Expert System Programs are a special type of program that allows a decker to "summon" an additional actor to aid them while jacked into the Matrix. ESPs behave much like shamans' spirits: They can only be summoned during turn-mode and despawn when the Matrix returns to freemove. They have special abilities and move independently of the decker, but vanish if the decker is dumped from the Matrix. However, they cannot break control like a spirit, nor is the ESP item consumed permanently when used - it remains in the decker's physical inventory and can be loaded again the next time a decker jacks-in; use this to your advantage for large Matrix segments. Much like spirits summoned from the environment, an ESP's attributes and damage are influenced by the decker's ESP Control skill.
There are six types of ESP in Shadowrun Hong Kong, and while generally less useful than in the Dragonfall or Returns Matrix, they can be used as cannon fodder and distractions for enemy ICs.
|Assassin ESP||A very low IP score makes this ESP a poor meat-shield.||Assassinate: A single target high DMG program, similar to Killer.||750|
|Attacker ESP||A well-rounded ESP with decent IP and attack powers.||Tar Bomb: An AoE damage program with a single round Root effect.||750|
|Bruiser ESP||A melee-ranged ESP||750|
|Firewall ESP||Firewall: An underwhelming Barrier program that can help direct enemy IC movement.||750|
|Kamikaze ESP||Very low IP score, but a well timed summon can be a game changer.||Explode: An AoE explosion that destroys the ESP but does ongoing IP damage to all targets in the respectable blast radius.||750|
|Shield ESP||Decent IP score, but poor damage output.||Shield: Reduces incoming IP damage on friendly target. Excellent for low-end cyberdecks.||750|
Because it requires investing in the ESP Control skill, many players find they are better served by saving the karma and money and simply improving their Decking skill and cyberdeck. Hong Kong's focus on stealth in the Matrix and the random placement of ICs when combat is triggered makes ESP less viable in much of the game. However, being able to offer a horde of ICs and enemy deckers other targets when you trigger an Trace alert can be persona-saving. YMMV.