Now I know what you're thinking:
Henshin, my god. How could you allow the travesty that was Shadowrun 2007, the anti-Shadowrun, into a coveted spot among your un-tradeables?
And you'd be right to question. The late Fasa Studio and Microsoft Game Studio's well-intended attempt at a groundbreaking first person shooter got lost in its own shuffle, when they decided to flex the Shadowrun license at the same time. Not the best plan. The game came out touting a few unique features and a decent experience, but the essentials...the je ne sais quoi of Shadowrun was missing, and it cost them.
However, Shadowrun is completely worth owning and keeping. And here we go with why.
1) It's cheap.
I had a nice long conversation with a friend about how a game's quality and it's price can have very silly relationships. A game like Shadowrun is perfectly acceptable as a team based shooter, but when the game came out it demanded sixty bucks. Like Section 8 before it, it's a team-based shooter without a single player to speak of. Section 8 went a step further, actually naming their hero character and trying to imply a narrative beyond the manual and tutorial. So here we have a game that's sixty dollars out of the gate being sold for a fiver and change, and it feels worth it! Map packs cost more! When a three map pack costs twice as much as a full game, it may be times to consider how much bang you're getting for your buck. Five bucks can go a long way, and Shadowrun proves it.
2) It's fun
The game is not half bad. The engine feels tight, reminding me of Halo at its best moments. And by best moments I mean popping Enhanced Vision, teleporting through a wall to blast on some fools with an SMG, teleport down through the floor switching to your Katana only to be caught in a web of Strangle crystals, torn apart by a Troll and his mini-gun. Then add in grenades, more tech, more spells and even four races to pick from. Suddenly it's not just a shooter, it's a madhouse. The action in Shadowrun feels unique. The usuals (sprinting, jetpacks, shield, invisibility...) have been replaced with magic and tech equivalents and then some. Rolling with a good team means stacking up some great traps, resurrecting your fallen team mates and really taking advantage of how Shadowrun's powers and tech can futz with a battlefield. You won't mind the lack of story, the game's got some serious chops without it. Now it just needs DLC/A Sequel.
3) The community
Confession: I recently bought Shadowrun. I've played it before, yeah, but never owned it. And it was a vibe that I got about the game prior to playing it, that caused me to realize I had to own it. My good friend Chris and I were speaking and he told me about how good Shadowrun was, despite the stigma it received for being a crappy Shadowrun game. I thought back...and realized he was right. When it clicked it did click, and I should give it a spin again. I picked it up with Portal 2 and boom, I was hooked. In the first three games I played online, I met someone named "PlayShad0wrun" and had a lengthy discussion of tactics and builds with some veteran players. Another player remarked that he had seen another player in previous games before, knew he was a regular. I never have that kind of experience in Reach, Black Ops or other AAA titles. And with a five buck price of entry, maybe I can snooker some of my buddies into picking it up so we can roll. There's people playing it, there's games being found. I can't get a game of The Darkness to save my life, or Fracture, or any of those obscure little 3rd/1st person actions we loved for a minute a lost forever.
PS: I didn't address the obvious issue with this game, that it has little in tone or feel to do with what we, the true and "entitled" fans, want from a Shadowrun title. We want GTA + Blade Runner. It should be so simple, but no one has done it (I'm working on it, be patient). And this game didn't deliver. For that great, Shadowrun experience go play the Sega Genesis Shadowrun (1994). But do not discredit Shadowrun 2007 for being a bad game because it's simply no a bad game, discredit it for being a bad use of license and move on. The fact it is a bad Shadowrun game has nothing to do with the fact I'm going to keep it around. It's a better experience for five dollars than I'm sometimes dropping sixty for, and if Microsoft had two cents in their heads they'd at least let some friggin' interns churn out some new levels. Case closed.