Review | Shadow Warrior 3
Shadow Warrior 3 is the insane new installment in the equally insane Shadow Warrior series, which follows ex-assassin Lo Wang and his enemy turned associate Orochi Zilla. You’ll follow them on the quest to defeat a gigantic ancient demon Lo Wang accidentally awakened that threatens the fate of the world. While I’ve never played a Shadow Warrior title, I must say that the third installment blew me away with almost all its features.
The game’s opening hits the ground running by introducing us to a downtrodden yet still energetic Lo Wang as he narrates to himself the events that occurred before the game. This is done via an interesting and entertaining blend of gameplay and cutscenes before moving on to traditional linear storytelling and gameplay.
The first aspect of the game that immediately grabbed my attention was the impeccable graphics and visuals. The environments especially are immensely detailed, dynamic, and colorful. Each level is unique with multiple gimmicks, platforms, traps, grinders, and other killing machines. This includes a slew of enemies, all of which are also unique and interesting in their own right. The character models and enemy designs especially showcase a mind-blowing amount of detail. Punching, slicing, shooting, and exploding them in extreme anger is even more visually impressive.
However, I found the gameplay in Shadow Warrior 3 to be the most impressive aspect of the game. The first-person high octane and fast-paced combat makes a return to this installment yet again and is even more satisfying than ever. Moving frantically around levels using a variety of ballistic and melee weapons feels effortless, and the weapons feel weighty with a ton of feedback.
Executing grand, incredibly gory finishing moves called executions feels amazing. In this installment, doing so grants you weapons called gore weapons, accurately named because in order to acquire and use them (temporarily), you’ll need to dismember the bodies of your enemies in a highly gory fashion. While these weapons don’t last long, they’re incredibly creative, effective, and satisfying, especially after extracting them from the corpses of your victims. These weapons can range from a standard big stick-hammer to a gigantic menacing drill and a wacky buzzsaw launcher.
The combat system and gameplay structure are highly reminiscent of other high octane series like Doom and, oddly enough, Bright Memory: Infinite. The only thing that I noticed that may pose an issue is that the levels become increasingly more difficult and a bit long and tedious as you progress through the game. Each level will have you fighting more enemies than the last, some of which are more difficult to deal with than others. However, as long as you pay attention to your surroundings and stay on edge, you will quickly push through to the end, even if you fall a few times.
Players struggling can also rely on the simplistic upgrade system, which requires them to chase upgrade orbs inconspicuously littered about each level. Those who lack scavenging skills can also complete several challenges of varying difficulty the game will throw at you to earn upgrade orbs.
Outside combat, players should expect to perform a great deal of platforming, mainly through climbing up and running across walls, air dashing, double jumping, and using the grapple hook to scale ledges, which is thankfully a painless process and at most times, really fun. Other than that, the game runs well at a stable 60fps and, thankfully, I didn’t encounter any issues with glitches and lags.
Overall, Shadow Warrior 3 is an incredibly entertaining game. Asides from its impeccable, impactful, and fast-paced gameplay, the characters, especially our comical protagonist, are always entertaining to watch. However, I’d also be remiss if I didn’t add that while the story wrapped up well enough, the game took me only about 8 hours in total to beat, so those expecting a decently long experience might have to look somewhere else. Other than that, I’d highly recommend Shadow Warrior 3 to any action game enthusiasts, especially to fans of the series.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
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