The third game in the Shadowrun Trilogy, Hong Kong will take you to Kowloon Walled City and the outskirts of Heoi, filled with dazzling lights, colorful characters, and plenty of new shadowruns to keep you occupied, all against a backdrop of intrigue and mystery.
This campaign adds even more on top of what you'll have experienced in the previous campaigns. There are more weapons and spells to experiment with, a new, revamped version of the Matrix, and a team of five characters to get to know. If it feels a little bit overwhelming, don't worry - we have some great tips to get you started.
Best Mission Order
Just like in Dragonfall, after the first introductory missions, you're given pretty free rein to tackle the next missions that open up in any order you want. At first, you'll be given access to three missions: The Dig, Outsider, and Bad Qi. More missions will unlock after completing any of these, but it is highly recommended that you follow this order when tackling these three missions specifically:
- Take on Outsider immediately. It's a pretty chill mission that involves you solving a murder and it's quite easy to get through it without encountering combat altogether. In addition, you can recruit a new party member here.
- The Dig is another pretty easy mission - there can be some tricky combat encounters but you can grab some great loot from it.
- Bad Qi can be a very annoying mission, leave it until you have some more experience with your party and have developed your build a bit.
As for the other missions, you can take them in any order you like, for the most part. However, note that some missions are personal missions, with some special circumstances revolving around them:
- Misdirection is a regular mission but is closely linked to Racter's storyline. He will be less likely to chat with you until you complete this mission - take him in your party.
- DeckCon 2056 and Retribution are Is0bel and Gaichu's personal missions, and will also make those characters focus on those missions.
- The Sinking Ship is Gobbet's personal mission, unlocked when you enter Gobbet's room to find that she's missing. Gobbet will be unavailable for any other missions until you complete this mission, so do it ASAP if you plan on using her.
Hybridize Or Specialize
Hong Kong is very generous when it comes to Karma rewards. Most missions offer multiple ways to get bonus Karma and the missions themselves often reward between eight and ten Karma each. This gives you a lot of room to experiment with builds, whether you want to create a hybrid or a total specialist.
- Hybrids will be able to do more things in battle but may fail to equip the best spells or weapons as soon as they unlock.
- Specialists will be able to pull off great feats but will rely more on their teammates for the skills they don't invest in.
Whatever you choose, it's beneficial to plan out your build early in the game so you can spend your Karma wisely.
Speaking of spending wisely, when it comes to money, Hong Kong is pretty tight. You won't get nearly as much nuyen in Hong Kong as in previous campaigns, so it's important that you make sound purchases.
Here are some tips for making the most out of Hong Kong's reluctance to pay you:
- Try to stagger your upgrades - you will not need to buy every single rank of every weapon or spell. For example, consider waiting until you have access to Powerbolt III or Acid Bolt III to upgrade your main spell, instead of shelling out for the second rank.
- If you're not a Decker yourself, take Is0bel on every mission possible. She can jack into the Matrix and acquire paydata that can be sold at your mission computer.
- Stick to a rule of only buying things when the shops upgrade. This way, you won't be caught short with no money to buy things when the shops eventually do get better stock.
- Only buy equipment and items for your allies if you really need to and want to - they can operate completely fine on their own.
Sleep In Your Bunk
You'll get the optional task to sleep between the majority of your missions. To do this, head to your bunk in the safeboat before taking on another mission.
Doing so will give you more insight into the curse of the Walled City, something you'll need to know to get the best ending.
The Matrix Has Changed
The Matrix segments of Hong Kong are vastly different from the ones in Dragonfall and Dead Man's Switch. They now incorporate stealth elements. While they can be brute-forced with combat, this is a risky move and will make your life significantly harder. There is also a hacking minigame that you'll probably want to learn how to play pretty quickly.
Once you have access to the safeboat, it's possible to recruit two characters immediately. It's best to do this as soon as you can, as you'll then be able to unlock their personal storylines and thus, their personal missions, quicker.
- To recruit Racter, simply head to the decks below and talk to him. Eventually, you'll get the option to ask him to join you. He's a Rigger with a pretty impressive Drone.
- To recruit Gaichu, take on the Outsider mission. Once you've found the culprit at the end of the mission, forgive him and recruit him. Gaichu is a melee fighter with a highly adaptable playstyle.
It's highly likely that you'll want to invest Karma into your Charisma stat to unlock Etiquettes - they're fantastic for exploring the world and securing greater rewards from dialogues, after all.
With just three ranks in Charisma, you can take the three ranks necessary to acquire a Totem power - just six points of Karma invested into Spirit Summoning necessary.
In Hong Kong, a few new Totems were added that, instead of giving you an active skill that you might never remember to use, will provide a permanent, passive buff. Of note are the Boar and Cobra Totems, which provide 15 extra HP and more damage and accuracy, respectively.
Speaking of Charisma, you'll run into the Etiquette problem in Hong Kong yet again. There are so many to choose from and it's impossible to know exactly how useful they'll be until you actually play through the game.
Never fear, we have some top-tier recommendations:
- Security and Socialite come up quite a few times and provide alternative, easier ways to complete certain missions. It's probably only worth taking one of them.
- Shadowrunner will help in situations that aren't covered by Security and Socialite. You'll also get to learn a lot of lore and background information with this one.
- Academic comes up more than any other Etiquette but is almost exclusively reserved for coming off like a smarty pants and learning lore. It's interesting, but not all that mechanically useful.
There are a few high-level Charisma checks later in the game that are very beneficial to pass. They'll require a whopping seven Charisma to pass, but it's worth the investment. A very easy way to get that level of speechcraft is to level up to six Charisma normally (getting three entire Etiquettes on the way) and purchasing the Tailored Pheromones bioware for an easy +1 that doesn't even cost any Essence!