GAME REVIEW | Thrice the Mayhem & Hilarity in Latest "Shadow Warrior"
When it comes to brutality and silliness, no one does it better than Lo Wang. Yes, the hero of the Shadow Warrior franchise may be a dick-talking smart-ass, but that’s part of his charm! Hell, I’d even go so far as to say that Lo Wang’s filled the hole that Duke Nukem’s left barren for far too long. This is evident in Flying Wild Hog’s third foray into the world of Shadow Warrior, another prime example of how to properly do old-school linear shooters in the modern day!
We start off Shadow Warrior 3 with Lo Wang telling a story. He’s been trying to deal with a massive dragon (or wyvern, as he claims it to be) that’s been wrecking havoc of his surroundings. That’s when his former employer/bad guy/sidekick Orochi Zilla appears, and tells Lo Wang that there’s a way to defeat that big flying lizard. However, it’ll mean having to partner up with dangerous foes, including a certain dead god whose mask Lo Wang’s in possession of.
With his trusty katana and any gun he can find lying around, Lo Wang takes on the most fiendish of beings to roam the vicinity. These enemies come in droves, in ways that will make fans of the recent DOOM games a little shaky in the knees. Fortunately, while Doom Guy has his cold-hearted strength, Lo Wang’s got nonstop humor to keep his quest going. As he cracks jokes in spite of the chaos, our hero slays vicious yokai, sometimes with a song in his throat!
It’s this aspect that keeps Shadow Warrior 3 an all-around good time. Much of the combat here can be overwhelming at times; in fact, it dizzied me here and there to the point of having to take a couple of breathers. However, thanks to Lo Wang’s sense of humor and no-fucks attitude, these moments of wanton violence are cushioned to the point where one can’t help but smile, even when death is near. It also helps that Lo Wang’s got a couple of new toys at his disposal.
One such thing is the grappling hook, a new doohickey that makes Lo Wang start singing a certain web-slinger’s theme song. Going from grappling to wall-running brings a real rush to the action of the game, as the first-person shooter easily makes you feel like you’re Lo Wang himself taking to the air. It’s a new element that helps to make the overall action a delight, especially when one uses the hook during an intense battle.
Not only can you use your blade and guns to fight, but you once again can deliver some killer executions to the yokai. Even better is that some will leave you a little something extra to make the battle a little more easier, such as freezing powers or — as I referred to it as — a big fucking mallet! When these are placed in Lo Wang’s hands, the chaos he throws at enemies can be satisfying to watch unfold. It especially helps when dealing with some of the newer enemies that you’ll come across in Shadow Warrior 3.
From giant drilling moles to killer jack-in-the box behemoths, these new foes will no doubt make you work for your victory. When it’s just one to deal with, it can be all right to handle. But having to deal with more than three at once while fending off the lesser yokai, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for trouble. Even on the easiest of settings, these demons will give you one hell of a whooping, to the point where it can feel nearly impossible to clear the area.
Although it’s not at the same level of insanity as DOOM Eternal (whose first level I haven’t even been able to beat as of this writing!), Shadow Warrior 3 isn’t some walk in the park. You’ll find yourself having to repeat areas many times because of a misstep or due to an overwhelming amount of enemies trying to kill you at once. Things start off easy enough, but once you dive deep into this monster, you’ll risk drowning in either yokai blood or your own. This is certainly a game for veterans of the first-person shooter genre, as newcomers will no doubt throw their controllers down in frustration after dying for the umpteenth time!
Thankfully, Lo Wang’s latest adventure is more fun than frustration. On top of its over-the-top violence, it has one of the best control scheme’s I’ve seen in the genre today. Switching between guns and blade is a cinch, as well as swapping weapons and initiating the grappling hook. The only time where it can be a pain is when you are required to do constant wall runs and hook swings, as I’m certain many will time their sprints or double-jumps wrong in some places.
This is also Flying Wild Hog’s most gorgeous game to date! Not only does the gore look good and bloody, but the worlds you traverse in are easy to get lost in. There are areas that made me stare at the great detail for a few minutes, be it something like a massive statue or even the architecture. Alas, you can’t destroy EVERYTHING in this game, something I attempted to do when coming face-to-face with big sculptures and carvings.
Beating Shadow Warrior 3 will take you roughly five hours to complete, a short time for a first-person shooter. Thankfully, there are a couple of modes you can experience besides the main campaign. New Game+ gives you all of your upgrades and weaponry right at the get-go, a mode that’ll help take care of earlier tough pests with some ease.
But if you wanna be a true tough guy, then you can give Heroic Mode a shot, which has you play the game without either saves or checkpoints. If you die, then you’ll be forced to go back tot he start of the chapter you’re on. It’s a mode that true masochists will enjoy, as I found myself dying one too many times in the main game for me to even warrant a try!
- Nonstop bloody action
- Hilarious dialogue
- Beautifully gory detail
- Difficulty spikes quickly
- Chaotic elements might make some dizzy
- Short campaign
Shadow Warrior 3 delivers more of what fans have loved of the past series. You’ll be wowed by the violence, laugh at the jokes, and even be in awe of its gorgeous scenery. Lo Wang may have bitten off more than he can chew in this adventure, but he’s a hungry man in need of some juicy carnage! Now who do I have to fondle to get a Shadow Warrior/No More Heroes crossover to happen?!
Promotional consideration provided by Thomas Schulenberg of Tinsley PR. Reviewed on the PC via Steam.