The nineties were a terrific era filled with FPS gems, and easily was the birth era of how we view First Person Shooter as a genre today, with Doom , Duke Nukem 3D and Quake leading the way. One game that followed the formula as many others was Shadow Warrior by 3D realms , it was crass, it was violent and borderline classless , but it was still a dream to play . That was 1997 , fast forward to 2013 when studio Flying Wild Hog Rebooted the series with modern graphics and new gameplay mechanics. This reboot worked well because it embraced the ideas that the original set into place, and then they made a sequel. 2017 Shadow Warrior 2 hits ps4 and the little fan boy inside of me screams.
Storywise this game isn’t overly strong, but that can be forgiven because no one really wants to play this game for the story itself. The story follows shortly after the end of the first game, demons invade the real world and we are forced to live with it and titular hero Lo Wang has fallen back to being a mercenary for hire. Bad things happen and the consciousness and soul of a 20-something woman is bonded with Lo Wang, from here the game follows the adventures of this rag tag duo until a very sequel tease of an ending. That’s it story wise that is notable, now the real stuff.
The writing in this game is done with every fan of Beavis and Butthead in mind, dick jokes are in full swing ( get it ? ) , racism, general crassness and amazingly witty one liners. The whole time playing through the game I couldn’t stop laughing or smiling because most of the game is one joke after another, but it never seems to grow old with it .
Gameplay falls around an almost borderlands-esque style of mission structure , you can do the main quest or you can do a multitude of side quests to level up your character and get new gear. there is a solid loot system in the game, some weapons will drop randomly but most of what you will get are amulets and different boosts to augment your player an the weapons with . The loot system keeps the game fresh, although the weapons don’t change much in variations , there is a solid set of stats for each weapon.
Combat and movement is designed to make you feel like a ninja, so there is an unlimited dash and little but of parkour motivation, now this isn’t bogged down by animations for climbing in most spots, just fluid free moving motions which can lead to amazing moments or epic fails. The combat aspect falls down to what types of weapon you enjoy using, there’s a wide variety of choices , ranging from pistols, rifles, heavies, swords, dual swords, bows and an assortment of misc. oddities. The first game handled sword combat amazingly with fluid movement and attack abilities but the gunplay fell short, in this sequel not only has the gunplay been improved upon but actually may be better than the melee combat. There is a certain satisfaction to dashing through the air with a double barreled shotgun mid blast into the face of a demon. The combat in this game is the dream of any child who had aspirations of being an action star and watched Die Hard a lot. Enemy variations keep the encounters unique, there is a range from human Yakuza to robot security guards to mechs and to finally , demons, many many demons .
Some levels offer a free roam feature so that you can traverse the area in search of hidden loot or hidden mini bosses, this is a good way to keep the game current and replayability high. One feature that cuts this game from the rest is the co-op feature, you can join up with up to 3 other players to join in on the mayhem . The co op mechanics work great and not often does it cause much grief in way of connectivity and gameplay hiccups. The environments range from rural fields and chinese villages , to bustling city streets and all the way up to futuristic utopias that make Blade Runner looks like Sesame Street.
The presentation of the game is good but it shows that the specs have been dialed down from the pc version which has been hailed as one of the best looking games of 2016, but as a console only player I can’t complain as I was waiting for this game since 2015.
Music and audio are fun and accurate. Sound effects for the weapons are on point in regards to how you believe they should sound, such as a chainsaw running through a pesky Yakuza enforcer. Guns are weighted and satisfying as well as explosions. Voice acting falls flat sometimes in regards to the facial animations, but it isn’t unforgiveable ( looking at you Unity). The music can range from 80’s pop jams to heavy instrumental pieces , which is suiting depending on what is happening on screen.
All in all, if you want a game that will give you fast action, sweet one liners, Stan Bush’s epic ballad ” The Touch”, guns galore and just an all around satisfying FPS experience that is a blend of retro and new age, buy this game.