Shadow Warrior 3 Review

Gaming
8

Great

Shadow Warrior 3

Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platforms: Xbox Series X Xbox OnePlayStation 4PlayStation 5, PC (Reviewed)
Release Date: 1 Mar 2022
Price: $49,99 USD – Available Here

Overview

If there is one thing that is common to all of my most anticipated games, it’s that they’ve been delayed over and over again. Sometimes it’s a few weeks, months, or even a year. But as they say, all good things are worth the wait. I got access to Shadow Warrior 3 almost 2 weeks before release so I had plenty of time to dissect it. It’s a third entry in the series that introduced a lof new gameplay mechanics and peculiar design choices. There is a lot to talk about here, so let’s get it started.

Story

Our hero Lo Wang is joining forces with its former employer and nemesis Orochi (now turned sidekick) to recapture an ancient dragon that they released from its eternal slumber. The plan is simple: obtain a maks of a dead god, a dragon egg, a bit of magic, a lot of firepower, and hopefully, things go according to plan. Spoiler alert: they don’t. In true Shadow Warrior fashion, the story is often ludicrous and bordering on insane so prepare for a lot of twists and turns. There is also a mask stealing raccoon in all that mess and a certain boss that looks like he just woke up from a 7-day drug-fueled orgy. In any case, you’re in for a fun ride.

Gameplay

As I said above, Shadow Warrior 3 comes with a whole lot of changes. No more semi-open world like in Shadow Warrior 2, no more unnecessary loot drops, it’s all refreshingly linear with way more attention to the story. Pretty early in my playthrough, I started seeing the game as an unintentional homage to DOOM Eternal. Why is that, you might ask. First off, the level design is more arena-like. You’ll have short platforming sections where you eventually end up in sections with dozens of enemies thrown at you. Then the game turns into intense tests of skill when it comes to dodging enemies and evading their projectiles, all while killing the smaller ones so you can build up the fatality bar for the really dangerous ones. Oh right, the fatalities. Another gimmick reminiscent of the new DOOM games. Killing enough enemies and picking up fatality orbs will gradually fill up the relevant bar so you can swiftly get rid of the big baddies with a gory execution. This also brings me to the topic of gore weapons. Killing certain enemies with executions will reward you with limited use of gore weapons. They are extremely powerful and helpful when you are being overwhelmed. The one-hit kill katana from samurai enemies has saved me more times than I can count. Weapon and character upgrades are still there, but this time you earn them by occasionally picking them up in levels (most of them are well hidden) and completing various weapon challenges. Things like headshot push/kill/execute a certain number of enemies with certain weapons. And last, one of the novelties that spice up the gameplay is environmental kills. In almost every arena you’ll find peculiar switched that upon hitting open trap doors or activate spiky rollers that obliterate every enemy in its way. It’s a great way to dispose of more dangerous enemies while conserving some ammo.

Visuals

It’s not uncommon that every sequel receives a bit of a visual upgrade, but I can’t list many examples where a sequel looked so……..pretty as is the case here. Flying Wild Hog devs somehow managed to make even damp and boring caves look mesmerizing. Visual upgrade is not limited to level design only, the enemies are now violently colorful and their design is often bordering on comical. You would also think that also that upgrade requires some strong engine under the hood, but no. The game is surprisingly well optimized.

Audio

When it comes to audio, we need to address one elephant in the room first. During the early trailers and gameplay videos, one thing that was apparent was the different voice actors for Lo Wang. For most of the folks, the reception was not as positive as you’d expect but after finishing the game twice I have yet to see anything bad on that front. Granted, I played Shadow Warrior 2 almost three years ago so the memory of that different voice actor is a bit hazy to me. And that’s what it is at the end of the day, it’s different but nothing immersion-breaking. I think the new voice actor did a fine job and it’s just a matter of getting used to him.

Overall

However, there is one thing that might worry some people on the release day way more than a different voice actor. I mentioned that I completed the game twice already and that didn’t take a lot of my time. The first playthrough was just a bit over five hours and the second was even shorter. Granted, I didn’t go for all the upgrades the first time but Shadow Warrior 3 was still surprisingly short for such a story-focused game. The good news is that if you can get past that, you’re in for a ride. Shadow Warrior 3 is a big step up from its predecessor in terms of visuals, gameplay mechanics, and fast-paced swordplay & gunplay. All things considered, it’s a sequel that lived up to my expectations.

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

Summary

Unapologetically violent and gory. More weapons, more enemies, and way more ways to dispose of them.
8

Great

I play video games from time to time and sometimes they manage to elicit a reaction from me that I can't help but write about them.

Lost Password