THIS IS AN UPDATE TO MY ORIGINAL REVIEW!!
After a year of play and running a couple of Red sessions myself. here is the rundown: this game is streamlined but vague and inconsistant about information and the book during play is a pain. it looks like cyberpunk, but it feels like a generic sci-fi game set in a dark future.
first positives: Netrunning is really fun! played a Netrunner and he was a blast to play, and it was simple and easy for my GM to run my character through the Net. it kept things interesting and my players kept an eye out for electronics for my Netrunner to jack into.
Combat is streamlined and it's cover mechanic is either you're in cover or not. i have mixed feelings about cover, because even when we tried partial cover it was difficult to call what worked. it is still just as deadlly but i would argue its not as deadly say, CP2020 where there's a hit location die to roll. Red has no fumble charts however for damage die rolls if you roll 2 nat 6s you do additional damage and give a critical injury. in a second game, my Nomad nearly died because of it.
alright so that's where the positives end, and i wish i could say this is the best Cyberpunk game, but it's both confusing and inconsistent with it's presentation. the book is poorly laid out, a lot of information is all over the place, and an appendice i feel will fix that issue, but there isn't one. next, combat is streamlined but it isn't as dynamic as say CP2020, and i don't want to compare to 2020 but there is a difference and you feel the difference. you have a move, minor, and standard action. the list of actions are limited which is kind of bizarre. maybe we read the rules wrong? maybe it's more dynamic? the rules aren't clear.
this is more of a personal nicpic, but a lot of the items are soo generic, there are in game world ads in the book, yet the weapons and armors aren't by a specific corporation? there is a way to convert weapons and armor from CP2020 to Red, but it kind of defeats the purpose if your current line up don't have much standing out. even the exotic weapons while brand names they're not over the top or even that exotic.
it is my theory, that they written the PDF format first before the book, because it feels like that. this game maybe with more supplements will make it better, but as it stands, it's just a cyberpunk for the 5e crowd. yes it's easier to understand, but how is it you don't have examples of specific skills and such that a GM or player can understand? too many times my gm had to stop the game to look up if a specific skill can work for a specific task, or was unsure if the chosen skill was correct. it's really weird. its not a bad game, if you enjoy it, great, but the criticism of it being a generic sci-fi game that's called Cyberpunk are valid as well.
would of run Cyberpunk Red again? maybe, if i were to run a Cyberpunk game, i probably would run a frankenstein game of Cyberpunk 2020/red game to fix some major issues. it is a good game, but if i were to recommend this or 2020, for beginners Red, then add 2020 for more unique styles and such.
[3 of 5 Stars!]