Out This Week

Shadowrun Returns

Shadowrun Returns Again

In this week’s releases, a beloved cyberpunk game gets back to its roots, and Charles Grodin comes clean about his past.

By Drew Toal • July 23, 2013

Out This Week is a look at a few new games that are out this week.

Shadowrun Returns
PC—July 25

This isn’t the first time Shadowrun has returned. The 1993 Super NES adaptation of this cyberpunk-themed tabletop role-playing game was one of the era’s best. The amnesiac Bosworth lookalike Jake Armitage must uncover his past and the identity of the person who wants him dead, before he gets dead. (I’ve heard the Sega Genesis Shadowrun, which has a completely different plot, is also excellent, but I haven’t played it myself.) Based on this pedigree, I had pretty high expectations for the 2007 Xbox 360 version. After about an hour with that stillborn abomination, though, I swore off ever again letting myself get excited about future returns of Shadowrun. Fortunately, my solemn vow allows for cautious optimism: Hairbrained Schemes and Shadowrun creator Jordan Weisman Kickstarted a new version that looks pretty great (and also allegedly ties together the SNES and Genesis plots.)

The Raven: Legacy Of A Master Thief
Mac, PC—July 23

Speaking of burgling legacies, has anyone else wondered just what became of Charles Grodin’s character following The Great Muppet Caper? The one who tried stealing the coveted Baseball Diamond? Barring a belated sequel, the world may never know if Nicky Holiday eventually paid his debt to society or just ended up with a rusty shiv in his neck following a dispute over toilet wine vintages. Grodin did, however, come clean some three decades after the movie’s release about his personal, offscreen relationship with a certain porcine bombshell. “‘Um bada umba da,’ she began to wail, twirling this way and that,” Grodin recalled of Miss Piggy. “Suddenly the framed Life magazine cover of the Muppet Miss Piggy was in her arms, as she quickened her beat. I stared, transfixed at her. It was one of the most erotic displays I had ever seen.”

The Smurfs 2
Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360—July 23

With the release of a second Smurfs movie, it’s only a matter of time before the insatiable Hollywood locust swarm looks beneath the waves for inspiration. I am, of course, referring to The Snorks, Hanna-Barbera’s underwater Smurfs knock-off. Picture this: Snorkland, circa 2015. Governor Wellington Wetworth is embroiled in a Snork-on-Smurf sex scandal. His son, the dastardly Wellington Wetworth Jr., uses the controversy as an opportunity to assume dictatorial power. Supreme Snork Wellington Wetworth Jr. solidifies his rule by executing known dissidents Tooter Shelby and Dimitris “Dimmy” Finster. The only one who can stop this attack on Snorkocracy is the heroic Allstar Seaworthy, but ever since the tragic tilapia accident that took the life of his love, Casey Kelp, Seaworthy is a clamshell of the Snork he used to be. Can he conquer his personal demons and rally the remaining Snorks to overthrow this tyrant, or will he crawl back into his bottle and let Snorkland drown in flames?

NASCAR: The Game 2013
PC—July 24

I wouldn’t mind starting a Gameological NASCAR league, where writers and Gameologerinos alike split into racing teams and settle our differences on the ovaled circle. I call Miller High Life as a sponsor. Who’s with me?

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51 Responses to “Shadowrun Returns Again”

  1. Jackbert says:

    You just know a licensed game is going to be great when it’s being released on a system whose successor has been out for two years, and not being released on the successor.

    • George_Liquor says:

      Yeah I thought that was a typo, but it really is being released for the DS. Looks like it’s being developed by WayForward too, which gives a tiny glimmer of hope that it won’t absolutely suck. 

      • Chalkdust says:

         A Smurfs platformer developed by WayForward.  I’d… play that?

        Also, I just found out they’re doing a Regular Show game!

        I would also like to mention for 3DS owners that the Mighty Switch Force games are some delightful download-only platformers of theirs, which I do verily recommend.

        •  The Smurfs 2 is actually kind of OK, maybe perhaps? It’s shamelessly modelled after Rayman Origins, with four player co-op, but without the same level of care, passion and polish. The level design is bland and simple, it’s a little ragged around the edges, but as platform games for little kids based on horrible movie sequels go, it’s not as terrible as you’d think. HIGH PRAISE.

        • Mr. Glitch says:

          WayForward has some very talented designers on staff; I wish they’d get away from cranking out crappy licensed games. 

          Speaking of WayForward, Shantae was released for the 3DS Virtual Console just last week. It’s one of the best, if not the best Game Boy Color game. 

        • Uncle Roundy says:

          I imagine it’s a Pixar-type situation, where The Smurfs 2 is the Cars that allows them to make the good stuff, your Shantaes and Mighty Switch Forces and whatnot.

          Shantae is a very good game that is a little overwhelmed by its own ambition. There are a lot of blind falls and cheap shots; it’s a bit tougher than it should be, especially in the beginning. Still, I highly recommend it if you have a 3DS, as carts on eBay are prohibitively expensive, and outside of the Zelda Oracles games I’m hard-pressed to name anything better on the GBC myself, particularly w/r/t platformers. Risky’s Revenge, however, is much better, much funnier, and more well-rounded. I’m looking insanely forward to Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse (at last, my dream of playing as Risky Boots will come true!).

        • Chalkdust says:

          @Mr_Glitch:disqus @uncleroundy:disqus Damn, guess I’m buying more stuff on the 3DS store today!

        • Matt Koester says:

          Wayforward is one of those developer like Telltale, High Voltage Studios or Vicarious Visions where I like the idea of them more than their actual output. Probably because I’m really bad at their games. 

        • Chalkdust says:

           @mattkoester:disqus Vicarious Visions, really?  The others I understand, but VV, I only know them as “the people that make the handheld versions of games I’d rather play on console”.  What specifically from them?  I’m curious what I’ve missed.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Hey Jack, if you haven’t seen this already, check out the trailer for the first Persona 3 movie: http://kotaku.com/all-your-friends-are-back-in-this-new-trailer-for-the-p-868598593 Yukari! Junpei! Mitsuru! Akihiko! =D

      • Chalkdust says:

         Yay!  Hey @CaspianComic:disqus, Luke Plunkett stole your article idea!

        • caspiancomic says:

           Whoa, what the fuck, he actually kinda did!

          …sort of. I feel kind of gross about it, but I don’t think Plunkett deliberately plagiarized my article or anything. Maybe he read it? Or maybe this is like a Leibniz/Newton Calculus sort of situation?

        • PaganPoet says:

          The articles are similar, but I prefer caspian’s. It’s a lot more analytic and, frankly, articulate.

        • Chalkdust says:

           @caspiancomic:disqus Probably the latter, in all honesty, unless you really want to believe Kotaku contributors lurk on your webpage!  And yes, @PaganPoet:disqus, I too prefer Caspian’s as it is more academic in tone and fuller.

        • caspiancomic says:

           Cheers there buds. It’s probably just a coincidence, but it is a little spooky. Does imitation still count as the sincerest form of flattery if it was accidental?

  2. The_Helmaroc_King says:

    Well, after the Steam Summer Sale, I’ve spent a total of 102.41 USD in the store and 10.77 USD in the market. Anyone else have any hauls they’d like to brag about?

    And a word to the wise: if you’re looking to sell your summer trading cards on the market, you may be able to get a better price if you hold out for a little while. The market was saturated close to the end of the sale, for obvious reasons, but as the supply gets bought out, prices should climb. The only unknown factor is how much demand there will be in a few weeks time, which makes it a riskier proposition.

    • ItsTheShadsy says:

      I mostly cleaned up on weirder smaller stuff during this Steam sale. I need to try Surgeon Simulator 2013 still, but I already feel like that was $7 well spent.

      I think I picked up more during the GoG sale actually.

      • NakedSnake says:

        Is it weird that I feel bad that I spent more on Steam’s sale than GoG’s? I guess I always feel like I’m rooting for GoG, but I just use Steam a whole lot more.

        • ProfFarnsworth says:

          I did the same thing.  I am also waaay more supportive of GoG, but Steam seemed to have more selection for me personally.

        • ItsTheShadsy says:

          I’ve been the same way, spending much more on Steam than GoG… but this recent sale sorta pushed that for me, as well as GoG’s decision to stock more recent indie games in addition to classics.

    • George_Liquor says:

      I had to make a concerted effort to steer clear of the Summer Sale, lest I add to my already-enormous pile of unplayed games.

    • Fluka says:

      $17 for XCOM and Alpha Protocol!  I held strong!!

      Technically $47, actually.  But that includes a purchase of BioShock: Infinite for a friend who had no internet access during a flash sale in exchange for $30 in cash.  It was an emergency.

    • Jackbert says:

      $30.73 in the store. Football Manager 2013, X-Com: Enemy Unknown, Half-Life 2: Episode 1, Surgeon Simulator 2013, and McPixel. I actually haven’t spent any actual money on the market; only purchasing things with the money I make from selling trading cards. Mostly I’ve been selling cards from games where I don’t want the badge to buy cards for games where I do want the badge. But yesterday I did a bit of flipping, which is buying cards for below market value and reselling them at market value. I made 28 cents, enough to buy the penultimate Hotline Miami card I needed for the badge. Hopefully this doesn’t become an obsession. -flips another card-

      • The_Helmaroc_King says:

        While the prices make it a low-risk venture, actually flipping any trading cards is much more effort than I’m interested in putting in on the market. It also requires finding cards for below market value, and quite frankly I’m not sure how people go about that (or if they’re just lucky).

        On top of that, I’m a completionist, so I’ll be trying to get all the badges I can for as little money as possible. I might be able to snag some free cards from some friends of mine, but they don’t always play the games I do.

        I did get one booster pack since the trading cards were added; neat, but I’d be waiting a really long time if I was completing badges that way.

    • CNightwing says:

      I got all the CK2 expansion packs for absurdly low price, and BGEE, because apparently you can’t get it elsewhere any more.

    • Merve says:

      I spent under $10 in the summer sale. I nabbed Thomas Was Alone, Bastion and its soundtrack, the Wheels of Fury DLC for Sleeping Dogs, and the Time Gentlemen, Please!/Ben There, Dan That! double pack. I was also generously gifted a copy of Just Cause by the super-awesome @jpouliot:disqus.

    • Enkidum says:

      The Binding of Isaac & DLC, Endless Space & DLC, Civ 5 & DLC, Darwinia/Multiwinia/DEFCON/Uplink, Super Meat Boy, Surgeon Simulator, Left For Dead 1&2, and, uh… You Need A Budget, which I really don’t any more because there’s no money left to budget. 

      About 65 bucks all told, I think I got away reasonably well.

    • CrabNaga says:

      I picked up BioShock Infinite for $30, Brave New World for $20 (was that a mistake on Steam’s part? All the subsequent Civ V sales during the Summer Sale did not have it discounted), Don’t Starve (barely played so far) for like $7.50, Reus (also barely played) for $5, Monaco (played a bunch) for $7.50, and Chivalry: Medieval Warfare (havent even installed) for around $6. So that totals to about $76 and only minor shame.

      • Matt Gerardi says:

        I nabbed Chivalry also and got super into it for a couple of hours late last night. It’s still a really rough product, but it’s so damn goofy that I can’t help but love it. Nothing is better than sprinting at another guy with your battle-axe out and pressing that battlecry button.

    • Roswulf says:

       Stayed under the $10 mark with Bastion and New Vegas w/DLC.

    • NakedSnake says:

       I spent about $60, which I feel pretty good about. About the price of one premium game, and I got a shitload of stuff I’ve had my eye on for a while, including The Walking Dead, Thomas Was Alone, Anodyne, Don’t Starve, and Civ V. Counts as a win to me.

      P.S. I was thinking the same thing about the summer sale trading cards. Can’t get any lower than they got anyhow.

    • Uncle Roundy says:

      I got To the Moon, Starseed Pilgrim, and Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe for $9.67. More than enough to last me a while.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I must have spent around $70-80. The games I bought were pretty much all 10 bucks or less and while I bought a few of them, I also had about 10 bucks from selling trading cards before the sale.
      One or two games were weird investments that paid out quite nicely. I would never have thought I’d enjoy the slogging minutia of Euro Truck Simulator 2, but there we go. The highlight of the sale for me, playtime-wise, was Kerbal Space Program, which is a terrible, frustrating mess, but has moments of extreme elation. Landing my probe on “Mars” was pretty rewarding, despite being the 8th attempt.

    • Matt Koester says:

      I bought Walking Dead and a TF2 name tag.

  3. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    If he hopes to have any success in bringing down Wetworth, the first thing Allstar has to do is kick his massive coke habit.  He’s not entirely to blame, though.  With that giant straw leading straight into their brain, Snorks are veritably engineered for narcotic abuse.

  4. Boonehams says:

    The video game based the first Smurfs movie was a Just Dance-style game, and boy howdy, you haven’t lived until you’ve pumped your arms like an idiot to “Who Let The Smurfs Out?”.


    • Boonehams says:

      True story: I rented this game as a joke for my girlfriend and to this day, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen her as mad as when I postponed our movie-watching time to show her this lark. She usually never swears, but the stream of consciousness-like cussing that came out of her mouth while watching me dance to this game astounded me.

      • Enkidum says:

        I’m glad this didn’t happen IRL but it would have been a kind of awesome story if that led to the destruction of your relationship.

        • Boonehams says:

          *whisky bottle in hand*


  5. ferrarimanf355 says:

    NASCAR 2013 is from the guys who did Ride to Hell: Retribution. Just saying.

  6. Dave Dalrymple says:

    Speaking of Smurfs video games, Apple has recently refunded four thousand pounds that an 8-year-old girl racked up in purchases in the “Smurfs’ Village.”

    In-app purchases by children seem to be a hot-button topic in the media today. CBC ran a consumer warning story as well.

    I was worried that this might lead to a stupid panic, with a blanket ban on micro-transactions, but I came across an Australian report that was released Friday on mobile games. They don’t recommend any new regulation. They found that existing consumer protection laws are sufficient to combat any apps that target children directly, and that public education will be enough to help adults protect themselves.

    • NakedSnake says:

      If there was a moral panic that was advocating for banning micro-transactions, I might jump on the bandwagon.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Once my kid tried to buy something and left the log in screen up (I have my iDevices set up to prompt for all downloads/purchases, regardless of duration of time between transactions). When my iPad prompted me the next day to confirm my password, I thought nothing of it until $99.99 disappeared from my account.

      Apple refunded it and now there are no in-app purchases on any of my connected devices. It also helps stop me if I ever have the impulse to buy in-game Fun Bux. Just having to go change the setting takes long enough for me to come to my senses.

  7. uselessyss says:

    I don’t know why it hit me in this particular instance, but isn’t it weird how “stillborn” is now used so casually to describe underwhelming or underdeveloped media?

    I mean, I’m sure I’ve used the word in the same way at some point, but for some reason reading “stillborn abomination” to describe a video game struck me as…. I dunno, a little disturbing? Or something?

    I’m not judging the Honorable Mr. Drew Toal or anything – it’s just weird how we can use words like “stillborn” in contexts so far removed from their immediate meanings.

    On-topic, I’m really interested to see how the new Shadowrun game turns out.

    • NakedSnake says:

      Best not to think about it. On a related note, I refuse to buy any product that is babyshit brown.

    • Marozeph says:

      Hm, would “DOA” (as in “Dead on arrival”, not “Dead or Alive”) be a better term? The original meaning isn’t pleasant either, but i’d argue it is a little less disturbing.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

       I usually use that word when talking about Silent Hill 3. And that’s about it.

  8. Chalkdust says:

    In other news the F2P martial arts MMO Age of Wushu is introducing forced castration as a gameplay mechanic.

    Among the new factions and schools being added to the game is the “Rootless Clan,” and they’re not rootless because they’re nomadic: It’s a clan made up primarily of

    There are three ways a player can become part of the clan, which in case it needs to be said is designated as an “evil” faction. Male characters who train the “Sunflower Manual” to level 25 will automatically be sent an invitation; players may obtain a “recommendation staff” which will allow them to enter the clan as long as they’re willing to undergo castration first; or they can be forcefully castrated by a gang of Rootless Clan members.

  9. Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

    I was really thinking that by this point in the tablet age, sucky tie-ins like the smurfs would be so much more profitable on portable devices that they’d stop clogging up the console catalog.  But I guess kids will still buy anything.  Stupid seven year olds, what with their lack of appreciation for finer gaming experiences (that shot at 0:12 though kind of makes me wish for a Smurfs city-builder.  That could be fun, especially with all the specialties already established in the mythos).

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      The greatest abomination is that Wreck-It Ralph garbage. There should have been a premium quality kart racer for that one. The best one you can find is a flash game on the official web site.