Updated: Jan 6
Are you ready for more Lo Wang?
Available on: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows.
Genre: First person shooter.
Developer: Flying Wild Hog.
Publisher: Devolver Digital.
Released: 2021 (TBC)
You may be asking yourself why I am trying to get you hyped for a game that’s the third in a series and that got rebooted from the 90’s almost 10 years ago starring a protagonist named Lo Wang. A reboot that no one expected or really even asked for. As someone who never played the originals I had no attachment or prior opinions about the 2013 reboot. I picked it up for something like 8 quid in PSN sale and it was one of the silliest games I had played in years. Silly and butt loads of fun. It was a fast, fluid FPS with over top action, gore and the most ridiculous one liners. Also you got to wield a samurai sword and take all kinds of crazy boss fights. Needless to say once I finished, I was hungry for more. In 2017 I had my hunger satisfied with Shadow Warrior 2, a sequel that took what worked from the first game and built on it by including larger open worlds and co-op.
Another thing you may be saying to yourself is that a fast, fluid, over top shooter sounds just like Doom. So, why bother with Shadow Warrior when you can just play Doom. I will be the first to hold my hands up and say that most 90’s shooters were just copies of each other. However, unlike the Doom reboot Shadow Warrior sets itself apart by having a story that amounts to more than just there are demons, kill the demons. I am not saying that Shadow Warriors' story is the next Citizen Kane but it has a story. The other thing is that it doesn't take itself seriously which I find works a lot better when the main aim of the game is to kill things in the most violent and ridiculous way possible.
If I can ask you to stick with me for the next few minutes I think I can convince you that a new take on a game that was essentially a Duke Nukem 3D clone is worth your time.
Murder, death, kill.
What’s the main objective of any first person shooter? Well its to shoot things, something I can assure you there is lots of in Shadow Warrior. Yeah shooting things is fine but I can do that in any FPS. It's correct that you can shoot things in any FPS but I doubt it will be as much fun as it is in Shadow Warrior 3. In a recent interview with Mashable the games lead director Paweł Kowalewski said that the best way to describe the gameplay is “over the top” and that he “wants the player to feel overpowered”. Who doesn't like to push things over the top from time to time. Just cut loose and push the fun all the way to 11. That's exactly what Shadow Warriors key selling point is and the 3rd installment looks like it has that and then some.
Gameplay looks as smooth as it's ever been and almost comical gore has definitely been cranked up several notches. There is the addition of many new traps that can be utilized to add even more insane ways to turn enemies into a hail of bloody particle effects. Enemy types seem varied and that lots will be coming at you which is good because it will give you a chance to unleash your arsenal of crazy weapons that I have no doubt will get even crazier as you progress through the campaign. Speaking of ludicrous weapons Shadow Warrior 3 has added a ton of mini bosses that once you defeat give gain access to a weapon that is usually one of their body parts. A weapon that really ramps up your killing power for a short period of time until it runs out of ammo and is tossed aside by Lo Wang.
New world, new Wang
New to Shadow Warrior is the use of Unreal Engine instead of the developers in house engine. This is a welcome change for me as the last two games while super fun did suffer from technical issues like slow frame rates and random freezes when you entered new areas most likely giving the game time to load. All these issues seem to be ironed out in everything Flying Wild Hog has shown so far. Also there is a definite upgrade to games visuals with number three looking like the prettiest game in the series. This new look world is helped by the fact that the open world model has been done away with in favor of a more linear story. Another move which I applaud as the open world in two severed as little more than a bullet point for the back of the box. This new linear story will also serve to re-develop Lo Wang something that the devs have been very vocal about.
As funny as some of Wang’s one-liners are, they have always leaned towards the culturally insensitive as has his whole character really. I mean his name is a penis joke. Kowalewski has said that there is no place in modern games for the kind of insensitive humor of the original series and that they are making a very concise effort to change Lo Wang without taking away his humor. This time around jokes focus on pop culture with Wang being a massive fan of American action movies and TV shows. While he is still a stereotype of an east Asian being a ninja he has become a more well rounded character and if you were to take away Lo Wang himself you would take away a lot of what makes the game so much fun.
As I mentioned earlier the game devs want you to feel overpowered, they want you to feel like Lo Wang is the greatest badass around. Based on everything I have talked about so far in terms of violence, over the top weapons and insane environmental traps Shadow Warrior 3 is definitely shaping up to be the ultimate power fantasy. There is one more thing that I think will add to the games badassery and that Lo Wang loves what he does. The game is not posing higher questions of is killing wrong? Should Wang be guilty for what he is doing? No, he loves his job and wouldn't have it any other way and if you are going along for the ride with him he is going to make sure you have a good time.
To me, that's what excites me most about Shadow Warrior 3, it's just fun. I love games that have deep meaningful stories as much as the next person but sometimes you just want to take a big gun and use it to liquefy the monster standing in front of you without the protagonist collapsing on themselves from an internal existential crisis about the morality of turning said monster to jam. Lo Wang is definitely not a guy that is going to have that crisis and she will make sure you don't either.
Hopefully if you rolled the dice and stuck with me for this article you now have a little hype for Shadow Warrior 3 and dumb fun it going offer. This is going to be a day one game for me and you will hear my thoughts on the final game at Casual Game Critic once it releases.
If this article maybe wasn't enough to convince you I am going to leave you with a little taster of the game below. Enjoy!
Watch out for this game if…
You like over the top action.
You like crazy guns.
You enjoy excellent character and environmental design
You enjoy quippy one liners that would make any 80's action hero proud.
All images taken from the Shadow Warrior 3 press kit here
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