Today I joined a Shadowrun group I had seen advertised at my LGS. They were playing the 4th edition, which I am not familiar with. (I played plenty of SR3 in college, though) I went with a friend of mine who also plays in my weekly AD&D game, as I don't like to go blindly into these sorts of things by myself.
The group seems nice enough, if a bit noisy. The GM complained of a schism with his other group, which plays a different game on Tuesdays. (Which conflicts with my own game, so I shan't be checking them out)
I had forgotten how exhausting it is to make a character for Shadowrun. The most agonizing stretch of the creation process is the enormous shopping list of gear every Shadowrunner has to buy. About an hour after reading through character creation stuff, I decided to just play one of the templates provided in the book (the Occult Investigator, for those of you playing at home.)
Mechanically, SR4 seems to be cleaned up quite a bit, though the game is still far crunchier than my tastes run these days. I will still give it a shot, but I'm not sure if this will end up being a long term thing for me. I was somewhat irritated to see that a system of Advantages/Drawbacks, much like that of GURPS and Savage Worlds, is now an inherent part of the game, which leans the game in the direction of the "build" mentality that I so dislike. In the previous edition of Shadowrun, advantages/drawbacks were an optional rule introduced in a supplement. I'm not familiar with any edition older than that, so I can't say for sure if this is really as recent as I think it is, but I still think it adds an unecessary level of fiddliness to an already fiddly game.
More than anything, tonight made me year for the days of my old SR group, though all of us have been scattered to the four winds, and a reunion is almost astronomically unlikely given our various life circumstances.