Shadow Warrior series originated on the PC and it wasn’t until recently when it made its way to consoles. The series is known for its arcade-y combat, humorous writing and features some great melee encounters. Shadow Warrior 2 was released last year on the PC and it has been finally made available on the PS4 and Xbox One. So the question remains, is Shadow Warrior 2 a worthwhile port on the PS4 and Xbox One? Sadly this doesn’t appear to be case here for the sequel which not only is a step down technically from the first Shadow Warrior, it also features some game breaking bugs that can result in lose of progress.
The story in Shadow Warrior 2 is set 5 years after the original game. Players will assume the control of Lo Wang who has to now fight his way in a world invaded by demons from another dimension. The story is rather simple and gets the job done for the most part, however it is the hilarious writing for Lo Wang that makes the experience memorable. Story is never the strong part of Shadow Warrior series and it is all about the fast paced gameplay and the sequel is no exception here.
Shadow Warrior 2 improves on the mechanics laid out by the original game. The game features a wide range of weapons from guns, rocket launchers, shotgun to katana, axe and claws – the weapon arsenal in the game is fully fleshed out and it is fun to use each of the different weapon to thwart the demons. Since weapons will have limited ammo, you can also resort to melee weapons like the default katana and unlock more as you progress through the game. The melee combat here is fun although it doesn’t offer any deep combat, it is good for slashing enemies and splitting their guts.
The combat is not limited to just utilizing the weapons, there are abilities like dashing to avoid enemy attacks that works like in a melee brawler. You can dash around the enemies to avoid their attacks while slashing them when you get the chance. Of course you can also use your weapons to shoot them from a distance but it all depends on your play-style. The sense of sanctification that you can get from killing enemies with perfectly timed dodges is what makes the combat so fun. If you can master it, chances are you can easily finish the game without having to worry about the ammo. A well timed shot targeting a weak part of the enemy can also result in a critical hit that causes them more damage than normal.
The game ties its combat with a basic RPG system that involves leveling up to learn new skills and abilities. The skills that you can unlock are fairly diverse and never feel repetitive. Some of them can offer you health or defensive abilities while others are good for offense like elemental attacks. There is also a skill that can make the sword a powerhouse by letting you shoot a giant energy wave with each slash of the sword. All of these can be unlocked by leveling up the character and this is something that adds to the overall replay value.
The enemies also offer loot drops that are random but depending on your luck, you might get some highly useful items from them. Some of the dropped loot can be equipped on your weapon to increase or enhance their stats which comes useful in combat. Sadly the loot system is not perfect and the implementation here is rather wonky. There is not much incentive to utilize the loot here since the base game is easy and it is not like you can get any new weapons from the enemy. New weapons are unlocked when you beat some of the story missions and they can be enhanced by utilizing the loot dropped by the enemy.
Shadow Warrior 2 also tries to improve the replay value for some of the story missions by making each of the level random, so while the core mission will remain the same, the enemy variety and level design can change on each subsequent visit. You can replay a level to get different rewards depending on your preference. There is a wide variety of enemies from ninjas to robots so you will get a chance to test out your new weapons against them.
This brings me to the online multiplayer portion and this is something has been integrated really well into the game. You can play the game in co-op with up to four friends. The whole story is playable in co-op or you can attempt some of the tougher levels with friends in case you are stuck with any boss fight. The strategy changes in co-op since now you have more people in fights so it is all about the action instead of trying to dodge enemy attacks and attacking them when there is an opening.
While Shadow Warrior 2 is a fun game on its own and something that has held well from its original PC release, the release of the game on PS4 and Xbox One is not without its issues. If you played the original Shadow Warrior, you might have trouble adjusting to the sequel which now runs at 30 FPS. There is also a major save bug that can make you lose progress with auto save, although the developers are looking into fixing it. Lastly the game has a tendency to introduce clipping which makes the character get stuck in weird places with no way to get them out of it aside from loading the game. These issues weren’t as severe when I played the game but they are still worth mentioning here.
Shadow Warrior 2 Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: hadow Warrior 2 is a first-person shooter video game developed by indie studio Flying Wild Hog and published by Devolver Digital. It is the sequel to the 2013 Shadow Warrior, the reboot of the 1997 original.
Shadow Warrior 2 is finally out on consoles but it is not a smooth transition. While the base game is solid and still holds well from the original PC release, the console port is buggy and the long load times and technical issues can get in the way of enjoying the game.