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Shadow Warrior Review

With the early success of first person shooter games like Doom and Wolfenstein 3D it was inevitable that there was going to be a lot of play-a-likes, all looking for the same attention gained by those classics. Some made it, like Duke Nukem, capturing the same awesome action with some much needed humour whilst others seemed to of slipped through the net, with only a few PC fans remembering them at all. One such game Shadow Warrior was very much in the same vein as Duke Nukem, over the top action, cheesy dialogue, oh yeah and a little racism to boot. So in the age of re-masters and reboots, rather than avoid this potentially dangerous title, Flying Wild Hog have taken all of the negatives and put them aside, creating from the ground up a new Shadow Warrior experience, but what can we expect from a game some 17 years old?

Well props for the game for essentially cheating and grabbing my attention in the first few moments; no it was not the visually subpar introduction scene but the intro song, the rock sounds of Stan Bush with his killer tune The Touch sending shiver down my spine, the main character Lo Wang also enjoying and singing along. Hired by a large corporation, Wang is about to make an offer for a rare and mystical sword with a local Japanese businessman in his opulent country hideaway. Being refused the sale of the sword things go from bad to worse for Wang, not helped by his rather smart mouth and you are soon cutting swathes through an abundance of Yakuza style henchmen, With your sword skills able to deal with most assailants Wang seems to be the winner but the swords owner has an ace up his sleeve as he is in cahoots with a demon of immense powers. Knocked unconscious, as Wang awakens all hell has broken loose, literally, with demon spawn tearing through the complex; with too much to take on even with his mighty skills Wang is soon in serious trouble and only a deal with the strange masked demon who is equally as smart mouthed is Wang able to survive and so begins a mad rush to locate the sword and unravel the mysterious that surround it. 

Though presented as an old school first person shooter Shadow Warrior does things a little different, for starters the main weapon is your sword, a very satisfying experience enabling you to slice and cleave through most foes, lopping off limbs and decapitating with bloody ease. If all else fails there is also a huge repertoire of other weapons to fall back on, each as violent as the last and having their own effects on certain enemies, like a shotgun and crossbow plus an assortment of grenade style weapons like a demons heart that kills all in the vicinity, all easily able to quick swap thanks to a handy radial menu that stops the action as you decide what to unleash on the spawns of hell next.

Also thanks to his partnership with the demon there are also plenty of other more powers available to unlock, some add to the sword masters repertoire, others add more mystical powers. It is here that the game does become a little cumbersome as to trigger these moves requires either a double tap in a specific direction followed by a trigger button or easier but still a little annoying a directional swipe on the touchpad before unleashing with another shoulder button. It does take time to remember all the combinations and it does get frustrating at times as you really do need these powers, some becoming mandatory at certain points just to survive like the shields, casting with the left hand and leaving the right to use another weapon, dealing with large crowds with relative ease.

With the majority of weapons being picked up as the story progresses, all of the special powers and skills are unlocked by either earning Karma by keeping your killing skills interesting or by collecting Ki Crystals. Via the menu system you can scroll between Ki powers and skills that will help keep Wang alive that little bit longer. Even the weapons you collect are upgradable with cash collected; adding more to what could have been a straight forward shooter and encouraging the player to wander around to find hidden areas. As though essentially a corridor shooter like the games this was based on, the lands you visit have a very open feel to them, not only allowing plenty of space to dish out the pain but they also hide plenty secrets to uncover but this does come with its own problem in that at times it is hard to work out where to go next, with mission statements being quite vague, leaving you to wander around until you stumble across a missed key card, hidden temple, a random enemy waiting to be killed or a pathway that just looked like the background.

Visually the game is wonderful to look at a play and aside from the poor opening cinematic the game itself looks fantastic, having a very polished arcade shooter feel to it, everything looking sparkly and new, ready for you to riddle with bullets.

For a game that is not nearly as well remembered as the likes of Doom or Duke Nukem this remake/reboot is far stronger than their remakes, keeping the same appalling humour but really upping the action, keeping more in line with modern shooters whilst keeping faithful to its heritage.

For all of the games touting to be the best, it has taken an old game with a new sheen to give me some of the most fun I have had with a first person shooter for a long time, story be dammed (though it is fun enough), it is all about killing various demons with a huge array of deadly weapons, just one word of warning, it may be tempting but do not kill too many rabbits.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: PS4)


+ Fast and smooth action
+ Plenty of replay value
+ Loads of powers and skill to unlock
+ Perfect example of classic FPS action updated the right way


- Enemies get a bit repetitive

Edited On 23 Oct, 2014

( 2 )
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 2 years ago
Was tempted to get this a few times on the PC when it was on sale. It does look quite fun.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 2 years ago
Get the original first since it will make you appreciate this version more

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