Browse Categories

Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer $4.95 $3.32
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Kyle W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/31/2013 11:08:24

Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer. It's not bad, but I'm reviewing it harshly. Most of this is because of two major reasons: Catalyst is a really, really, good company most of the time, and The Assassin's Primer just feels average and "meh". It's not that it's bad, but the practical uses are limited at the actual tabletop, and it's not their best work.

First, let's look at the focus of The Assassin's Primer. It boasts "A gun and a handful of new qualities", which is somewhat exciting as it is an early extension to Fifth Edition, but it's not really anything to get too excited over. The gun is the venerable SVD, statted out to be an extreme low-end sniper rifle for the everyman. It feels like it doesn't fill a niche, though, and it seems a little unrealistic were we to actually look at the gun statistics; the SVD may use a standard assault rifle round, but I sincerely doubt that it's going to be doing 10P where a sporting rifle is doing 11P; the sporting rifles are likely the case of inflation here. The qualities are interesting, though two of the five are essentially the same thing, but with religion or nationalism respectively driving an assassin's actions. The other qualities balance certain elements of a character to make them better in certain situations and worse in others.

Second, let's look at how useful it actually will be. While it provides an interesting in-setting glimpse, this isn't the sort of thing that I care to get a supplement for, especially since there's a lot of Shadowrun literature available and this doesn't really touch on any important changes in the timeline. In this sense, it's a little redundant, but a good introductory piece and probably something worth taking a look at. However, it explicitly states that one of the good approaches to an assassin may be to treat him like a mage or hacker and just give him separate tasks that pertain to the mission, something that taxes an already GM-intensive system further. Most of the advice that pertains to a hitman is just the general Shadowrunner rules of the road applied with twice as much rigor, which isn't too unexpected nor is it particularly enlightening.

Finally, the production value is actually what brought this down from a four-star rating to a three-star one in my mind. Shadowrun's always been one of those games with a really solid feel, so imagine my dismay when the first thing I see is Arial. I don't have anything against the font, but it's just not Shadowrun. To be fair, this is an easy fix, and could simply come from having been transferred to a machine that didn't have the proper font installed, and most people probably won't care about it, but it just put me off from the very get-go. The same page-topper is used on every page (which would probably bother people more in print than in digital, but it's the sort of thing I look for), so facing pages would have an identical and highly distinctive appearance, which really devalues the feel of the work and art.

So, in short; it's perhaps misdirected, doesn't offer anything new, and has some major issues, but for a newcomer to Shadowrun it might provide a valuable insight to the setting, and it does provide a couple new list entries, even if they're not meaningfully different from other things.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
pixel_trans.gif Back
You must be logged in to rate this
Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer
Click to show product description

Add to Order

0 items
 Gift Certificates