Shadow Warrior 3 review – Small, evil, and bawdy
Recently, shooters have become somehow too confused. Vital such, with a bunch of cases and responsibilities. Bring that, climb in there, help him, crush the bull with a tractor. Sometimes you just want a dynamic action game, but large studios often do not care about the desires of marginal players who want to expect high-quality, well-developed shooting from shooters. Companies believe in numbers, and the numbers say that more is more profitable. All the rest is unimportant.
Against the background of many other AAA shooters, Shadow Warrior 3 is perceived as a child of nonconformism, which specifically does everything to spite the big guys. It gives the player a big gun, puts them in beautiful linear levels, and puts hordes of monsters in their way in various combinations. Everything, nothing more for about 10 hours of passage. The developers even teased the authors of Dying Light 2, emphasizing that Shadow Warrior can also be played for 500 hours … True if you replay the game 60 times. Sounds cheeky! But, having cut off everything superfluous, the Flying Wild Hog team forgot about the necessary things here and there.
No time to explain – piss them all
The plot in Shadow Warrior 3 is dumb and straightforward, but in this case it’s even stylish in a sense. All you need to know: the protagonist named Lo Wang is an assassin with a flashing katana, dazzling charisma, and a rather nondescript level of intelligence. Because of his heroic deeds, the world at first almost fell from the invasion of demons, and now (again through the fault of the hero) was on the verge of death when a giant Chinese dragon arrived on the planet. To defeat the monster, Lo Wan teams up with his enemy Orochi Zilla – a genius, a billionaire, and just a bastard.
In general, old familiar characters find themselves in new roles, and the protagonist even grew his hair. There is a development and rethinking of the ideas of the original. It breaks to compare with Mass Effect 2, but the numbers in the title are still different – it will not work, unfortunately. And already on the example of history, it is noticeable how the developers sweep aside everything superfluous and make fun of it themselves. In the last part, the writers tried to create furious lore with their own apocalypse and a lot of details about everyone and everyone. Even the story of the conception of a black samurai, who forged swords for the hero, managed to set out over a couple of dozen diaries – rather mournful, to be honest. But in the sequel, everything is simple: the story of the destroyer dragon? What the hell is she to you? “In short, the dragon is on the loose and now he seeks to devour the whole earth.” It’s enough.
The main thing that remained in place and almost untouched is humor. The jokes in Shadow Warrior 3 are just like the boomer shooter genre should be: greasy, idiotic, and indecent. Lo Wan never shuts up for a second and creates the impression that he has spent his whole life, not in martial arts training, but performing at stand-ups in smoky Chinese restaurants. However, the very quality of the gags has changed a little. Since sex has now become a dangerous topic, all the dirty jokes have turned into toilets. Of course, to each his own, but, as for me, because of this, the third part did not receive its unbridled charisma. Personally, I like sex, but the spoiled air is somehow not at all.
Cheap and angry
And now we’ve come to a point that fans of the sequel may not like very much. And, on the contrary, to please everyone who prefers the first part of the remake (if anyone is not in the know, Shadow Warrior 2013 is a remake of a game from the 90s ). So, the second part has moved away from the canons of the old-school corridor action and has essentially turned into a looter shooter. And now the developers have given back and returned the gameplay to its roots.
No health bars and kilometer-long lists of elemental weaknesses on every second enemy, which made monsters look more like walking wikis. Procedural generation was also removed: the levels are again made by hand and extremely linear in structure. You can get lost only at the terminal stage of topographic cretinism. You won’t have to be distracted from the gameplay by the monotonous equipment management – there is simply no weapon customization. Each gun can be upgraded, but the upgrade system offers only three rudimentary options, so the issue is solved with a couple of clicks.
The whole gameplay is now devoted to one thing – the dynamics. A shootout in the arena, a short run along the corridor, a couple of jumps over the abyss, a moment of admiration for the landscape in the background, and again a horde of monsters that needs to be processed into sausage. It may sound monotonous, but it is done stylishly and tastefully. Even despite the general feeling of cheapness, the gameplay evokes the right emotions – excitement, not melancholy.
In a word, the classics and old school again became the foundation of the game. However, the developers did not hit at all in antiquity, pulling off a few chips from Doom Eternal. The battles here take place according to a very similar scenario: ammunition is always short, and in order to have enough for large reptiles, you need to knock out cartridges from endlessly appearing small opponents. Only we will beat out not with a chainsaw, but with a canonical katana. Hook cat is here too. Yes, here it is not tied to a double-barreled shotgun, but the essence of the mechanics is the same: the gadget allows you to be attracted to demons and cling to special green rings, jumping over cliffs and flying into the rear of opponents. They also brought traps so as not to pick all sorts of Fart Obariyons for half an hour (this is not my invention, the demons are really called that). You lure them to a giant meat grinder, one shot – and the monsters turn into minced meat, not having time to justify their name.
There were no spectacular executions. Finishing off was done not just for the sake of satisfying bloodthirstiness … Although who am I kidding, primarily for the sake of bloodshed, of course. But for each execution, Luo Wang receives different rewards depending on the victim. Ripped out the eye of an ice youkai – got an ice bomb. Dismantled the laser shogun into parts – got a cool laser bomb. Well, the crushed heads of samurai work like mega-first aid kits.
Even though Shadow Warrior 3 doesn’t have many ideas of its own, one of them is very pleasing. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found it a little unfair that monsters often wield giant bazookas, huge machine guns, and other strictly exclusive toys that the player can’t use. Here, this unfortunate misunderstanding is corrected: if you want to get a demon weapon, then you just need to tear it off along with the owner’s hands. Machine guns can be taken from Obariyon, a firework cannon can be taken from Devil-in-the-Box, and a giant drill can be extracted from the insides of a mole monster, like Big Daddy from Bio Shock. It is clear that with such a demonic weapon, any horde of monsters is destroyed only in this way.
However, with all the pluses and enthusiasm to call Shadow Warrior 3 an ideal shooter, the language will not turn. Budget and compromises are here from all the cracks. The same drill of the Big Daddy is a mega-cool thing, of course. You rush straight into the crowd, the monsters turn into bloody dust … But you can’t see anything. The weapon model blocks the entire view. And for the first time when I picked up a firework cannon, at first I could not understand at all what it was actually doing. It seems like you press a button, something happens, and the demons die, but why is it a mystery? It turned out that small shells fly out to the side, just very quickly, and then they themselves aim at the target … During the chaos of battles, it can be extremely difficult to understand that you shot someone with this contraption and even hit someone.
The game is full of such flaws. Not bad taste, but precisely that of roughness, underweight. Everything shows that the developers know how to make the right meat shooter. But the studio clearly did not have enough money and time. The cartridges here are the same for everything: picking up blue bullets, you replenish the ammunition of a revolver, a sawmill, and a grenade launcher. There are fashionable parkour mechanics but in strictly defined places. The gentle ninja Lo Wan refuses to run on rough stone and wood – only on tickling green grass.
The campaign takes about seven hours to complete. As much as I’m a fan of concentrated, short games without fillers, this is still not enough – even chamber story games tend to run longer. But most of all I was touched by the superficial study of the katana. The sword this time turned out to be as light as possible, it is not felt in the hands, and the weight of the attacks is also not felt – Lo Wan just dazedly kneads the air in front of him with an ethereal, weightless wand. Intentionally or unintentionally, the developers pushed the katana into the background, turning it from the main weapon into an appendage to the gun. If the first part could be almost completely completed with one sword in hand, then in the prequel, fighting in close combat is simply not interesting. You remember about the katana only when you need to replenish your ammunition. And since the shotgun bugs here and shoots non-stop even without cartridges,
As a result, Shadow Warrior 3 leaves the same impression as the previous parts: it is far from perfect, but still catchy. This is a category B trash action movie. Modest, blunt, but evil in a good way. Against the backdrop of 3D stores and the tedium that AAA games hit in pursuit of the audience’s wallets, Shadow Warrior 3, even with all the shortcomings, looks quite cheerful.
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