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Shadowrun: The Way of the Samurai $4.95
Average Rating:3.8 / 5
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Shadowrun: The Way of the Samurai
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Shadowrun: The Way of the Samurai
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/09/2013 16:13:17

The Way of the Samurai, while I was not overly thrilled with the in game universe framework for this, the mechanics are all solid. With new advantages (available only to the cybered), cybernetic suites designed for street samurai, and some new cyberware (revamping the old booster reflexes and new arm blades) and the archetypes -one for each race using the rules included here- are good and useful, even if they use art recycled from the first edition, which I found nostalgic more than anything else, though I miss the original character write up for the Ork street sam.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Way of the Samurai
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Robert E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/21/2013 03:00:13

While this product was okay, i was a little disappointed by it, it that while it did provide a number of new assets, it did pretty much nothing else. Yes, there is a little fiction and there are a couple of new bits of cyberware, but considering this is a Street Sam book, i'd have expected far more NEW cyberware (not just cyberware packages) and actual new gear (guns, armour and stuff) which is absent despite the product info suggesting there is new gear in the book.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Way of the Samurai
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Stephen M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/19/2013 00:14:01

I have a lot of players in my game who build cybersex characters, so I was really looking forward to this product. Perhaps that anticipation is one of the reasons I was so disappointed with it. The initial fiction seems very forced and didn't appeal to me in the slightest. The Suite options give lots of ideas even if they might not get picked up by PC's. I was personally hoping for more augmentations myself. The sample Samurai felt very recycled, using the art from 1st and 2nd editions. I might be more impressed with them if I hadn't been playing this edition for so long. Definitely the worst supplement I've bought so far but from my own experience with Shadowrun products, this is an anomaly thankfully.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Way of the Samurai
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/17/2013 18:21:45

A large of part of this product will be managing the expectations at the table. According to the JackPoint post which introduces this book, the Options line will be some play-tested experimental rules that aren’t sanctioned in tournaments and may not suit everyone’s game. It’s recommended that you talk with your GM before applying these rules to your character.

As such, the usefulness of this title can be extremely varied.

The product is laid out with a longish piece of fiction at the front (good stuff, featuring Saber – remember him from ‘Dirty Tricks’?), and then leading into a JackPoint discussion led by Slamm0! About a new MMO from Ares. This premise acts as the vehicle to discuss a few of the archetypes commonly found among Street Samurai, with usual sniping, one-upmanship and good humour.

The rules section gives you a single Edge for each archetype; only characters with an Essence of 2.99 or lower need apply. Honestly, the Edges are useful, and I can see players wanting to build characters around these. The next section kits you out with cyberware packages from a range of suppliers, and concludes with some sample NPCs based on each application. It was nice to see the artwork from a couple of SR2 products being re-used in this section, but really, I do question whether the information was all that useful.

I may be missing the point here, but to me this reads like a long gaming article. Yes, there are interesting and useful pieces of information, but you could make the fiction more succinct, drop the stats at the back and you’d have a standard gaming magazine article with some optional rules (which is what this series is). You get this for $4.99, and whilst the concept is good, the price point isn’t. I’d prefer to see a range of roles in SR4 treated to this, but in a more streamlined and aggregated format. A short sourcebook with a range of Options (like White Wolf’s Mirrors series) would be a great format to pursue, and I feel, give more value for money.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Way of the Samurai
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/13/2013 10:13:40

Presented in the atmospheric style of the 'Jackpointer' series (looking like something found in the murkier corners of the net), the content of this book begins with a rather overlong piece of fiction, a bunch of 'runners shooting the breeze in a bar, and then some online chatter about pirated pre-release videogame expansions before getting down to the biz: a selection of Qualities than may be taken by any character - but particularly those of a street sam or other combat-oriented persuasion - provided, and here's the rub, that their Essence score is 2.99 or less due to augmentation. (Other ways of lowering Essence don't count, it HAS to be augmentation!)

Many sound quite useful, and provide appropriate mechanistic advantages along with providing a focus or rationale for the direction in which you are developing your character. These are followed by some new cyberware suites, which are decidedly interesting. If you fancy being hyper-aware of your surroundings, splash out on the Cerebrotech/Crystal Optics Clearseer Suite, or you may prefer the Spin-X Olympian Suite which is mainly aimed at the pro sports market but will serve just as well for enhancing your street presence. If you need to access the inaccessible, consider the Mitsuhama Spidersuite, which has apparently proved popular with rescue workers as well as climbing and spelunking enthusiasts. There's plenty more as well, the neat part is that all were originally developed with legitimate uses in mind but could well prove advantageous to 'runners on the streets.

Next there is a couple of new pieces of cyberware - boosted reflexes and an arm-blade implant - that might give you an edge, and finally five fully-developed street sam archetypes including an elf of Japanese heritage as well as an ork, a dwarf, a human and a troll. Play them as is, or mine them for ideas to develop your own characters.

It's good to see material for street sams, often somewhat disregarded as the 'muscle' to whom a few bones in the shape of weapons get thrown: here's a whole supplement of material for them.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Way of the Samurai
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Kyle W. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/12/2013 23:50:39

The Way of the Samurai presents options for making your Shadowrun game more inclusive of Street Samurai. If you run campaigns like I do and find that the majority of your players shy away from cyberware and bioware in favor of having physical adepts, it really provides some nice new benefits. I'm a fan of seeing Boosted Reflexes again, though their high essence cost and lower performance makes them pretty soundly budget-grade cyberware rather than a low-Essence cost solution for a mage who wants another initiative pass like their role often was in prior editions.

As far as the new qualities go, they're heavily focused on giving characters a bonus for a sort of archetype; they require certain cyberware but give a benefit to certain abilities in return in addition to the user's already augmented abilities. Unfortunately, a lot of these have except-if clauses with a lot of cyberware enhancements, so they tend to go unused (fortunately, the most egregious of these have alternate options so someone who buys one for one of the two reasons still can choose something for the other).

All-in-all, the fluff and art was great, and the content had some interesting decisions. I'm not entirely sold on some of the new cyberware packs, but they still provide a good baseline for newbies trying to figure out what they want who weren't satisfied with previous options.

There's some iffy decisions here, in my opinion, but nothing that goes from the realm of slightly redundant (for instance, 2 box pain resistance unless someone already has pain editors-for the tank-style quality bonus for an augmented person seems likely to be of little use; or effects that duplicate the Krav Maga martial art to the point of referencing it) into the realm of actually problematic. Personally, as an avid gamer, I loved the fluff section where Slamm-O introduces the stuff, but that may be a subjective judgment. Some of the qualities have unique functions not found anywhere else, but that somewhat endanger balance (such as the Sharpshooter, who gets a Take Aim enhancement that could redefine the way players approach things in a good or bad way).

In short; good, not quite stellar, some of the qualities could leave players wanting something more than what they can get elsewhere, the minimum essence requirements seem redundant with the need for two pieces of appropriate cyberware on most of the new qualities,



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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