Shadow Warrior 3 does not beat around the bush. In an age where games feel like they keep trying to get bigger, this game is happy not to get sucked in by lengthy dialogue or emotional cutscenes. Instead, it gets you into the action right away and rarely lets a moment of comfort begin there. And while the focus on fun is refreshing, Shadow Warrior 3 is almost completely unremarkable in its execution, as simple as an FPS can get. It may not offer many new ideas and its protagonists can be annoying to listen to, but sometimes solid movement and satisfying weapons are all you really need.
After Shadow Warrior 2, a giant dragon is ravaging Earth and our returning hero, Lo Wang, will destroy the lizard. For Shadow Warrior, world-ending stakes like this are nothing new, but it didn’t take long for me to stop paying too much attention to Shadow Warrior 3’s story. Once you start playing it, you can do the same, because it’s usually a pointless pounding load. But you don’t play Shadow Warrior for the story – you play it to shoot demons, and there’s certainly plenty of scenes to do.
Gameplay screenshot of Shadow Warrior 3
Never give up
Right from the start, Shadow Warrior 3 makes it clear that it wants to be more interesting than anything else. Its first battle takes place on the back of that Earth-threatening dragon, you run and jump over like an action movie hero. It usually doesn’t slow down from there, and that dizzying pace is probably for the best. If you had the chance to stop and think about what was going on, you might end up asking questions like “how did Lo Wang survive in a ramshackle shack at the top of a mountain?” or “why is this dragon so big when it’s so much smaller at the end of Shadow Warrior 2?”
Killing demons will stop all unpleasant thoughts about meaningless stories. Shadow Warrior 3 takes the same exciting approach as Doom Eternal or Titanfall 2, emphasizing speed and maneuverability above all else. Lo Wang moves like lightning, able to jump twice high above enemies’ heads or quickly dash away from their attacks. Every arena you enter is built around these movement mechanics, turning battles into frenzied katana gun and sword attacks.
In the midst of killing demons, Shadow Warrior 3 usually tells you only one thing to do: run to the next arena full of demons. The background pieces that separate each fight are never too long or too complicated, and exploring in those times isn’t really a thing. You can sometimes go off the beaten track to find upgrades that slightly improve Lo Wang’s weapons and abilities (effects like increasing ammo or causing certain attacks to take more resources off), but other than some of those cases, you’re just fighting or finding your way. another war.
Developer Flying Wild Hog’s approach to Shadow Warrior 3’s linear campaign is simple yet effective. It got to the point, and as a result I felt more respectful of my time in the roughly four and a half hours I hit credits more than any other game I’ve played recently. That also means it’s not an overly complicated or powerful FPS, but I’ve always known that all I had to do was keep moving forward if I wanted more action.
The absolute pity is that Shadow Warrior 3 spends so much time looking forward that it doesn’t give you a chance to return. With no option to re-visit the levels, any upgrades you may have missed in the process will simply disappear. Thankfully, these collections aren’t hard to spot, and you’ll have enough of them without exploring to easily complete the campaign. But it’s too bad that missing one means you’ll have to wait until a second playthrough if you want to complete Lo Wang’s arsenal of weapons and powers.
Dismantle and conquer
When it comes to actually slaying demons, Shadow Warrior 3 doesn’t do anything too unique. In fact, it follows the standard FPS playbook in pretty much every way that I can think of. You can shoot enemies and each part of them blows up in a horrible fashion, something that has been normalized in FPS games since 2016’s Doom has done a great job of that. You can zoom around the battle arenas with no problem, but incorporating the platform into the casual shooter isn’t a new idea either. Not that Shadow Warrior 3 is doing this poorly, it’s not nearly as exciting as I’ve seen all of its tricks before.
Each of the six weapons is comfortably usable, from the starting six-shot pistol to the ultimate options you’ll unlock like the single-shot gun and the shuriken launcher. It’s fun for every player, and seeing how enemies react to their attacks makes them even more fun to shoot. That said, with such a meager weapon list and no alternative firing modes, some of them are definitely old. The upgrades only fix it slightly, changing the way some weapons work, but none of them have been completely overhauled. Instead, weapon upgrades provide additional reloads or other minor tweaks – something that I’ve found particularly helpful is slowing down time whenever I’m firing with a railgun. They are fun, simple additions that make weapons more powerful, but they won’t change the way you think about using them.
To keep weapons from getting old too quickly, Shadow Warrior 3 often limits ammo to force you to change your strategy. While ammo can be found on the ground in most arenas, those stocks will eventually run out during the fight and after that the only way to get more is to kill enemies with a katana your. Running out of health will encourage the opposite, encouraging you to shoot down enemies to collect blood. Doom’s strategy of sawing enemies in half for ammo and health is the obvious inspiration here, but Shadow Warrior 3 turns it into a steady supply of drips rather than a concentrated blast.
In addition to ensuring that you never run out of ammo or increase your health, this system cleverly ensures that you’ll use every weapon Shadow Warrior 3 has to offer. You won’t be able to survive by just shooting or just stabbing, and must instead use a combination of the two to reap all the potential rewards. Holding resources hostage like this is a bit heavy-handed, but it ended up being a fun way to keep me on my toes and motivate me to change my approach often, even if it meant is to swing at a large demon with a relatively small sword.
Gore weapons can mix this system, but only slightly. After finishing off an enemy, Lo Wang will rip through new weapons or their equipment – such as flying shoguns that shoot laser beams, which can be ripped apart and transformed into a beam grenade laser like a disco ball. While that may sound like it expands your arsenal beyond the usual six options on paper, I’ve never found the Gore weapon to be extremely useful in practice. They’re a welcome question on Shadow Warrior 3’s other gameplay, but not something you can always rely on.
What got me excited about my brief battle with Shadow Warrior 3 instead, was, again, its speed. The campaign will give me new weapons just like I hope another will be added to my arsenal and it ends the levels as soon as they are nearing the welcome deadline. In fact, the only part of Shadow Warrior 3 that I actively hoped to stop was how much Lo Wang spoke. The Shadow Warrior is known for his goofy humour, and this person continues to take that attitude seriously, almost as if proudly wearing the “our character’s name is still a penis joke” badge.
Listening to Lu Wang say that after killing youkai, he finally felt tired. Shadow Warrior 3 did a great job at keeping unnecessary dialogue out of the picture, but couldn’t seem to do the same for jokes that flew out of the protagonist’s mouth. Two hours after Shadow Warrior 3, I feel as though I’ve heard all of Lo Wang’s jokes and puns, which only makes them more annoying when they start repeating themselves.
https://www.ign.com/articles/shadow-warrior-3-review Review on Shadow Warrior 3 – IGN