Leading up to the weekend, we’ve taken a close look at some of the reviews out there for Flying Wild Hog’s Shadow Warrior 3. For the most part, people enjoy the action, but they’re wondering why it’s so “basic.”
This is where we’ve come to when it comes to the genre. Just because a game isn’t escalated on the level of, say, Destiny 2’s latest expansion or Halo Infinite, it’s considered “basic”? While Shadow Warrior 3 may not be as serious as those two entries, there is something that’s it packing more than enough of – fun.
Even with a lightweight story and some jokes that are simply, well, Wang level, Shadow Warrior 3 more than delivers the goods if you’re down for some good old-fashioned run-and-gun first-person action. It doesn’t get much better than this when it comes to that, um, “basic” level.
With Shadow Warrior 3, Forget the Story, Bring On the Carnage
The story, what little is here, follows Lo Wang and his “sidekick” Orochi Zilla, who are on a mission to hunt after an ancient dragon that they’ve accidentally awakened. Look, long story short, Wang f*cked up royale with cheese, and now he’s got to make things right. This means heading into parts unknown with his new traversal skills, using his sword and whatever guns he can get his hands on to mow them down like they were grass – or cottage cheese, considering how much they splatter here.
As we stated above, the story is flimsy, although the opening stage laying everything out is a bit hilarious. And Wang is his usual “charming” self. By that, we mean a total d-bag who knows his way around weaponry. That said, there are worse heroes you can get behind. Like, for instance, the nameless idiots you try and maneuver within Battlefield 2042. (Name me one memorable character from that game. Just one. Yeah, thought so.)
Where Shadow Warrior 3 excels is in its brutal, bloody combat. It’s highly satisfactory to mow down soldiers in a number of creative ways. Whether it’s with an up-close cinematic fatality or simply slicing sickos into sashimi, they have it coming. You can crank up the difficulty and make it a challenge if you want. However, be prepared to have a good ol’ time just cutting and running like crazy.
On top of that, the new traversal tools are pretty cool. There’s a grappling hook that lends a hand, though it’s not as influential as, say, Halo Infinite. It would’ve been nice to see it factor into combat at some point. As it stands, it’s a great way to get around. You’ve got double jumping, sliding, and using force pushes to send some idiot flying off into the distance. (Well, it’s not legally a force push, mind you. Just sort of like it.)
A Slick Looking Game (On Next Gen)
Now, the somewhat bad news with Shadow Warrior 3 is that it’s a bit stunted on previous gen. Not that it looks bad, but the frame rate can be a little jumpy, and things can get chaotic without seeing what’s happening. But, if you’re playing on Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, or a really nice PC, you’re in better luck.
The frame rate on these formats is silky smooth and runs at a pretty nice 60 FPS. Things do get a little nuts up close with an enemy, but not to the point you don’t have fun with what you’re seeing. The cinemas could’ve used a little more detail here and there, but overall, this game is a looker, especially when the blood starts flying. I’m also a fan of the creative enemy design, including some pumped-up bunnies that are looking to hunt you for a change.
The soundtrack is pretty awesome, with nice beats playing throughout each stage, and a whole lot of great sound FX. Wang’s quips are constant as well, though not all of the jokes land. Still, some people might be used to that, so if you’re a Shadow Warrior fan, you’re getting more of what you love here.
Pass the Wang, Leave the Bodies
While Shadow Warrior 3 isn’t quite a leap forward for first-person shooters, it does revert back to a style we’ve gotten used to from years past – and that’s fine with us. What it lacks in substance and nuance, it more than makes up for with ridiculous gameplay, wild carnage, and a mostly smooth presentation (on newer systems). It’s not Wang’s greatest stand, but at least it doesn’t go limp. (OK, enough Wang jokes, we’ll, ahem, straighten out? OK, we’re done.)
VIBE Score: 7.5/10
Need another great retro shooter? Give Powerslave: Exhumed a look!