GAME REVIEW: ‘Shadow Warrior’

Shadow Warrior logoShadow Warrior is a new take on an old first person shooter. The original Shadow Warrior was the Asian exploitation version of Duke Nukem. Like Nukem, Shadow Warrior was developed by 3D Realms, and was as violent and tasteless as its predecessor. In the present, a Polish studio named Flying Wild Hog have re-imagined the ninja assassin as a hero who has a place in the 21st century. The new Lo Wang isn’t in the habit of sounding like an Asian stereotype anymore. Now he’s more like an action hero stereotype, giving the player tough guy one-liners to chew on.


Shadow Warrior‘s story is simple: Lo Wang is sent to buy a precious sword from a Mr. Mizayaki. Mr. Mzayaki is not willing to part with it, and that is when negotiations get violent. Just as Wang finds himself in a bad situation, the situation gets much worse. All hell breaks loose, and demons begin infesting the earth. So Lo Wang becomes our hero, but all he really wants is to retrieve this sword.

“Mhm, sword- for when you want to make it personal.”

Shadow Warrior Abilities

Very soon after your encounters with the game’s main enemies, you gain access to powers and skills. Both powers and skills can be activated when you find Ki crystals. You can improve your ability to heal yourself, become a better fighter, or become harder to kill. This is a new addition to the game, not a feature from the original. The original game was a run and gun FPS, but you need to have a few more tricks up your sleeve to impress the post Call of Duty set.  Above all else, improving your stats and abilities is what you will come to enjoy from this game most.

When it comes to weapon variety, a game based on a 3D Realms shooter has to bring modern weapons, but fantastic weapons as well. So as this Asian assassin, you have your katana and shuriken, but Lo Wang uses any gun he can get his hands on. Plus, every weapon is upgradeable. Unique to this game is the dismemberment of enemies with your weapons. A sword swing, or a hail of bullets focused on one area, sends limbs flying. It doesn’t seem like the precision slicing was finely tuned, and it would have been great if how the sword swinging was decided by the player, instead of it being random. You just point your weapon at a limb and hope that it comes off.

“…I guess koi ponds and cherry blossoms will have to do.”

Shadow Warrior arcade cabinets

Shadow Warrior’s graphics are very good, but not outstanding. Even though it was released 2 years prior, I think that Flying Wild Hog’s previous game, Hard Reset, was more impressive to look at than Shadow Warrior. What the two games have in common is the realistic level of detail you can appreciate from them. Cherry blossoms, for instance, are lovely and the bamboo forest is amazing. When you get to urban locales, though, nothing stands out that much. It’s no crime for a game to just look “okay,”  especially when the standard for an average looking game is so high. We are really spoiled when a shooter looks this good, but it feels pedestrian in comparison to its contemporaries.

The basic requirements for Shadow Warrior say that you need an HD video card to play. I believe that if you have a Windows machine made in the past five years, you will be able to play with no hiccups. Shadow Warrior is not graphics intensive. For stretches of a couple minutes or so, you will not encounter any enemies at all. When you do fight, you’ll be locked in an area until all the enemies have been killed. The most pressure your computer will not feel is when many enemies are on screen at once.

Like shooting bunnies in a bamboo forest

Shadow Warrior fortune cookie

Shadow Warrior is not only a successful update of the original game, but it is also a fun game to play. I’m just disappointed that it’s not as funny as it tries to be. Lo Wang’s trash talk does nothing for me, but when he’s having conversations with the smart-assed Hoji, those moments tend to be high comedic points. Both fans of the original and people looking for a new FPS experience will enjoy Shadow Warrior. Shadow Warrior is not just an old game with a fresh coat of paint thrown on it. I would not call it a top tier shooter, but it is definitely a noteworthy entry in the genre.

Shadow Warrior is a single player game for Windows PCs. It is currently available on Steam and GoG, on Windows PCs only.

Rating: 3.5/5

Reporter: VichusSmith

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