For every Oscar winning performance, you need a Adam Sandler movie. For every bit of Mozart, you need a Fast Food Song. And for every The Last Of Us, you need a Bulletstorm.
What we are saying is that not everything needs to be serious and have a message behind it, sometimes if is ok to blow of steam and shoot things in the face just for the fun of it and that is why it is great to see some updated version of those sorts of games that thrived in years gone by.
Whilst the most recent Duke Nukem was an awful example of this, you only need to look at the success of Wolfenstein: The New Order both critically and commercially to see there is a market for this sort of thing, if done right and in Shadow Warrior, you have another shining example of how to do it.
For those who don’t know, Shadow Warrior was a first person shooter of sorts that was made by 3D Realms and was the lesser known of their games when compared to Duke Nukem, but it still followed the same tongue in cheek approach to the genre as its more famous stablemate. This version however isn’t made by 3D Realms, with Flying Wild Hog taking over development duties and Devolver Digital publishing.
The lead character is know as Lo Wang…So that sets things up already and from the very start it is clear the game is designed to be over the top and will encourage you to just go on a path of destruction, destroying all that stand before you. Mixing it up with a little bit of colourful dialogue along the way and a bit of a nonsensical story to give your journey meaning!
You take a dash of ancient Japanese myth, add in a pinch of alternate worlds fueled by the tears of Ameona, which have dried up because of her incestuous relationship with her brother Hoji. A teaspoon of demons, gods and other things that make little sense and you have a one of the most bizarre settings you can hope to come across.
What makes it work so well though, is that the way everything is played out, shares a lot with a film such as Airplane or Naked Gun. Every knows it is stupid and odd, but it is played super straight which only adds to the laughs and there is plenty of laugh out loud moments within the game as you cannot help yourself despite knowing it is all very low brow and silly.
Gameplay is really well done here too as you mix up uses of swords, pistols and other weapons, along with various new powers you pick up along the way. The pacing of what you get and when works really well and keeps the game feeling fresh throughout, you get a nice warm fuzzy feeling when you discover something new and cannot wait to play with your new toy.
Much like a game such as Bulletstorm, Shadow Warrior wants you to get creative with your attacks and encourages you to mix it up. It doesn’t want you to stick with one weapon, as that is boring and Shadow Warrior doesn’t do boring. There are built in leaderboards and challenges which add to replayabilty and you will want to replay it, because it really is just so much fun. There are additional modes unlocked once you finish the game that are well worth checking out too.
There are 17 chapters contained within the main story mode, along with the addition of new play options once finished and a Survival mode to add to that too. There are many, many hours to be had and the lulls in the fun, where the game seems to drag a bit, are few and far between. Meaning for the most part it is you, your demon partner and your weapons tearing through the bad guys again and again.
What you have here is a game that isn’t big, nor is it clever, but it really is absolutely a joy to play. It looks good visually and just plays really well. Humour is well placed and doesn’t really ever start to get too much. Shadow Warrior is a game that you simply must own, because it represents a by gone era where videogames didn’t take themselves at all seriously. And we all need a bit of fun in our lives.