Publisher: Flying Wild Hog
Developer: Devolver Digital
Release Date: 9/26/2013
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Shadow Warrior was an FPS underdog in the vein of Doom and Wolfenstein. It was full of potty humor, gore, and cursing. While it didn’t sell as well as Doom or Duke Nukem, it had a large enough following to get a sequel. Shadow Warrior is a highly entertaining shooter with a decent story and the same funny dialog is intact.
You play Lo Wang who is a mercenary working for a Chinese warlord. He hears of a magical ancient sword with a lot of power. Through his trek, he runs into demons and has a demon ally named Hoji who helps you through your journey. The story mainly focuses on where these three sword pieces are and what the deal with Hoji is. It’s pretty interesting, but nothing fantastic. It’s actually pretty disjointed until towards the end. The game is all about action and there’s plenty of it, but by the halfway mark the game gets really dull.
The game gives you new weapons and things to do very slowly. There are 17 chapters in this game and it feels a bit long-winded. You start out with your sword and a revolver which is fine at first. The guns handle very well and the guns are fun to shoot. Your sword is actually more powerful than you think and you will use it often. Slicing enemies into bits is a lot of fun and feels satisfying. While you’re killing demons you get scored based on how you killed them and multipliers come into effect. Once you finish a wave you are rated a total of 5 stars, but I could never get 5 stars no matter how hard I tried. I honestly don’t even know how the scoring system really works. When you’re not fighting demons you can explore old-school style and search for secrets. However, Shadow Warrior has implemented an upgrade and power system. You can use KI Crystals to upgrade your powers such as a shield, shockwave, and push attack. Honestly, I felt these were useless and I never used them. The only useful one was the healing power. Karma points are used to upgrade your skills such as stamina, healing, swordsmanship, and protection. Then you can use the money you find to upgrade weapons.
All this sounds great, but it takes forever to accumulate enough money to upgrade all your weapons. It was pretty annoying realizing that 10 hours later I couldn’t upgrade everything despite searching every nook and cranny for money and secrets. That’s not the only issue here, The game uses the same 6-7 demons over and over again until you start seeing them in your sleep. Some are hard while some are super easy. They look cool, but after about 3-4 chapters I got tired of seeing them. It doesn’t help that it takes so long to acquire all the weapons in the game. The final major issue is the repetitive and boring level design. You have to run around opening doors and flipping switches which gets really boring. It doesn’t help that all the levels start looking the same. At least there are fun easter eggs. Arcades are spread throughout the game with Hotline Miami, Serious Sam, and Hard Reset. The Serious Sam one has famous quotes from the game which are funny. There are secret areas with throwbacks to the old game and Lo Wang will comment on this. There’s even a fun easter egg in which you kill enough rabbits to get a black rabbit that attacks you with Serious Sam battle music playing.
However, the game is just a lot of fun despite its repetitive nature. The game looks fantastic though with great DirectX 11 visuals and high-resolution textures. The effects look great, but I would have liked to see it in varied environments. As it stands, Shadow Warrior is an entertaining weekend playthrough but nothing more. There’s some charm here that makes you want to keep playing. Mainly because the game is balanced just right and the shooting mechanics are solid. After your first playthrough, you won’t be visiting this one again.