Feb 13, 2015
Shadowrun: Dragonfall starts off great. Players are offered a bewildering array of skills and races to choose from. All of them are clearly described and it is really possible to make just about any character you like. Rifle toting elven dignitaries, dwarf computer hackers and troll mages are more than possible.
Shadowrun: Dragonfall is a tactical RPG. Combat is all about good positioning and flanking attacks, using cover and picking off enemies smartly. Using your party to support each other is essential and running in guns blazing will result in death in record time. The game is difficult and fans of X-com or other rock hard tactical games should settle in for a long tough campaign full of exciting tactical gameplay.
A robust help system also teaches gameplay concepts in a fast and simple way. The game’s branching dialogue system is loads of fun and the game is very well written with lots of funny moments and character nuances. The game has a real magic vs tech feel to it as guns exist alongside mages and totem sprits. Shadowrun’s world is vibrant.
Unfortunately, nearly every other aspect of Shadowrun: Dragonfall on Android besides the character creation and story is a dismal failure.
Even on the biggest phones on the market, like the Note 4, Shadowrun is the definition of unplayable. Fonts are completely unreadable. Interface icons are so tiny it’s difficult to press the one you meant to and characters and enemies alike are indistinct, vague shapes on the large 5.7in screen. There is no excuse for this whatsoever. There isn’t even a zoom control. X-com Enemy Unknown, a simular (much older) game managed to be playable even on the smaller S4 and it is even better on the Note 4. The sheer smallness of everything in Shadowrun makes it impossible to see what skills do, let alone coordinate combat in a meaningful manner.
Things don’t improve very much when output to a big screen either. There is still no zoom control and you still need to use your phone to control the game’s tiny, tiny interface.
Shadowrun: Dragonfall looks poor. The game looks a year or two old and the muddy textures, flat colour palette and microscopic size of everything make it a dull looking game to say the least. The game is also extremely laggy. It takes multiple attempts to get taps to register and movement feels very stilted. The sound is very flat. Unexciting gunfire and quiet, subdued spell effects add no atmosphere to the game at all.
Shadowrun: Dragonfall takes a great PC game with a great story, impressive writing, fascinating skill trees and interesting tactical gameplay and ruins it with zero mobile optimization, appalling performance problems and one of the worst interfaces seen in an Android game in recent memory. By all means buy it for PC, but stay far, far away from this unplayable port.