Anyone who plays the first person shooter/slasher Shadow Warrior reboot will instantly be reminded of 1993’s Duke Nukem 3D. There’s over-the-top violence, crude humor and a main character who’s unable to let go of a grudge. While Duke Nukem’s bee in the bonnet was his ship being destroyed by aliens, Lo Wang (get it?) has a beef stemming from a sword deal gone wrong. It’s this debacle that pulls Wang (get it?) into a world of demonic bloodshed.
Yes, it sounds dumb as hell but Shadow Warrior isn't meant to be Academy Award material. The plot has more gaping holes than a German adult film and the graphics aren’t on the bleeding edge. But what the game does fits Shadow Warrior’s purpose perfectly. It's like if Saint's Row had a baby with the 1986 film, Big Trouble in Little China.
Lo Wang starts out with a katana and is able to level up in weapons and demon powers. Wang’s got the potential to dual wield guns, blow enemies back with a powerful shockwave attack and spin around with his sword, severing the heads from any bodies surrounding him. This level of ridiculous violence doesn’t go unrewarded either. The more violent the kills, the more “Karma” you get which allows players to level up their powers faster.
- The recently announced crossover weapons including: Saints Row IV’s Penetrator, The Walking Dead’s Ice Axe, Hotline Miami’s Katana and Serious Sam 3’s Sledgehammer
- Leveling up doesn’t take long and skill trees aren’t overly complicated.
- The cartoonish gore and physics are entertaining (if you’re into that).
- Wang is able to partially heal himself, which makes it easier to survive between finding health packs.
- You’re never without a weapon. You will always have the katana and an endless supply of shurikens.
- Special moves aren’t to complicated and don’t take long to get used to.
- Awesome downloadable content. The Vicera Cleanup Detail add-on is hilarious and costs nothing.
- The graphics aren’t the best considering it’s a 2013 release.
- Controls are a little wonky at times. On the casual difficulty setting it’s no big deal but it could become a problem playing on harder settings.
- There could’ve been a lot more weapons.
- The story gets confusing at times.
- Gameplay is very linear. You can only go from points A to B.
- There isn’t much interaction with the environment. Aside from shooting explosive objects like cars and gasoline drums, there’s not much else you can do with your surroundings.
- No multiplayer or co-op feature.
- The jokes could’ve have been better.
It may seem like the bad outnumbers the rad but Shadow Warrior 2013 is a fun ride as long as you’re not looking for the next blockbuster game. The reboot is great for taking out the day’s frustration or enjoying a game you don’t feel like investing a lot of attention into.
One of the controversial elements that raised eyebrows in Shadow Warrior’s first release was its use of Chinese and Japanese cultural imagery that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. The new version does a little to distance itself from that but still walks a thin line between edginess and offensive. While there aren’t any outright race jokes, there are moments-like whenever Lo Wang speaks in near “Engrish” where you hope that someone on the dev team is Chinese or Japanese to make sure no one goes overboard. You won’t find anything racially offensive in Shadow Warrior but a thicker than average skin is required to enjoy it. Minor quirks and all, this title is worth the money and time to replay over and over again.