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Shadow Warrior (2013): PC Review

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Shadow Warrior is a reboot of sorts from the old days where the FPS genre reigned supreme, with DOOM, Duke Nukem, and Wolfenstein all on the market these games had a specific formula. Kill the player as easily as possible. The games were riddled with secrets and large maps to get lost in. The enemies had a clear advantage over you and the bosses were over the top. Not to mention your arsenal was never limited to two weapons. The original Shadow Warrior had that crude humor which made games like Duke Nukem so famous. However, Duke had more of a lineage while Shadow Warrior sort of fizzled out. Devolver Digital had brought Shadow Warrior back and for the current generation of games. It will be impossible to not compare this game to the original, however in the case of Shadow Warrior, this is not a hindrance.

Shadow Warrior tells the offbeat tale of Zilla Enterprise’s corporate shogun Lo Wang as he is ordered to acquire a legendary blade of limitless power by his deceitful employer. Betrayed and left for dead, Lo Wang learns of the blade’s connection to ancient gods from another realm preparing to push our world to the brink of destruction. Now the reluctant hero must become legend through a masterful combination of gun, blade, magic and with to uncover the truth behind the demonic invasion and banish evil back into the darkness.

The game and story differ from the original but it has the relationship with the original through the characters and nuggets of easter eggs that connects the games. It has a lot of snarky humor that is distasteful, but feels natural. Much like the Duke Nukem humor. The interactions between Wang and the demonic spirit that follows you around are hilarious because both are assholes (to put it lightly). The story still offers nice story-telling and pacing to where you want to know what happens next.

You have a variety of weapons, not a massive one, but a nice pool to gauge how you want to play. You will however mostly be running around chopping up demons with your katana. All of the weapons are upgradeable. You use money for this. Money is collected through the game in the levels and cannot be earned any other way. In addition to weapon upgrade there are skills and powers. Skills revolve around katana combos and powers are the demon powers you get which involve healing, less damage taken, and fireballs. You use different currency for every class of upgrade. This is where secrets come in handy. When you find secret rooms you generally get karma points to upgrade your skills. Sometimes you will also find money and Ki Crystals. Ki Crystals are for your powers.

The swordplay is incredibly fun due to the unique combo system that Devolver has put in place. The guns are cool, but chopping people up is even cooler. Best part is that with the addition of Viscera Cleanup you can clean up after yourself. The gratuitous violence is typically something that puts me off to games due to it being added to hook a demographic, like Gears of War. The violence in Gears is different than in Shadow Warrior, it is somehow more mature in Shadow Warrior than in Gears of War. Presentation is everything, and in Shadow Warrior, everything isn’t a different shade of brown.

The controls are tight, the comedy is great, the visuals are detailed and great to look at. The amount of easter eggs are plentiful and the replay value is moderate. Shadow Warrior does a great job upholding the Shadow Warrior name in terms of pacing and challenge. The levels are somewhat linear but there isn’t something holding your hand along the way forcing you forward. You can explore the maps and even get lost.

Shadow Warrior is just damn good and if you like the original you will find much appreciation in the newer title. By far, this is the best FPS I have played of the year. I highly recommend it for people who can run the game on their PC Rigs. You can pick it up on Steam now. I give Shadow Warrior (2013) a 10/10.

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