Review

Shadow Warrior 2 Review

Lo wang is back and full of even more dirty jokes than ever before in the latest instalment of the Shadow Warrior series.

Shadow Warrior 2 combines excellent melee and shooting physics with extremely satisfying gore. Dismembering demons into several pieces with katanas and exploding heads with a pump-action shotgun will certainly give you a frantic adrenaline rush. This is all made possible thanks to the fast movement, fantastic weapon sounds and enemy feedback.

Melee combat feels very responsive, with a variety of different animations for each weapon. Players can perform strong attacks which include spinning your blade in a circle motion; this is particularly effective when you get surrounded by a cluster of enemies. Moreover, gun-play feels equally as enjoyable with good reloading and firing animations. The deep sound of shotgun shells clashing against metal armour is a good example of how enemy feedback, in the form of audio, can help make combat feel even more satisfying. Speaking of gun-play, there are over 70 weapons to collect with their own individual weapon design. Admitting, a lot of the weapons are useless, but it’s still nice to see nonetheless.

In addition, the game adds new special abilities that include increasing the damage dealt by your weapons for a limited time. However, these abilities are very generic and lack any real innovation. Furthermore, the game has a loot system which gives you ‘gems’ that allow you to upgrade your weapons. Gems add specific elemental damage traits to your weapons in order to kill enemies that are vulnerable to certain elements. The gems were clearly designed to add more depth to the combat system, but instead they serve little to no purpose as you will acquire over 50 of them within three hours of playing the game. In addition, you can change them in the middle of any combat scenario, eliminating any real danger if the player didn’t prepare well. To add even more salt to the wound, the gems merely improve a percentage stat on your weapon. Personally, I feel as if the developers focused more on quantity, than quality; there is a lack of creativity in all the customization.

Unfortunately, the negatives don’t stop there; enemies {although plenty of variety} turn into bullet sponges, even with the best gems equipped. This made the game feel like a chore to play at times, especially on ‘hard’ difficulty.

In terms of story, shadow warrior 2 is a mixed bag; if it wasn’t for Lo Wang’s cheesy dialogue, I wouldn’t finish it. You play as Lo Wang and your aim throughout the game is to free a trapped soul named Kamiko who is stuck in your head. Throughout the game, you exchange some hilarious dialogue as your arrogant, sarcastic personality conflicts with hers. Personally, these exchanges are the best parts of the game as they highlight its potential to tell a good story, but at the end it fails dramatically down to level design and pacing. Characters are introduced with no back story or context, making me feel clueless at times.

Shadow Warrior 2 takes a very different path from the first game; there is now a questing system with loot and skill rewards upon completion. As well as the main quests, the game also has side quests which are very uninspiring as they generally consist of fetching ingredients and returning to the quest-giver.

The game features co-op allowing you and your friends to complete the story and collect loot together. I like the addition of co-op as it makes the grind a little more entertaining, but soon gets boring as you realise how repetitive it gets.

Thankfully, in terms of graphics, Shadow Warrior 2 is beautiful, environments have vivid colours, packed with good textured foliage and lighting effects. The game also has a respectable range of video settings to get the best performance possible, running well on a variety of different systems. Moreover, the soundtrack is blood pumping at times, helping the combat feel more satisfying and worthwhile.

VERDICT

Overall, Shadow Warrior 2 has a solid combat system which feels very satisfying for the first couple of hours. Furthermore the dialogue is hilarious at times, showing that the game does have its own personality. However, the story fails to keep me motivated due to uninteresting characters and horribly boring quests with little variety. Personally, the game feels very hollow with tons of wasted potential.

RATING: 6/10

 

 

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