Remember earlier this year when I said, “Dragonfall is the campaign [Shadowrun Returns] should’ve shipped with from the start.” Okay, maybe you don’t remember, but I swear I said it.
Well, a lot of people must’ve felt the same way because Thursday, Harebrained Schemes released Shadowrun: Dragonfall as a standalone product, so those who just want to play the expansion can do so.
Dragonfall threw away the original Shadowrun Returns campaign and started you off fresh in Berlin anyway, so you’re not missing anything. You’ve got a new crew of “runners,” which are Shadowrun’s mercenaries for hire, and you’re ready to delve into some corporate espionage… before you’re tasked with, of course, saving the entire world.
Yeah, it’s pulpy, but the writing is top-tier as far as video games are concerned. As I wrote back in March, “Dragonfall is as morally gray as a slab of Berlin concrete. This is real cyberpunk: Dubious deals made in the shadows, with only personal ethics to guide your hand.” If you haven’t played it yet and any bone in your body enjoys isometric CRPGs, I don’t even know why you’re still reading this.
But if you have played it, what’s new? Why bother with the Director’s Cut?
Well first of all, this new standalone iteration of Dragonfall adds new alternate endings and a total of five new missions. Three I’m particularly interested in help flesh out the backstory of your team members—I got a brief demo of one at PAX Prime that explored Glory’s past, and it was disturbing to say the least.
Increased focus on side characters also manifests in new options for the player. You’ll get a chance to influence how your team levels up, what skills they focus on, and what items they bring on missions. This should maybe help solve some of the frustration of “I love this character but hate their skills and never want to bring them along,” though I haven’t dug in and experimented with it yet.
The combat system gets an overhaul, adding in a new armor mechanic, and the entire user interface has been redesigned in subtle ways, though you’d probably need to compare screenshots side-to-side to notice the differences. It looks clean, though.
It’s a decent piece of content overall, though obviously more attractive to people who’ve never played the campaign. Keeping that in mind, however, Harebrained has made the Director’s Cut free to all existing Shadowrun: Dragonfall owners (so check your Steam library) and only $15 for newcomers.