I wish someone had said this to me earlier, so now I’m saying it to you: if you like action games, or shooters, or games with state-of-the-art graphics, or games with loot, or games with a weird sense of humor, or games with randomly generated levels…
You should play Shadow Warrior 2.
I liked Flying Wild Hog’s first game, Hard Reset. It was a weird Cyberpunk thing; a fast-paced shooter that mixed well-optimized and shiny visuals with the twitch gameplay of old-school games. Not surprising, considering the developer has veterans of Painkiller studio People Can Fly in their number.
Hard Reset was an amazing piece of PC graphics tech with a decent game strapped onto it.
The first Shadow Warrior is where the studio found a heart.
Shadow Warrior was an unlikely candidate for a reboot. The original game released in 1997, and it was essentially a sequel to Duke Nukem 3D…only they replaced Duke Nukem with a vaguely racist generic old Asian man named Lo Wang.
Lo Wang cut guys with a sword, among other things, and shouted jokes that frequently jumped over the offensive line in all the wrong ways.
Flying Wild Hog threw out almost everything from the original game in their new entry. They made Lo Wang a much younger man, toned down the racist overtones in the humor in favor of a cominbation of lewd childishness and clever insight, and added a heavily refined update of the gameplay from Hard Reset.
And the melee combat. My goodness! Few games even attempt first-person melee combat, and those that do often fail. But Shadow Warrior is one of the standouts. It gave players tremendous control over a samurai sword, with delightfully brutal results.
The Shadow Warrior reboot was way better than it had any right to be. When the sequel was announced, it was instantly on my radar. Wide-open, procedurally generated stages? Tons of weapons to pick up and upgrade with random items? Even better graphics? Sign me up!!!
But then, as often happens when trying to keep up with a million game releases…I forgot about it. And then it launched on PC…and the console versions were delayed. I have a decent PC, but I wanted to see what they could do on console.
So I waited.
A couple of weeks ago, Shadow Warrior 2 finally launched on consoles, as a download-only release.
And it’s totally awesome.
I’ve been playing the game on Xbox One, and I’m only a few hours in, but man. It’s easily going to be one of my favorites this year. If you have even the slightest interest in it, you should check it out. It has incredibly smooth, fast gameplay, a fun story, and some of the best graphics I’ve seen on the system so far. And you can cut things to pieces with a bunch of different swords.
It’s like a cross between Borderlands 2 and the recent Doom reboot. If that doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will!