Sitrep: Isometric Killin’ is the Best Killin’ (or: Why Does Nobody Cater to my Niche Desires Anymore)

Shadowrun Returns

By on August 29, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Turn-based games are the rad. Says me. Been saying it for a looong time, too. Lot of peoples agree. In fact if you ask me when I’m drunk I will tell I was the human Kickstarter behind Firaxis’ seemingly abrupt decision to retrofit XCOM: Enemy Unknown smack-wham in the face of 2K Marin giving the exact same franchise the FPS treatment. Show me where the progress exists without the protest, guys. Cool line. I stole it from one of Dead Letter Circus’ new tracks. They probs wrote it about me anyway (hic), so I will never stop singing for things: Now bring back isometric killin’, because it is the best killin’.

Playing an (iso)metric ass-load of Shadowrun Returns has reminded me of this. I love this kind of gaming. Love it. All my all-timers roll this way: Baldur’s Gate. Planescape: Torment. Fallout first and son of first Fallout. It doesn’t even have to be turn-based necessarily, although that is the preferred methodology of gamers such as me who are easily distracted by things such as cerulean automobiles. Remember Commandos? WHAT A GAME.

This is what I don’t understand about isometric’s fall from grace: When did it happen, and why? Actually, that’s an easy one and I’m just in denial: the consoles killed it when they became the dominant force on the gaming planet.

I can’t think of a solid isometric game either on my PS3, or my crappy Xbox 360 that I hate to death because it’s an asshole machine. The irony of being awoken to this reality by Shadowrun Returns is to suddenly recall that one of the best games ever released for the SNES was the Australian-made Shadowrun, circa 1993. It was isometric as hell and totally ballin’. So why no more iso?

A popular position is that “first-person is the most immersive and that’s why it’s the thing, so up yours Toby.”  That is popping cock and mouldy gash. There is no other reason than vidya commerce for the crushing of alternative viewpoint lifestyles beneath the FPS boot. Same old story. You need a mouse to go isometric, be a real man. None of this beta male control pad 1,000-mile hitbox stuff. Thus the only joy to be found in this arena is on the PC nowadays, which goddamn poos me off because alt-tabbing out of a hentai visual novel to expend AP on some ganger’s static butt totally ruins the menacing flow between me and Suki the bashful secret deviant.

The horrible thing I realised is that this probably won’t ever change and isometric games will probs never come back into vogue. That is sad! Because console rubes fear the glory of the mouse it may only happen on the same fateful day we can control games with our minds, I suppose, and unfortunately it’d take a super-successful console game to get the iso-ball rolling again. God I hate them and how they oppress my niche gameplay desires.

I would absolutely settle for a flat-chat remake of the original SNES Shadowrun, though, which is actually what I thought Shadowrun Returns was gonna be. Do that and I’ll go away. Until I’ve finished it. Then I will come back with all my unprofessionally worded hipster-gamer rhetoric and burn great fires of +9,000 dmg all around until Bethesda really surprise everyone.

11 comments (Leave your own)

Glory to the iso turn based, and glory to you good sir.

The best console iso turned based strategy I played was front mission 3 on PS (Original) Man that game was good.




“Bethesda really surprise everyone.” Bethesda were very clear that they never want to touch Isometric games because they believed that first person games were more immersive. So that rules out that ever happening.

I do agree with a lot of the article though. There should be more of these games.


What about Dead Nation, the only good isometric zombie game!

How could you forget Dead Nation‽


I’m working on an isometric shooter right now, if that’s any consolation. There’s some screenshots Here if you want a look.


I can’t wait for more Shadowrun Returns campaigns to come out, I must admit.

Also love the Dead Letter Circus reference. What’s your fav song of the new album Tobes?


Yeah, Dead Nation was pretty good.

I too love isometric games. I thought the new XCOM was disappointingly action-oriented, however.

I have long yearned for a Syndicate type isometric game made with modern technology. And now I’m getting one…

Now, Fallout. I have tried to play Fallout 2 about 20 times and never last longer than an hour or so. It is… frustrating. And confusing. And not much fun. And I love love love games of that era, including isometric, turn based games of that era.

Toby McCasker




Yup, one of my favourite Genres.
Dunno about them becoming a dying breed however;
Wasteland 2, Project Eternity, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Divinity Original sin, Dead State, Satellite Reign, Warmachine: Tactics, Chaos Chronicles, BlackGuards, The Banner Saga, UnderRail (Finally got Greenlit today!), Jagged Alliance: Flashback, Massive Chalice, Forsaken Fortress, Liege.. I’m pretty content at the moment’s upcoming releases…
Damn I shouldn’t really back that much, no way I’ll have that much time.


Heck I’m playing Eschalon Book 2 right now in preparation for Book 3. Definitely life in turn-based isos – you just have to not be such a graphics whore.


I’m also a big fan of Isometric, Syndicate was probably my first and been a fan of them ever since, Fallout 1 & 2, Planescape, Arcanum etc etc.

Nox wasn’t bad either even if the camera rotated.

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