6 Things We Wish We Knew Before Starting The Shadowrun Trilogy

Based on the popular tabletop role-playing game, the Shadowrun Trilogy is a collection of tactical RPGs developed by Harebrained Schemes. The trilogy includes Shadowrun Returns, Shadowrun: Dragonfall – Director's Cut, and Shadowrun: Hong Kong – Extended Edition.

Each game is set in a fantasy and cyberpunk-inspired future known as the Sixth World, where players take on the role of a shadowrunner, contracted agents that act as mercenaries for the various megacorporations that run its crime-ridden cities. As one of those mercenaries, you'll need to be at the top of your game if you hope to survive long enough to make it big in the shady underworld. So to help you out with your next batch of shadowruns, here are a few tips and details worth keeping in mind.

6 The Trilogy Comes With Some Cool Extras

The first Shadowrun game by Harebrained Schemes was released in 2013 following a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. A similar Kickstarter campaign was also held for Shadowrun: Hong Kong. As part of both campaigns, rewards were given out that ranged from merchandise to additional behind-the-scenes material.

And while a lot of those perks were restricted to backers of the game, the deluxe bundle on Steam comes with some cool extras of its own. This includes official soundtracks for the first and third game, as well as an anthology of short stories for Shadowrun Returns and an artbook for Shadowrun: Hong Kong, both of which are fully illustrated. These add-ons really go the extra mile in helping immerse you further into the Sixth World and are worth taking the time to check out because of that.

5 Play The Games In Order Of Release

The Shadowrun Trilogy lets you hop into any of its three titles without mandating that you complete earlier ones first. And while it might be tempting to start with Shadowrun: Hong Kong, the most recent one, we strongly advise that you go by order of release.

This means starting with Shadowrun Returns, before progressing to Shadowrun: Dragonfall, and finally Shadowrun: Hong Kong. The main reason for this has less to do with any kind of logical story progression but rather the gameplay within the games themselves. There were quite a few quality-of-life improvements introduced in both Dragonfall and Hong Kong, so going back to Returns after becoming used to them might feel a bit jarring. Also, while each game does a decent job of introducing you to the world and its many gameplay systems, Returns serves as an ideal starting point for new players due to its relative simplicity.

4 Choose A Build That Suits Your Preferred Play Style

In the Shadowrun Trilogy, you get to play through all three games using a fully-customizable character. So even though the games offer to generate a character for you, creating one from scratch provides the best chance for fine-tuning further down the line.

During the character creation process, you not only get to choose what gender and race you’ll like to play as, but you can also distribute your karma points according to what archetype you would like to fulfill. For example, pouring points into Body means you'll be able to withstand more physical damage, while Willpower governs how much magical damage you can deal and defend against. The important thing you need to remember here is the need to specialize, so while it is possible to create a build that functions as a jack of all trades, you'll be better served with one that is more focused.

3 Consider Playing As A Decker

A Decker is anyone that can access the Matrix, a virtual reality representation that serves as the Sixth World's version of the internet in the Shadowrun Trilogy. There you can try to gain access to previously locked rooms, or even engage enemies in combat.

While playing as a Decker is not really a requirement, there are still a few instances where doing so is to your advantage. This is especially the case in Shadowrun Returns where you can't call a squadmate over to help you pass a Decking skill check during dialogue. This makes such a build an attractive option for those players that don't mind spending time in the Matrix or pouring the required points into Intelligence. Just remember to reserve some of those points for the skills you'll need to survive and navigate the physical world.

2 Avoid The Submachine Gun At All Cost

Shadowrun's blend of sci-fi and fantasy means that you'll be making use of contemporary weapons along with spells and magic. So expect to see a lot of familiar guns like shotguns, pistols, and rifles. Out of all the available guns though, the one that offers the least amount of utility is the submachine gun.

This is mainly because it has very poor accuracy at long range compared to the other firearms. It does gain back some use if you are the kind that prefers to get up close and personal with enemies. But considering how often you'll most likely be shooting at those enemies from a distance or the safety of cover, you'll be better served by using a rifle instead.

1 Don't Underestimate The Importance Of Charisma

The Shadowrun Trilogy often gives you multiple ways to tackle a given problem. For example, not all confrontations need to end with you blasting your way through a group of enemies. Players that prefer a more non-violent approach would be pleased to know that this is totally viable if you happen to have a way with words.

This is where Charisma comes in, the stat that governs how well you perform in conversations with other characters. Not only can this give you dialogue options and information that would be otherwise unavailable, but it can also net you other rewards as well, so you should definitely consider pouring any extra points you can spare into the stat.

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