Sometimes, a classic game gets released to a newer audience and proves itself all over again. Shadowrun Trilogy accomplishes just that by offering layered, engaging systems that allow for player freedom and choice. The game uses its tabletop origins to create an engaging world that has so many satisfying details for players to discover. The combination of traditional fantasy and science fiction serves to make every strange interaction you have with any character unique while implementing a tactical element to combat that rarely loses its shine throughout the trilogy. While each game has a main storyline to follow, players will find themselves lost in everything else. Most of the side quests players can find offer a deeper look into the larger Shadowrun universe, and the colorful cast of characters with their wonderful quirks will keep players doing anything but what they're "supposed" to do. Adding to that sense of discovery are all the meaningful dialogue options and skill-based actions, making the world and characters feel like dynamic pieces of a bigger puzzle.
Beyond the well-written stories and characters, of course, is stellar tactical gameplay. In addition to being able to choose from a variety of classes and archetypes that change the moment-to-moment gameplay drastically, players will also have plenty of options when it comes to interacting with the surrounding environment as well. While players can absolutely choose to be simple run-and-gunners with little else to back them up, there's also the option to be mages, shamans, and hackers. Hacking, specifically, is a treat as it's possible to hack into a "matrix" and manipulate the level to access new areas or stop enemy reinforcements from getting to your party. Throughout the three games, there's a good sense of pacing when it comes to the action vs. the layered, well-written stories featured. The only thing that brings the trilogy down is the fact that its middle entry, Shadowrun: Dragonfall, is easily the best of the bunch, a perfect distillation of the trilogy's best qualities. Shadowrun: Hong Kong, while a worthy end to the trilogy, doesn't quite hit the highs of its predecessor. But all in all, the Shadowrun Trilogy is the best the tactical RPG (role-playing game) sub-genre has to offer, and for fans of the intensity and close calls of these sorts of games, you'll feel right at home here and then some.