I think perhaps the best iteration of shadowrun to date. Hackers finally integrated into the team. Alas the overall ruleset is still far too complex for my taste. Still it is great fun once you commit and wrap your head around the rules. Wish they had simplified hacking a lot more however.
Shadowrun 5th edition is an awesome setting with rules that are ridiculously complicated placed in a rulebook that makes everything difficult to find. It is extremely frustrating. The best way to learn this game is to play with people who already know the rules, because learning them through this book is very, very difficult. That is a bummer because the Shadowrun setting is fantastic. Who doesn't want to play an ork with a cybernetic arm that rides a motorcycle with a machine gun mounted on it? This game is worth playing, but be ready to spend a ton of time wading through the rulebook and googling answers to questions that you can't figure out. I have a Shadowrun 5e review and guide on my blog, Power Score.
Despite the jarring juxtaposition of genres in the setting and mechanics that look clumsy on cursory examination, this is a game that has stood the test of time. It has done so most likely because it encapsulates a particular feel of American-centred violent urban futurism, while retaining a number of traditional fantasy tropes that make gamers feel more comfortable about playing in it. Moreover, it has a richly developed game setting that continues to develop every year (and critically, keep itself updated!), while being very easy to create criminal orientated scenarios with. While not a game that I actually play all that much, truth be told, you have to respect its longevity and mass appeal: A game that defies genre conventions to make itself it’s own genre.
Well, I tried my best to contain myself during the review, but now I can freely admit I am absolutely thrilled by the new Shadowrun 5th Edition Core Rules. The SR5 core rulebook is not only visually stimulating, but is well-organized and a pleasure to read - and most importantly, comprehend. A great many of the changes made to the rules seem not only reasonable, but needed in order to create a more user-friendly game system. And although the lore has not had much time to evolve since SR4 came out, there are some “fluffy” new bits added to the setting information and background.
My expectations for this game were very high, and they were met...for the most part at least. The changes in this edition make sense and, while I don’t agree with all of them, a lot of it is nitpicky (why couldn’t they have kept calling it the “Chunky Salsa Rule” officially?). This edition looks and feels more like the Shadowrun I grew up with than 4th Edition ever did, and aside from the introduction chapter, I love the tone of the writing. The rules themselves are flexible enough to allow many different styles of play, from high-powered Prime Runner to street-level gangers. And with a few modifications, you can even use the rules to run games in different eras of SHADOWRUN (strip out Bricking, restrict gear purchases, and tinker just a bit with the magical traditions and you’ve pretty much got a set of rules that work for 2050s era play). There are a few missteps here and there, but none of them ruin the book or break this edition of the game.
This is a heavy book, and it's very pretty. The system seems daunting at first, but it's actually pretty straightforward and consistent. My only complaint is that there are more small errors and typos than I'd like in a book of this caliber.
Lots of editing errors. If they were corrected in future printings I would give this product 5 stars. It took a good 4th edition and made it better without putting too many new issues (like new editions seem to do lately).
First the good. Awesome world and background. Making a character is fun. Playing in the world is a blast. The bad, like all other Shadowrun games before it, the dice pool mechanics are a drag. Just bogs down too much with tons of dice. Otherwise a decent game.
Shadowrun 5th Edition has a great deal to offer fans of the franchise in terms of mechanical improvements, but newcomers will find a steep learning curve. As for non-fans like myself, it doesn't do much to win any converts.
Great read - rules mixed with some stories,nice artwork, sample characters - and a very easily understandable take on the world, even if you know nothing about it before.
Sure, the dice pool system stayed, and if you don't like it the game is probably not for you anyway. But for those ever wanting to try SR without being bogged down by the old rules, here's your chance.