Saturday, 26 September 2015

Shadowrun Hong Kong: Addendum

As the blog's description says; this is stuff that didn't make it into my Shadowrun Hong Kong video, either due to a lack of time or just plain forgetting (or because I was worried it'd lead into a long-winded ramble).

Protagonist's Background
So HK has a slightly more defined background for your player-character than the last two games.  In Dead Man's Switch, the only things that were nailed down was that your character was betrayed on a run against Renraku that went south and you're returning to Seattle for the first time since that night, while in Dragonfall all that was nailed down was that your character was fluent in German and worked with Monica in the past, but never met her current team.

In Hong Kong, they defined things a bit more for your character.  Firstly; your character and Duncan both grew up in the Redmond Barrens in Seattle before being taken in by Raymond Black.  He got you and Duncan an education, got you out of the slums, then eight years ago you left, the reason is up to the player but it ended with you being thrown into a corporate-run prison, a full-on blacksite with no communication with the outside world.  You were only released because the company that owned the prison was bought out by someone else who decided to save some money by closing the place down and giving you some money to compensate for your incarceration.  You travel to Hong Kong because Raymond contacts you for the first time since your imprisonment and asks you to meet him at the Kowloon docks.

It was a surprise to me, as it makes Hong Kong the first time your character isn't actually a shadowrunner prior to the events of the story.  I've seen mixed opinions on that; some people are like me and are happy with it while others feel like it's restricting the narrative side of your character a bit too much.

Voiced Cutscenes
The game also has hand-drawn animatics with voice-overs.  If you've played any of the Homeworld games, they're much the same as the between-mission cutscenes there.  Otherwise you can just find a Let's Play of the game on YouTube - there's one right at the beginning of the campaign, actually plays before character creation so you shouldn't have to wait too long for it.  I'd actually suggest against watching a Let's Play too far unless you're happy with spoilers.  There's a moment in the first area that loses a lot of impact if you don't know it's coming.  Not gonna say any more or I'll ruin it in the exact way I'm wanting not to.

Goblinoid Character Models
Anyone who's played Returns or Dragonfall probably noticed that Gobbet and Duncan, the two ork companions, were both very slim compared to the orks in the earlier games.  This was one change I was very glad to see as I hated how top-heavy orks and trolls looked in Returns and Dragonfall, especially as the artwork from the tabletop game show them with much more human-like proportions.  This motivational poster actually uses artwork from the 4th edition core rulebook - one of the pre-gen example characters, an ork gunslinger adept - and that's how orks normally look in the Shadowrun artwork.  Well... okay; this one's a particularly-attractive one but you get my point.

Either way; I was glad to see that orks and trolls looked more like they did in the source's artwork.  Worst bit of the old models was how a lot of them had mouths that looked like their teeth were growing straight out of their lips, which is something I've never seen in any Shadowrun artwork.  Humanis would probably have more traction if all orks and trolls were that ugly!

Dialogue Quantity
I think I mentioned this in the video, but just re-iterating it here to be sure.  There is a lot of dialogue in SR: Hong Kong and there's even a long thread on the Steam forum for the game titled "Why is this an interactive novel?"  I don't think I need elaborate on the thread creator's opinion when he gave it a title like that.  Personally; I think it's got a decent amount, none of the conversations seem rushed and I always felt that the conversations you could have with your teammates in some other RPGs (like Mass Effect or the KOTOR games) ended just as I was getting into it.  That being said; I can see why some people might find it to be too much dialogue.  I'm quite a big reader so I actually like having this much stuff to read.

Funnily enough; I think I recall a thread making the exact same complaint about Shadowrun Returns - which had a hell of a lot less dialogue than Hong Kong - not long after that came out.

So I know I took a while to get this out after the last video and that it's taking me a while to get another video up and I'm sorry for that.  The issue is that my videos normally end up so long that it can take anywhere from six to ten hours to upload and I don't like leaving my computer on overnight if I can avoid it.  Combine that with the monthly cap on our downloads (and that I think uploads count to it as well) and you can see why I'm trying to stagger my uploads.  There's also only one day of the week that really works for uploads and that's Thursdays - it's the day I'm at home the least thanks to work and the local wargaming night so not having internet access at home doesn't really bother me.  Thankfully I've got other arrangements (which I won't go into here) that means I'm not leaving the computer on all day in an empty house but if I haven't got a video edited and ready to go by Wednesday night, then it'll be another week at the earliest before it's uploaded.

I'll make exceptions if the finished video file is only about 2.5GB - that can usually be uploaded in just six hours or so so I can start it before work and it should be done by the time I get home, but with how I ramble on sometimes that's not guaranteed.  Hopefully having this blog to fall back on'll help me keep video lengths reasonable so I can upload them any day.

The next one is planned, but thanks to discoveries I've made since I recorded it I'll have to do it over again.  Not too happy with how the commentary on the old version turned out anyway - kinda focused too much on the game's mechanics over how it plays and I left out some very important considerations you should take into account before buying it.

Anyway, see you guys in the next video.  Hopefully it'll be as bloody as the title'll imply.

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