I admire the scope and unity of vision that went into creating this game. William McAusland did it ALL himself: writing and art. It's comprehensive in the best tradition of core RPG books -- this volume contains everything you need to play the game.
I've been reading sourcebooks and playing RPGs since the late 80s. Here's my detailed feedback:
== THE GOOD ==
- Comprehensive overview of character creation options, equipment, hazards, creatures and encounters, treasure, etc.
- VAST character creation options: human, mutant, "ghost" mutant (think X-Men -- they look like regular people but...), cyborgs, human clones, Bladerunner-esque bioreplicants, transhumans (homo sapiens DNA but upgraded -- people 2.0), beast men in about 40 different flavors...
- Classless system: you start with a caste, which dictates the character's background, skills, and wealth. From there on out, skill and attribute progression is based on experience.
- Detailed combat rules
- Creatures: OMG the creatures! Instead of a static stats block like D&D 1.0, nearly every creature encountered has a chance of offensive or defensive mutations that drastically affect combat and their deadliness. Humanoids like the lowly skullock (the goblins of the Mutant Epoch world) can't be taken for granted -- is this just a bog-standard critter, or one with psi mutations who's somehow acquired a relic assault rifle and a bag of frag grenades? Once your players learn how little they can take for granted, it creates MUCH more tense combat situations...
- Support: Outland Arts offers a free starter adventure and a load of additional opponents for free. Paid supplements include a few comprehensive adventures, a couple of gazeteers (to date), a handful of smaller adventures, and a magazine. There's lots of support.
== THE BAD ==
- Organization: there's no streamlined character creation process that puts all tables and bonuses in the same place. You'll find yourself flipping back and forth A LOT during character creation.
- Lack of context: there's a TON of material about the world the characters find themselves in, but not much information about stitching it together. This leaves the GM loads of latitude -- but also requires purchasing a supplement if you want your campaign to fit cohesively into the larger world McAusland has established.
- Technology: the level of technological development in the fallen world isn't clear. There are self-aware androids and laser pistols, for example, but no rules for lower-tech items like tritium night sights or reflex sights etc. Again, GM's choice to create these items, but savvy players will definitely be interested in them.
- Power differential from start-up: depending on the luck of your starting character rolls, you may start with an escaped slave infested with fleas and still wearing his shackles, virtually worthless except for bait. Or you may start with an infiltration bioreplicant assassin, capable of 3 knife attacks per round. There's more swing in character creation than in all of Count Basie's work, so if your players don't like randomness, you'll need to house-rule some levelling mechanisms to keep your starting characters approximately equal.
== THE BOTTOM LINE ==
This game is CRAZY fun. I totally dig it and everyone I've introduced it to responds well. I can't recommend this game highly enough for PA fans or people who wonder what the world of Shadowrun would be like if civilization collapsed.
Three (mutant, mildly radioactive) thumbs, one tentacle, and one prehensile tail up!
[5 of 5 Stars!]