Shadowrun: Hong Kong
|Shadowrun: Hong Kong|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux|
|Release||August 20, 2015|
Shadowrun: Hong Kong is a turn-based tactical role-playing video game set in the Shadowrun universe. It was developed and published by Harebrained Schemes, who previously developed Shadowrun Returns and its standalone expansion, Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut. It includes a new single-player campaign and also shipped with a level editor that lets players create their own Shadowrun campaigns and share them with other players.
In January 2015, Harebrained Schemes launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to fund additional features and content they wanted to add to the game, but determined would not have been possible with their current budget. The initial funding goal of US$100,000 was met in only a few hours. The campaign ended the following month, receiving over $1.2 million.
The game was developed with an improved version of the engine used with Shadowrun Returns and Dragonfall. Harebrained Schemes decided to develop the game only for Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux, so that they did not have to factor in the hardware limitations of tablets, as they did with their previous Shadowrun games. The game was released worldwide in August 2015. An extended edition, featuring a new campaign, a developer commentary, and bug fixes for the original game, was released in February 2016. The update was released for free for everybody who owned the original game.
The game features isometric graphics, with 3D models for characters.
Combat is turn based, with the player controlling the actions of their team followed by the enemies taking their actions. All characters can act based on their action point (AP). Characters start with a base of 2 AP per turn but can temporarily gain or lose AP based on abilities, spells or items used on them. AP is used on such actions as moving, attacking an enemy, reloading a firearm, or using a spell or item. Any AP that is not used by the end of the player's turn is forfeited.
The game is set in 2056, within the Hong Kong Free Enterprise Zone, a city which is effectively controlled directly by the corporations. Unlike the previous games, the player has a backstory tied to other characters. The player was once an orphan on the streets of Seattle, along with their best friend Duncan when they were taken in by a foster father known as Raymond Black.
The player travels to Hong Kong meeting with their foster brother Duncan, who had joined a private police organization known as the Lone Star, and his superior officer Carter. The three agree to investigate Raymond's mysterious message and noting that he has not come to the rendezvous, traverse through the docks looking for him before being ambushed by the HKPD. The four survivors manage to escape to Heoi, a small boat village built on the outskirt of the Walled City: an overcrowded, nightmarish slum built on the ruins of the old one. In Heoi, they go to meet their fixer, the Yellow Lotus Triad crime boss, Kindly Cheng, who grants them her protection in exchange for their services as runners. Since it becomes clear that the HKPF is acting on behalf of someone else, Cheng agrees to investigate who has been trying to kill them and what happened to Raymond.
As the game progresses, Cheng and the team finds out that Raymond was captured by an unknown man (referred to as 'Plastic Face Man' on account of his cyberware) on behalf of Josephine Tsang, the CEO of Tsang Mechanical Services and member of Hong Kong's ruling Executive Council. It is then revealed that Raymond is actually Josephine's son, Edward Tsang, and that he had worked with her to construct the new Walled city in the 2010s. During this time the nightmares the player suffers become increasingly disturbing, implying that something terrible is coming.
Raymond reveals that many years ago, he had learned to create devices that could manipulate qi; the force of magic and luck, noting that places predominant with positive qi would become prosperous with good fortune. During a refugee crisis in Hong Kong, Raymond and Josephine came up with an idea to recreate the Walled City around an enormous qi machine dubbed 'Prosperity' which malfunctioned. Despite Raymond's pleas, Josephine claimed that the device was too expensive to salvage, and the device was abandoned, and with the qi becoming even worse than it was, the Walled city devolved into a nightmarish slum. Edward eventually ran to Seattle, and lived his life under the name Raymond Black, before suffering nightmares related to the Walled City. Realizing that whatever entity that had broken the machine was now attempting to enter reality, Raymond had decided to return to shut it down himself.
After arriving in Heoi, it becomes clear that the astral entity is demonic Yama King Qian Ya: The Queen of a Thousand Teeth, and that she is the source of the nightmares caused as she breaks into reality to become ruler of the Walled City.
In the game's epilogue, it is revealed that the madness that gripped the Walled City was written off as the events of a drug lab accident causing mass hallucinations. With the machine destroyed, Josephine can no longer siphon the qi, and her company is eventually bought out. If the player had found evidence of her misdeeds in her headquarters, then she is arrested and sent to jail, where she later hangs herself. It is also mentioned that the player continues to operate out of Heoi as a shadowrunner without an APB on their head, now undisturbed by dreams.
Jon Everist wrote the score and also served as the audio director for the game. IGN praised it, saying "Good soundtracks aren't always good indicators of good games, but it's happily the case with Shadowrun: Hong Kong. The artistry of composer Jon Everist's work reveals itself in the opening titles, and maintains an atmosphere of subdued mystery through character creation and beyond - spilling over into the first conversations and battles effortlessly and memorably." The soundtrack for Shadowrun: Hong Kong was praised for its individuality and versatility, which combined an effective mix of traditional Chinese instruments with modern western orchestral and electronic elements. The score was also nominated for the "Best Original Score of 2015" by the popular game music website Video Game Music Online.
It has a score of 81% on Metacritic. Gamer Headlines awarded it 8 out of 10, saying "The combat, the dialogue, the music, everything that we have come to expect from a Shadowrun video game is in Shadowrun: Hong Kong." PC World awarded it four out of five stars, saying "Shadowrun: Hong Kong isn't the best RPG Harebrained Schemes has put out, but it's still a great game in its own right." PC Gamer awarded it 70%, saying "Regardless, Shadowrun Hong Kong is a spectacular story of deceit and poisonous evil that will lure you through the most indulgent settings yet seen in the cRPG renaissance. For the price, the scale is giddying, but Shadowrun is starting to cry out for innovation—these are new (quite excellent) assets and a fresh script retrofitted to a two-year-old game." IGN awarded it a score of 8.0 out of 10, saying "Shadowrun: Hong Kong doesn't sport many new elements, but it delivers an enjoyable tactical RPG experience nonetheless."
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