The Way of the Wang

It wasn’t that long ago I was singing the praises of Shadow Warrior. I believe I picked up a copy of the game via Humble Bundle, and wanted to play this remake of the old 3D Realms classic because it hearkened back to a day when FPS games didn’t take themselves so seriously. Like a bastard stepchild, Shadow Warrior wasn’t quite as popular as the studio’s major hit, Duke Nukem 3D, but shared the same game engine and tongue in cheek humor. It seems though that the bastard stepchild has taken to the forefront in this new generation, as we can all recall the lackluster performance of the Duke revival. Shadow Warrior was an instant classic, and was one of the best FPS games I had played that year. I did an episode by episode playthrough up until some sort of data loss (I believe my computer took a shit) meant I had to forgo writing more. Needless to say I was fond of the title.

Enter Shadow Warrior 2. I knew it was coming, it had been on my wishlist for quite some time. My past birthday came along, and my father gifted me a copy of the sequel. I dove in right away, and instantly knew it was going to be a great experience. Taking the formula from the original title and expanding upon it, the game mixes first person martial arts combat (complete with some basic combo mechanics that result in more powerful abilities) and more traditional FPS concepts seemlessly. Feeling more like a Borderlands title, the game now boasts 4 player co-op, semi-open world areas and a color coding system for rarity when considering both gear and mobs. There are main story quests and side missions to get lost in. There is an upgrade system for your Chi powers and now also a card system that allows for additional perks. Weapons can also be slotted with various relics giving bonus stats. In some cases it feels a little messy, and in other cases it’s pretty cool being able to enhance the gear you get throughout the game. Rather than just being stuck with whatever the developers throw at you throughout the course of a story, now you can pick and choose your loadout and tweak that to your heart’s content. Sounds like a winning proposition to me.

Graphically the game appears on par with the original. One part I can note that is lacking is in most of the character models. Enemies look well and good, but some of the NPCs you’ll encounter look pretty shitty. But who cares? You don’t really pay all that much attention to the storyline or what’s going on, you just shoot shit and move on to the next thing. At least, that’s how I do it. The gameplay is a blast, switching off between wacky weapons and using different ninja tricks, you’ll be swinging more than just one liners. It feels smooth and refined, and I don’t notice framerate dips.

Overall it’s a worthy successor to the original remake (oxymoron, that). I’ve had this draft sitting around for a long time and needed some writing inspiration. Since I only touched the first couple of hours of the game, I figured this was something worth sharing, and I’m going to try and finish it off soon and give my full, final impression. Regardless, I recommend the title to fans of the first, and those who enjoy goofy FPS games like Borderlands. Here’s some screens in case you’d like to know what it looks like: