Shadowrun 2050 is an outstanding sourcebook bringing back the zeal of the game's first edition with modern rules and sensibilities. Included are fluff chapters explaining the Sixth World in 2050, with meaty sections on Seattle, Chicago, and Hong Kong, a section describing typical activities of 2050 shadowrunners, followed by plenty of information on 2050 equipment and systems.
The book has top notch production values. The art matches the mood writers convey and the layout is easy to follow.
Much of the book is in-character (therefore opinionated) information conveyed through the Shadowlands BBS. Old favorites of the Shadowrun setting return to give new opinions and another perspective on the early Shadowrun setting. The book has two primary setting chapters: "The Knife At Your Throat," and "The Darkest Shadows." These chapters cover the Sixth World setting in the year 2050, and provide an indepth look at the cities of Seattle, Chicago, and Hong Kong. There's a lot of story hooks for storytellers, and plenty of cool in-game ideas for players, making these sections a great primer for new gamers. Information on power players, megacorps, even local government means there are endless organizations to run against.
The "Help Wanted" section gives another in-universe look at how runners interact on the Shadowlands BBS and describes situations they're involved with. It's a really fun read, but lacks game play substance. Most of the ideas presented are not something a mediocre storyteller couldn't come up with on the fly.
The sourcebook finishes off with NPC stats, a detailed equipment section, and a look at the Matrix in 2050. Mechanically, it's what we've come to expect from Shadowrun 4e and Catalyst Game Labs - there's a good amount of crunch and it's much more balanced than what we've seen in the past.
Shadowrun 2050 is a solid book of fluff and crunch, well worth your jing. The sourcebook contains everything you need to play during this period of the game, and it's got enough fresh ideas to fit into anyone's Shadowrun collection.
[5 of 5 Stars!]