Flying Wild Hog

Shadow Warrior makes melee fun again, while still bringing the Wang

Shadow Warrior makes melee fun again, while still bringing the Wang

There was some outcry when our initial coverage of Shadow Warrior mentioned that the game would be doing away with most of the racist and sexist humor of the first game, as if the ability to offend was at the heart of the game's design. I had a chance to sit down and play through a few levels of the rebooted PC game at E3, and I'm happy to report that the focus of the game is right where it belongs: On the combat.

You can't handle the Wang

The game introduces the katana early on, and it was stressed to me that it wouldn't be a weapon that you threw away the second you found a better gun. The left mouse button was a slash move, but you could adjust the direction of your blade with quick mouse movements during the attack, and you could add special attacks and magic by double-tapping a direction on the WASD keys. It's a simple system to learn, but learning how to use each power effectively in the thick of combat… that's going to take some practice.

The enemies come at you in waves, and it's easy to get caught up in the number of enemies coming your way. Each weapon, and of course you can carry your entire arsenal with you, comes complete with a secondary fire ability, which means you have an impressively deep stable of attacks and powers to use throughout the game.

 

It's not a matter of being overpowered. Although you certainly feel like you're a more able character than many modern first-person games, the challenge comes from reading the situation, reacting quickly, and using the right tools to deal with the situation. There is a surprising amount of depth here, which is common in high quality “dumb action” games. “Dumb action” is very hard to do well, especially if you don't want to burn the player out in a few hours.

Shadow Warrior also stands out due to the colorful setting. The game is splashed with reds, greens, pinks, and blues; the color palette actually uses color, and you'll often find yourself splashing some beautiful scenes with blood and violence. It's a heady feeling playing a shooter this fast, with this many neat attacks, surrounded by this much color; it's as if all your senses have been dialed up to 11.

Most games with combat this strong take themselves very seriously, and they're usually set in brown and gray-colored dystopian warzones. Shadow Warrior, on the other hand, is focused on fun and humor, and it's a breath of fresh air.

We'll see how the game's combat and humor hold up in lengthy play sessions. The introduction sequence with Lo Wang singing along to the “The Touch” on the radio and the one-liners spewed throughout combat give us a taste of the game's humor, but that tone is a challenge to keep up through the length of play. Still, I'm very happy with the 30 minutes or so I was able to try at E3. This is a classical game with modern twists where they're needed, set in beautiful landscapes. I'm in.

Shadow Warrior is coming to the PC and “next-gen consoles.”