Tag: videogames

Shadowrun Returns, Shadowrun: Dragonfall and Shadowrun: Hong Kong

You know how long-running horror franchises would inevitably have an installment set IN SPACE in a desperate attempt to cling to life by introducing a superficial new element that doesn’t actually fit the genre? Well, Shadowrun is an old TRPG that can be accurately described as cyberpunk but WITH MAGIC. In 2012 magic came back, a large percentage of people turned into various fantasy races, many animals mutated into mythological beasts, people learned to summon and bind spirits of nature, dragons awoke from their millennia-long slumber and decided that running corporations is a good substitute for hoarding gold. Meanwhile, technology advanced in a classic cyberpunk fashion: prosthetics enhancing your abilities beyond human limits, cybernetic implants allowing full-immersion link to cyberspace inventively called the Matrix, etc.

These events resulted in a weakening and sometimes outright collapse of governments, with corporations essentially taking their place and running the world in an orgy of wild capitalism.

The game takes its name after shadowrunners, the presumed PCs, who are essentially freelance black books operatives hired by various corporations, organized crime syndicates and individual clients as deniable assets to do various shady jobs.

Honestly, my knowledge of the setting is rather limited, and I would appreciate someone chiming in on it. From what I’ve seen of it, it feels that sometimes Shadowrun strikes gold in its design (like how it has literal lizard people dragons – a classic metaphor for greed and malice – essentially running the world through corporate proxies) and other times it’s content to just throw “awesome” concepts together (Magic! Cyberware! Matrix! Samurai!) with little regard to creating a thematically-coherent whole.

But anyway, apparently there are three relatively new RPGs set in this setting, and I’ve decided to check them out. They are… pretty solid, actually.

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Fate/Extra: Extra Clothes Are Not Included

Fate/Extra is an RPG taking place in a world alternative to the canon Nasuverse where mana has disappeared from Earth somewhere in 70s. As a result, magecraft has died out and former magi families reinvented themselves as spiritual hackers, people capable of using their magic circuits to “digitize their souls” and enter virtual worlds wholly rather than interacting with them through an interface. It’s kinda unclear what they normally do with that ability aside from playing virtual LARP games as the game takes place in a very special setting that probably doesn’t have an analog on Earth.

Specifically, we find ourselves on the Moon. There is an ancient computer beneath the surface built by unknown hands. From the dawn of humanity it recorded all information about Earth from the movement of tectonic plates to lives of ameba to thoughts and ideal of every single person. Its purpose is unknown, but what is known is that it hosts a modified version of the Holy Grail War to which all spiritual hackers who can find their way in are invited. Hundreds of magi would fight in an elimination tournament, and the last one standing would get their wish, any wish granted.

You are one of these magi. Prepare to get flashed.

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