+Absolutely stunning graphics on PC and PlayStation 4
+Smooth combat and ability mechanics allowing for fluid movement during encounters
+Some of the best sound effects to date allowing for a cinematic like experience
+70 guns to enjoy and equip based on your play style
-The dick jokes finally get old
-Minor crashing issues on PlayStation 4
Y’know, it’s hard not to point it out first thing that comes to life in the game. To kids, it’s almost embarrassing to say without making a few laughs, and us adults tend to face palm at the word, but Shadow Warrior 2 wants you to know that people seem to have a penis. Something that the game seems to be rife with due to Wang’s abundance of dick jokes. So much so that eventually, one of the NPC’s began to question Lo Wang and his constant use of them.
But leave it to Wang to ignore the joke and carry on with his crass sense of humour that’s so perfectly married to its hysterical, but over-the-top first person action, and it’s RPG-elements to amuse us. But without pause, Shadow Warrior 2 emains true to what it is; a action-based first-person shooter in an open-world environment, with side-quests galore to enjoy. One that boasts its open ended four-person co-op for fans to enjoy. It’s a game I’ve come to love and enjoy on par with the likes of the 2016 release of DOOM.The only saddening part about the game? I want to punch it in its perfect shiny white teeth due to its over abundance of dick jokes, which at times, take away from the games immersion. More-often-than-not, I find Wang himself rarely silent from his normal chatty self, and in that moment I watch as my swords swing forth as urns in the distance explode. As my blades are sheathed, I instantly draw out my shotgun named.. The Boner.. And shoot my oncoming enemies as they come charging my direction.
As their chunks of flesh and gore go flying in the air, bathing Wang in a bath of blood, I can’t help, but laugh in those precious few seconds. Within seconds I’ve once more drawn out another weapon, a chainsaw as an Oni comes charging at me, only to grin and rev it up as I slash it forward, cutting the creature before me in half like a cow awaiting a proper butchering. This is where the jokes are, however, they create this knee-slap-worthy grotesque humor, that is irritating to enjoy at times, but clever and edgy in its execution. Weapons such as an LMG shaped as a penis continue on the abundance of dick jokes, but doesn’t seem to stop there, but continues on extensively through the rest of the title.However, some low-brow ones exist with weapons such as the Genocider, a joke that both begins and ends within the moments of its name. It’s not one that has much meaning and one I don’t go back to often. It’s a weapon that feels dated, without purpose, and has no place in my current load-outs. While the weapons joke exists in some cruel manner, as the word genocide is defined as the mass murder of an entire race or nation, I understand why it was used in the large scheme of things. After all, we are discussing the murder of an entire demon race.
Even transgender jokes aren’t exempt from this game. One pops up later in when Wang’s side-comment is made that he has a small woman inside of him. After all, his guide is a voice in his head, a spirit that has been carefully bound to him while her body is healed. The NPC takes it as he’s coming out as transgender, placing the joke in light, and putting Wang into an uneasy place as he once more takes off to complete a quest. Before long, you probably can guess what comes at the forefront.Unlike more serious games of the genre, Shadow Warrior 2 decides to stick it out, keeping itself distanced from titles such as DOOM, a game that does rather similar feats, but at the cost that it doesn’t need to do so with vulgarity, knee-slap worthy jokes, and over-the-top humor. In DOOM the premise is simple. There are demons, you kill demons, the caricatures of evil don’t exactly talk, so their death serves the purpose you need to know before our protagonist gets back on his way to an endless blood bath at the cost of demonic lives.
However, Shadow Warrior 2 puts that to the side, and quickly follows in the steps of Duke Nukem. Except Shadow Warrior 2 isn’t concerned about the no-talking part or invading alien’s taking the babes away. Shadow Warrior 2 also does a few things right. Combat’s fast, there are endless amounts of demons to fight, and fast paced movement is key when it comes to trading blows with your demonic threats. Combat and movement is fluid as one expects, translating quite well between both controller and mouse and keyboard arrangements for fans to enjoy.Abilities such as double jump and dash are welcomed sights to see when used in combination, allowing me to traverse the titles open-world with an over abundance of ease and swiftness. With having eight weapons equipped and upgraded as I please, combat was more enjoyable than ever before. Dodging and countering attacks with ease is without question, providing one of the most fluid experiences I’ve had in recent days with a shooter title. Luckily, switching weapons comes at ease thanks to a dedicated button for doing so, allowing for you to choose exactly how you wish to encounter enemies. If you want to fall faster instead of gliding through the air as I do, there’s actually a dedicated button for that too, allowing you to hit the ground faster than you did when you parted ways with it.
If it sounds far-fetched, it’s not, but what sounds like it could be? 70 available weapons for players to find and use. Each also come with their own models and different stats. Whether it’s the feudal Chinese style bows to the games unique crafted weapons of bone and destruction, no single weapon is the same. Some of the weapons can easily be obtained by simply going through specific procedures. Each of these weapons can also slot three gems, each gem providing unique benefits to each one, which offers players a chance to set combat up to the way they prefer.
PC Hardware Used
Motherboard: MSI Z720 M7 Game Ready Plus
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB MSI Game Ready Plus
CPU: I7-7700K | OCed to 4.2GHz
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB RAM
Cooling Unit: Thermal Take V8 GTS Radiator
Weapons can offer plenty of usability even in a second playthrough. While using them side-by-side Wang’s special abilities, players can choose to heal themselves while also using a force-style push ability, and shadow spikes to impale their enemies. Since combat in Shadow Warrior 2 comes as an art style in its own, pretend each scenario is its own fresh canvas, allowing for players to paint a picture of their own in demonic blood and body parts.
As combat got under way, I learned to enjoy the game as it is, trying different gems in different weapons while hopping across the map in varied side-quests. Some requesting me to take out a specified mini-boss while others had me make once Oni-infested areas so that the is once more safe for others. Whether you want the RPG elements or not, they can be easily ignored when darting through the game, hunting down new gem drops or gun drops in order to take them for a ride.
Shadow Warrior 2 – PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Publisher: Flying Wild Hog
Release Date: Available Now
Environments and animations are as beautiful as one would expect, rather quickly losing their appeal from time to time when revisiting them more often than you would expect. Level designs at times can feel purely designed with a shooter game in mind, while procedural levels feel open, aimless, and only designed with combat in mine, but this works for me, someone looking to dart aimlessly about in combat. I didn’t find any reason to find discomfort in what I did whether it was in a setting from Feudal Asia or neon-lit backdrops from a cyberpunk style metropolis.
No matter how I felt about the environments, the dick jokes, or even the RPG elements, Shadow Warrior 2 is as rewarding as you could imagine at its core. It’s a game that offers rather thrilling combat, allowing me to dive in, turn off my brain, and hack apart any threat that the game puts before me. I even find a chance to kick it back with some of my friends, dispatching a few demons, and then heading home for the night.
For those who can ignore the overabundance of dick jokes, lewd humor, and facepalm worthy moments, you’ll find yourself in one of this generation’s most enjoyable titles. One that brings the shooter genre to life and doesn’t ignore what it was developed to do.
Our review is based upon a retail version we were provided by the publisher of the game. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.