthly, a paid prescription service that delivers a curated bundle of games every month to each customer's inbox. The current Humble Narrative Bundle will run until June 14th.

[Review] Shadowrun: Hong Kong Mon, 25 Jan 2016 11:20:10 -0500 Nolrac

Developer: Harebrained Schemes

Windows Release Date: August 20, 2015

Do you want to work for a local triad boss?

You want to be a bad ass mercenary (aka Shadowrunner) with big time contacts? Do you want to work for a local triad boss? Are you a gamer that loves RPGs and reading? Do you enjoy turn based tactical games? Well then if you said yes to all that, then Shadowrun: Hong Kong is a perfect game to satiate your hunger.

There is no safe place in the streets of Hong Kong. Life is full of users and traitors. You get betrayed, you get set up, and suddenly you are working for a triad boss. The story of Shadowrun: Hong Kong is very much intriguing from start to finish. From the very beginning, I got really curious about the story and just wanted to keep going.


Gameplay and Story

Despite having a lot of reading content, I never got tired of it except when my eyes were already getting blurry and need a rest.

The main storyline is excellent on its own but side missions are also present. These side missions offer some action packed adventures (in a turn based tactical RPG way) and a lot of great story content that makes the world alive. Besides the stories you get from side missions, the NPCs in the world constantly have new stories to tell and new emotions from time to time after you do some runs. An RPG game needs to have some good writing content and Shadowrun: Hong Kong has this indeed.

I spend hours in between missions just talking to NPCs and do a lot of reading. Despite having a lot of reading content, I never got tired of it except when my eyes were already getting blurry and needed a rest.

Imagine our present world with dwarves, elves, orcs, trolls and dragons in it. That's the Shadowrun world.

Shadowrun’s near future universe is one filled with magic and technology combined. Imagine our present world with dwarves, elves, orcs, trolls and dragons in it. Yes, that’s right. Imagine our world with dragons. There is also advanced technology we see in our world today like computers and people who can use magic, which science finds hard to explain. It’s the same earth and the same places, just with a sci-fi-fantasy fictional lore.

I must admit that I did not really play the Shadowrun RPG tabletop game and I do not know any lore about Shadowrun. If you are also like that, there may be times where you might get lost with some dialogues. I did not like that at all. Since I’m a lore lover, I searched the net for Shadowrun lore and read a lot of it. Because of this, I enjoyed reading all of Shadowrun: Hong Kong’s dialogues. You must know that there are a lot of abbreviations and references in Shadowrun that you would not get if you did not read anything about Shadowrun lore. After all, Shadowrun is a tabletop RPG with a long list of novels to draw on.

This isn’t to say that you will not enjoy the game if you did not read Shadowrun lore like I did. In my experience, I just enjoyed and appreciated the game more when I did. I really do advise doing it though. There’s a free PDF Shadowrun primer in Harebrained-Schemes website anyway. And if you don’t love reading, you won’t be playing Shadowrun: Hong Kong in the first place anyway.

Narratives clearly describe things in an area.

Like in tabletop RPGs where Shadowrun originated from, dialogues in the game will have narratives that describes the surrounding area even though you already have a visual representation of it. It clearly describes the things in an area like minor details such as water dripping, the bad smell of rotten food, and the twitching muscles from an NPC you are talking to. The game’s narrative really feeds your imagination that would make you feel like you are the one inside the world.

Positioning, like most tactical battle games, is what makes Shadowrun fun.

Battles or enemy encounters in Shadowrun: Hong Kong is played out in a turn-based tactical battle. You can’t just run and gun and not expect to get wounded. There are walls you can hide in which increases your defense against enemy ranged attacks. Positioning, like most tactical battles, is a must and is what makes this kind of game fun.

There are a lot of possible builds you can make for your character.

You level up your main character and get to choose his stats. There are a lot of possible builds you can make for your character since this is based on a tabletop RPG. You can be a samurai that excels in melee combat and has tremendous physical strength and agility. You can be the same samurai who also excels in using shotguns which I find to be a good build since before you reach your enemy by being melee, it’s a good deal to have some firepower before you reach melee range. You can be a lot of stuff, and there’s a ton of combinations. It all really depends on how you want to roleplay your character.

These builds are not just about battle builds. Increasing your character’s charisma score also helps your character during conversations. Increasing some of your stats also unlock some dialogue options. Increasing your body or strength for example, unlocks dialogue options to threaten an NPC you are talking to which can save you the trouble of entering combat with that NPC.

Depending on how you choose to play the game, you can finish some missions without enemy encounters by choosing the right dialogue option.

Depending on how you choose to play the game, you can finish some missions without enemy encounters by choosing the right dialogue option. You get the same experience or karma gained anyway. Meaning it’s not about killing enemies like other RPGs where you can get experience. Remember that Shadowrun is a tabletop RPG first. In tabletop RPGs, you get rewarded XP through all the things your character does in the world and not just in killing monsters.


The good background music is a bonus but not required to enjoy the game.

The background music of Shadowrun: Hong Kong fits the cyberpunk world nicely. Footsteps, guns, bombs, magic all have good sound effects that make the game feel more alive. In my personal opinion however, I can play RPG games like Shadowrun: Hong Kong(games that have a lot of reading) without sounds. In playing these types of RPGs, your imagination is what is really needed to enjoy the game anyway. The good background music and sound effects is a bonus for me and it’s not bad but not required.


New and experienced turn based strategy players will have no problems with the simplicity of the controls.

The controls are simple with the traditional point and click where you want to go or in choosing dialogues. As an alternative in dialogues, there are keyboard shortcuts like pressing the number keys depending on the position of the dialogue option you want to choose. Shortcuts like pressing “TAB” to move on with a dialogue is also a good alternative than using the mouse to press the next button. New and experienced turn based strategy players will have no problems with the simplicity of the controls.


The story and narration is compelling and simply urges you to press on.

Shadowrun: Hong Kong is a great addition to the turn based strategy and roleplaying game genre. The turn based battles are fun and never got dull for me. The story and narration is compelling and simply urges you to press on. It was worth every penny and my time playing Shadowrun: Hong Kong. I don’t want to be a triad member in real life but being a triad badass in this game rocks!

With this, I give Shadowrun: Hong Kong an 8 out of 10.

The state of RPGs in 2015 Fri, 04 Dec 2015 15:31:16 -0500 Ty Arthur

We've reached the end of another year, and it's time to take stock of what's come to pass and what's on the horizon in the world of role playing games. Although several of the biggest names didn't get sequels, 2015 was still a stellar year overall for RPGs – so long as you knew where to look. The best entries frequently weren't the AAA titles.

Recapping a full year's worth of games is a difficult proposition, and its made more challenging when considering just where the boundaries of the genre really sit. Unlike some genres, like first person shooters, RPGs cover a much wider range of play styles and tend to tweak their formulas more often. Take the reboot of King's Quest, for instance -- it might be primarily an adventure game, but there's a compelling argument there that it also lands in RPG territory, especially considering the series' history.

Things get more complicated when you thrown in strategy games. Are Blackguards 2, Sorcerer King, and Age Of Wonders III out of the running entirely, or are they RPGs that happen to use turned-based or real-time strategy as their core mechanic? Let's not forget Bloodborne, which is more an action game than an RPG, but seems to lean into role-playing through its setting and character stats.

RPG, or turn-based strategy in a fantasy setting?

Where to draw the line is an interesting topic on it's own, but for our purposes we're going to stick primarily to titles that are solidly RPGs in the classic sense of the term, with only a few forays into gray territory.

The Biggest RPG Disappointments Of 2015

In a full year's worth of releases there will always be duds, but thankfully this year was filled mostly with worthy entries that are genuinely worth playing. In fact, one of the major letdowns was simply a release that didn't appear when it was originally projected to land. Persona 5 was sadly pushed back (we really should be playing that right now), but is slated to drop in the summer of 2016.

The biggest RPG disappointment of the year took a classic role playing formula and dumbed it down into a hack-and-slash click fest with only minor DM tools: Sword Coast Legends.

D&D has been missing from the single player or co-op arena for a long time, and it's return wasn't groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination. Garnering mixed reviews at steam and a metacritic score of 61, its clear this isn't Baldur's Gate. Hell, this isn't even Neverwinter Nights.

This is not the 5th edition game you are looking for

The Biggest RPG Releases Of 2015

Welcome home indeed! After years of delays and waiting in silence with no official info dropping until the 11th hour, the biggest RPG of the year (and probably most anticipated game of any genre) arrived in November. There were tweaks to the formula that make it possible to play the game more like a shooter, but Fallout 4 still remains pretty solidly in RPG territory.

Between the settlement building, weapon and armor crafting, side quests, and main story, you could easily sink hundreds of hours into the post apocalyptic wasteland. Granted, there are problems – graphical glitches and bugs abound this close to launch, as is expected from Bethesda at this point – but the Metacritic score of 84 speaks of a game that is remaining competitive even if there were disappointments.

Welcome Home Vault Dweller!

Continuing to bring in heaps of praise and with a whopping 92 metacritic score, The Witcher 3 is the surprise hit of the year. It's been a wild ride for this series, going from a niche PC RPG by a little-known European developer to a huge phenomena that reaches its crescendo in the third installment. The graphics are fabulous, the gameplay is solid, and a steady stream of DLC keeps massively expanding the game so you never have to stop playing.

There's also something to be said about the Witcher series giving us what Bioware's RPG romances have typically been too afraid to provide: actual sex scenes with *gasp* nipples and everything! What has got me most hot and bothered about The Witcher 3 though is what comes next – with this title finally released, CD Projekt Red can finish Cyberpunk 2077!

Classic Gameplay And Crowd Funding In 2015

It can't be overstated: crowd funding has changed the gaming landscape. We're getting a sequel to Planescape: Torment next year, and that's entirely due to crowd funding. Publishers and middle men are getting cut out entirely, and the consumers are putting their money into the projects they actually want to get made.

As it turns out, quite a bit of what RPG fans want involves returning to classic gameplay, as was clearly shown with Pillars of Eternity. While some were disappointed in the end product, it's the vast majority loved seeing the Infinity Engine games get a modern day overhaul, because this title sits at a solid 89 metacritic score. Honestly I couldn't have been more happy when I first booted up Pillars: it was somehow 1998 all over again and I was kid spending a silly amount of time exploring every last inch of Baldur's Gate once more.

Obsidian took us back to a classic era with this one

More importantly, the game brought me back to the oddity of Planescape: Torment's companions. The banter between Durance – a priest who hates his goddess – and Eder – whose god was killed by Durance - are imminently enjoyable. And that's just the beginning. The unexpected themes of atheism versus faith were a welcome change to the typical RPG storyline, and there were much more mature themes than what you'd typically see (due in no small part to cutting out D&D and Wizards of the Coast, who don't want anything even remotely close to passing a PG-13 rating).

There were some complex morality issues to be found in there as well, with unexpected consequences for your actions. I particularly enjoyed how siding against the evil tyrant could result in everyone in the area being slaughtered by undead, while helping to subjugate the peasants actually led to peace and harmony down the road.

On the heels of Pillars came another classic reinterpretation of an old school gem: Shadowrun Hong Kong was just dripping with atmosphere and upped the ante from the already stellar Shadowrun: Dragonfall. Starting out as an Asian cop movie with two siblings on opposite sides of the law, this third iteration in Harebrained Scheme's adaptions of the classic pen-and-paper RPG goes some crazy places. It all gets grounded back in reality at the end though, as your world-saving anti-heroes are reminded that if people can survive the resurgence of magic and dragon attacks, then they wouldn't mind one particular town getting taken over by an evil demon goddess.

Harebrained Schemes will be quite busy for the next couple of years after successfully kickstarting a Battletech game. But honestly, these guys need to do an Earthdawn RPG one day. That's the one FASA pen-and-paper title to never get its just due in the PC realm.

Where man meets magic and machine: and Asian cops and demon gods

While Pillars and Shadowrun were the most visible old school games, there were plenty more than went under the radar and are worth investigating -- like the early access UnderRail, which continues in the style of the original Fallout games. If you dig party-based, isometric RPGs, you will want to take a gander at Serpent In The Staglands. For those who like lots of dialog and turn-based gameplay, don't forget that The Age Of Decadence just dropped back in October.

Earlier Games Updated With New Formats In 2015

It wasn't just entirely new games that generated buzz this year, as plenty of games – both old and relatively recent – got facelifts and saw new editions land in 2015. Two of the biggest came to games created through the power of crowd funding. Wasteland 2 and Divinity: Original Sin (two very different takes on the RPG genre) were both overhauled and re-released in updated versions, with graphical improvements and plenty of gameplay tweaks that changed them to the point of nearly being new games.

Previous owners got the new version for free to boot!

The Final Fantasy series has always lagged behind in terms of PC releases, with consoles getting all the love and the PC master race only getting occasional scraps years after the fact. One of those scraps finally arrived in 2015 ,as the 3D version of Final Fantasy 4: The After Years landed on Steam, letting anyone without a Wii get to experience the direct follow-up to the classic Final Fantasy 4 story.

Beyond just PC or console, the Final Fantasy series likes to toy with North American fans and give Japanese players all the love first. The 2011 title Final Fantasy Type-0 just arrived on North American consoles back in May and on Steam later in the summer. The wait may have been too long though, as reviews are definitely mixed, with a metacritic score of 72 for this HD rendition of the aging game.

Better late than never?

Not to be left out, the much loved creature-raising series Monster Hunter saw a late North American release in 2015, as Monster Hunter 4 arrived in its “Ultimate Edition” for the 3DS early in the year (after being out in Japan since 2013). Handheld fans are clearly digging this one despite the length of time they were required to wait, as reviews are mostly positive and hover around 86%.

The Many RPG Sequels Of 2015

Outside the big name titles, returns to classic gameplay, and re-releases of old games, 2015 was a year heavy on sequels when it came to RPGs. One that's had everyone waiting with baited breath lands this week at the tail end of the year, with a new entry in the Xeno series arriving to prop up the struggling Wii U. There really aren't that many RPGs at all for that particular console, so the launch of Xenoblade Chronicles X stateside is a breath of fresh air for anyone in need of a role playing fix.

The dungeon crawling crowd got not only two sequels in one, but also a surprise crossover on the 3DS in April when Etrian Mystery Dungeon launched. Make sure to stock up on healing items if you plan on delving into ever-deeper levels of dungeoneering in this one, because the addition of rogue-like elements makes it a lot more unforgiving!

The anime-based Sword Art Online: Lost Song also launched this year, taking the series to a different game world and putting a heavier focus on both action combat and hardcore level grinding. Another grinder that show how very different two RPGs can be is Disagea 5, where Sony let gamers play as the bad guys and put them in control of a demon army that seems more focused on slapstick humor than damning any souls.

Who said demon princes can't be comedians?

Significantly beating out Disagea in the longevity department, the Tales franchise got a new entry as the year is closing out with Tales of Zestiria, which again mixes 3D action combat with classic RPG gameplay. As usual this entry is a mixed bag, featuring a lackluster story and humor that sometimes works and sometimes falls flat, but if you liked any of the previous Tales games, this one will keep you hooked on the combat.

The Forecast for 2016

While 2015 was a solid balance of old school charm and slick, next generation games, the coming year is currently slanting more towards the bigger releases with hyper polished effects. Final Fantasy XV will of course dominate, although it remains to be seen if SquareEnix is ready to actually recover from the fiasco that was the FF13 and its spin offs and deliver something worth playing in the single player department again.

Titles in the Mass Effect and Deus Ex franchises will keep sci-fi roleplayers covered, along with Technomancer, an upcoming game set on Mars that is looking very interesting indeed. 

Just because the big name developers and AAA titles are on the rise next year doesn't mean you should discount the indie titles or throwbacks to an earlier generation of RPGs though! There's not a PC RPG fan around who isn't waiting with baited breath to see if Torment: Tides Of Numenera can live up to the hype of its predecessor, while Project Setsuna sees Square Enix returning to its roots and focusing on its strengths with a SNES style offering.

In a move no one expected, there's also an actual Baldur's Gate title coming, as Beamdog studio gives us an expansion/sequel using the exact same engine and assets titled Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear.

Get ready for this one to get weird!

Want a full list of what's coming soon you should be saving your money for? Check out our complete look at the most anticipated RPGs of 2016 here, as well as our examination of the coming year's MMOs, which feature more than a few RPGs in their ranks.

What did you think of the RPG offerings throughout 2015, and what were your favorite games/biggest disappointments? Share with us in the comments! 

Shadowrun: Hong Kong releases for PC, Mac, Linux Sun, 23 Aug 2015 06:02:32 -0400 Jessa Rittenhouse

After a hugely-successful Kickstarter campaign, Harebrained Schemes has finally released their latest installment in the Shadowrun series - Shadowrun: Hong Kong.

With a new crew, this latest PC title once again brings to life the seedy, cyber-fantasy future that the original tabletop RPG has always been known for: this time in the magically-awakened city of Hong Kong in the year 2056. 

Like Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun: Dragonfall before it, Shadowrun: Hong Kong promises a rich and diverse narrative that has the feel of a gritty cyberpunk novel and beautiful, highly immersive cityscapes.

Also like in previous games, you command a crew with a diverse array of skills, strengths and weaknesses. You can guide their stories by following up on their personal challenges, or leave them be in favor of pursuing the game's main story goals.

Shadowrun: Hong Kong brings another thrilling cyber-fantasy future to life on your PC.

Shadowrun: Hong Kong brings new elements to the series as well with expanded magic and cyberware, a completely revamped Matrix, and an upgraded release of the Shadowrun editor.

Shadowrun: Hong Kong is currently $19.99 on Steam, GOG, and Humble. If you're willing to shell out an extra $9.99, you can get the deluxe edition, which offers the game's soundtrack and a PDF of the game's artbook.

Are you a fan of the Shadowrun tabletop or computer RPGs? Are you already enjoying the latest game? Let us know in the comments!

9 awesome indie games still to come in 2015 Sun, 16 Aug 2015 04:30:01 -0400 Daniel R. Miller


No Man's Sky

Release Date: 2015
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC

What is there to say about No Man's Sky that hasn't been said already? The game looks amazing, and no matter what happens, it will make an instant impact on the industry as a new standard for what the indie games can accomplish. Of course, there are some doubts as to whether the game world will be too by the numbers.


Game director Sean Murray has said in the past that the secret behind the game's infinite universe is simply math, which makes me wonder if there will be enough assets to cover the fact that a lot of planets will have very similar features.  Regardless, there's many a reason why many gamers, myself included, can't wait to get their hands on this game. However, don't be surprised if Hello Games elects to wait until 2016 to let us play No Man's Sky.


Hyper Light Drifter

Release Date: 2015
Platforms: PC, Mac

Hyper Light Drifter has some of the best use of perspective with pixels that I've ever seen.  The indie action RPG has gained a considerable amount of praise and anticipation from its following, beginning during its Kickstarter campaign in 2013. Hyper Light Drifter is built upon five core mechanics: melee combat, shield defense, dash movement, an array of secondary items, and the use of a drone companion.  



Release Date: September 2015
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux

Jotun is a beautiful, hand-drawn Viking adventure that is not for the weak.  The game prides itself on difficulty and demands its players be tactful, patient - and above all, skillful.  I had some hands-on time with the beta version recently, and I can say for sure that the game's strength is in its boss encounters.  


In a sense its experience is similar to that of Shadow of the Colossus, the world exploration in between boss encounters is both epic in scope and empty in space. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but rather an intentional design choice, meant to evoke the sense of loneliness that the protagonist is enduring on their journey. 



Release Date: September 2015
Platforms: Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 4

Adr1ft is an upcoming sci-fi survival game set above the earth in zero gravity. A terrible accident has occurred at a space station orbiting the planet, and it is your job to figure out what happened and get back to Earth. Your character is inhabiting a damaged spacesuit that can't hold oxygen for very long, so one of the primary moment to moment mechanics is the constant struggle to keep yourself alive by finding canisters of O2. 



Release Date: September 22, 2015
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC

SOMA is a sci-fi horror game built in the same vein as the Amnesia and Penumbra series, which is no coincidence since the developers are one and the same. This time, players will be exploring a run-down underwater ocean lab, filled with frighteningly human and aggressive mechanical monsters, as well as the potential dangers of the unknown.  SOMA tries to emulate a sense of loneliness with a larger environment to traverse, really making the player feel small and insignificant.



Release Date: September 1, 2015
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Mac, Android

Armello is a turn-based multiplayer digital board game with strategy and role-playing elements by developer League of Geeks.  The premise of the game is that the king of the land of Armello has fallen ill to a mysterious sickness called The Rot, and a power struggle for his throne has begun.  As each turn commences, the king gets closer and closer to death, and as a result, more corrupt.  


Players take control of a single clan, lead by a prominent animal character with different attributes that can be enhanced by completing quests, defeating opponents in battle, and acquiring new gear. All of this builds into a final confrontation with the king to take his castle. The first player to defeat the king and take the throne, wins the game.


Calvino Noir

Release Date: August 25, 2015
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC, iPhone

Calvino Noir is a 2D side-scrolling stealth adventure game that leans heavily on inspiration from films like Bladerunner and The Third Man, as well as the game Deus Ex, for both its narrative and architectural representations. There are three distinct pillars of importance when defining the Calvino Noir experience: puzzle-solving gameplay, enhanced immersion, and an episodic storyline.  


In a recent post on the PlayStation Blog, the developers cited the authenticity of the architecture within the game world as a key aspect that establishes the game's gritty art style through form.


Shadowrun: Hong Kong

Release Date: August 20, 2015
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux

After successfully reviving the Shadowrun series back in 2013 with Shadowrun: Returns and following up with the Dragonfall expansion last year, developer Harebrained Schemes returns with the next official entry, Shadowrun: Hong Kong.  Hong Kong was successfully funded on Kickstarter earlier this year, raising over $1.2 million, achieving the same amount of success as the initial campaign for Returns.  


Shadowrun is a cRPG that is know for its sci-fi cyberpunk meets high-fantasy magic world that predicates its gameplay on freeform exploration and strategic turn-based combat.


Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power 

Release Date: August 20, 2015
Platforms: PC

The Trine series has enjoyed a relatively quiet run of success since the first game launched back in fall of 2009.  The games have effectively combined 2D platforming, 3D graphical elements, and puzzle solving that revolves around environmental manipulation with a splash of basic combat. All of these elements are kept fresh throughout due to a constant rotation of three characters representative of classic gaming archetypes: a soldier, a wizard and a thief.  


Trine 3 improves on its own game mechanics by exploring the use of depth for environment traversal, all while maintaining the classic two dimensional plane.


AAA games tend to make most of the headlines throughout the calendar year.  However, it can be argued that some of the best and most unique gaming experiences come from studios without the backing of big publishers. Independent developers have a great deal more freedom in defining what they want their game to be, and cater towards more of a target audience than the general public.


As the indie scene has evolved over the years, so has the quality of the games coming from it. There is a steadily growing financial payoff in going indie, and although it's still undoubtedly a riskier business venture, there are more and more developers making the jump, so the competition has become increasingly fierce. 


This list does not necessarily consist of games with concrete release dates, as delays and uncertainty are the norm among indie titles.  However, these games have at least been slated for release in 2015.  Just bear in mind that this is all subject to change.

Shadowrun: Hong Kong Raises Over 1 Million Dollars In Kickstarter Campaign Mon, 23 Feb 2015 05:23:56 -0500 Jessa Rittenhouse

The Kickstarter campaign to fund production of Harebrained Schemes' latest cRPG Shadowrun: Hong Kong is now over and has raised $1,204,706 - well in excess of the company's funding goal of $100,000.

This is not the first time that the company has successfully funded one of their titles through Kickstarter;  their two previous titles, Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut were also crowd-funded triumphs, each far exceeding their original goals.

Based on the tabletop RPG series Shadowrun, the cRPG series has a post-apocalyptic setting in which magic and technology combine, blending aspects of the sci-fi and fantasy genres.

As a reward for hitting the million-dollar mark, fans have unlocked a Shadows of Hong Kong mini-campaign, providing an extra 4-5 hours of gameplay on top of the game's promised 12+ hours. Rather than announcing further stretch goals, however, the development team has released a statement saying that the extra funds will go towards dealing with any potential hiccups in the development process.

Fans of the series that missed out on the Kickstarter can still get in on the reward action by supporting their second-chance preorder campaign, available until March 13.