Shadow Warrior Review

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Shadow Warrior is as subtle as a blood-tornado spattering through your house on what was previously a very relaxing Sunday morning. This is pure throwback FPS fun, an updated take on the '97 3D Realms original. As such, the objectives are barely removed from that of the archetypal Doom: kill everything, find the key and get to the door. As the katana-wielding warrior Lo Wang, you must slash and shoot your way through swathes of demons and hired goons whilst making irresistible wisecracks, mostly relating to ‘Wang’ being slang for ‘Johnson’.

The katana is one of the game’s finest assets. Rather than acting as a last resort like Freeman’s crowbar, it soon becomes the go-to weapon. This is not only due to its efficiency – Wang’s an expert swordsman – but also because of its novelty amid the rest of the arsenal. Upgrading the requisite skill tree grants high-powered attacks that’ll turn the katana from a reliable limb-lopper to a super noggin-chopper. Once your powers are suitably upgraded though, it can be a problem to recall the mouse button and key combinations (often involving your movement keys) for each ability.

The rural Japanese settings, complete with bamboo forests, Koi ponds and traditional temples are beautiful, but the demonic forces you battle are lacking the personality and variation in classes that would’ve made fighting them more enjoyable. It’s all too easy to hack your way through an entire level without anything standing out, and the game’s adherence to early genre staples does serve to stifle its ambition.

Still, old school FPS fans will be happy here, and there’s some memorable nods to action genre tropes such as the bantering sidekick, intro sing-a-long and Wang lifting a car’s handbrake, sending it careening down into the bad guys whilst knowingly pleading ‘Please explode, please explode!’. Whereas Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon focus was '80s sci-fi action neon, synths and cyborgs, Shadow Warrior is a tribute to kung-fu movies and Manga, with its tongue so firmly in cheek, it’s burst through and been chopped off.

Version Tested: PC. Played for 7 hours.

6 / 10

  • A barrel of laughs/blood/explosions
  • Excellent katana action
  • Powers bound to movement keys
  • Lack of enemy variants

Click above for enlarged Shadow Warrior Screenshots


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Highest Rated Comment

Bloodstorm's Avatar


Posted 17:39 on 27 September 2013

User Comments

PeteWorth's Avatar


Nice one, Clockpunk I'll definitely give it a go! Ah, Unreal Tournament - now you're talking :D
Posted 13:18 on 30 September 2013

pblive@ Clockpunk

As I said at the time, I liked it, bar the loading and checkpoints. I'll probably like this too, but I think it will drop quickly in price so I'll wait a bit.
Posted 23:40 on 28 September 2013
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk@ pblive

Hah, cheeky buggers! :p

I have ardently defended the game from its many detractors since release - funnily enough I fired it up a couple of weeks ago, and the multiplayer is still fantastic (and was active). Really captures the old school feeling that I have missed since the days of the first Unreal Tournament. The game did have a few flaws, that cannot be denied, but they are minor blips from a game that was so much fun to play.

Not going to go on a rant again, but I hope that sufficiently sums up my thoughts - bought Day One, and no regrets at all. ;)
Posted 21:01 on 28 September 2013
PeteWorth's Avatar


Hah! Now I'm expecting something special :)

pblive - it's certainly a fair assessment and a strong stance amid the ongoing discussion about scoring.
Posted 18:44 on 27 September 2013

pblive@ Bloodstorm

Heh. Man the lifeboats!

I still hold that scores should reflect your personal enjoyment not a cold analytical view of the game.
Posted 17:55 on 27 September 2013
Bloodstorm's Avatar


Posted 17:39 on 27 September 2013
PeteWorth's Avatar


You’re welcome, pblive. As for the capped reviews, 300 words isn’t much so I had to condense those thoughts into ‘the game’s adherence to early genre staples does serve to stifle its ambition’. They’re not too restrictive when an accompanying piece is required, but one was not sought in this instance as a rapid turnaround was required by the site.

I’d say yes for the scoring – I loved playing Shadow Warrior but as someone tasked with critically assessing it, I have to take a step back and try to look objectively at it without getting caught up in my own super-joy. It absolutely does not hold up against those higher-rated games now and it won't in the future.

Clockpunk: I stayed away from DN:F but I’ll hopefully get round to it at some point. What did you think?
Posted 17:13 on 27 September 2013
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm@ PeteWorth

I've had more fun with this game than those over-rated games.

Bioshock is also considered one of the biggest let downs in gaming history.
Posted 13:16 on 27 September 2013
Clockpunk's Avatar


^ I second pb's questions. ;)

Also: thoughts on Duke Nukem: Forever? :p
Posted 13:13 on 27 September 2013

pblive@ PeteWorth

Thanks for the clarification, Pete. Surely this would have useful in the actual review, though?

I'm interested in whether you find these capped reviews restrictive?

Also, is that how scoring should work? If something is as fun as something else but technically inferior it needs to be marked down? I'd then suggest that scoring should be broken down in to sub sections. I mean, I enjoyed Disney's Tangled, but it was in no was as well plotted or carefully constructed as Inception, so does it deserve less of a score?
Posted 12:48 on 27 September 2013
PeteWorth's Avatar


Clockpunk: I was there, in the ruddy thick of it - but I can’t give a higher score merely due to nostalgia.

Pblive: It’s not just a matter of mechanics and although Shadow Warrior is a lot of fun to play It’s still a reboot of a game that was already a repackaged version of Duke Nukem 3D. I can’t attribute the same worth to a game, in 2013, that’s so creatively derivative when you’ve games such as BioShock and Dishonored (both widely regarded as at least ‘nine’) with completely original and brilliantly crafted worlds (besides their many other facets). There has to be a gap of more than two ‘points’ between these titles to show this disparity.
Posted 12:42 on 27 September 2013
altaranga's Avatar

altaranga@ pblive

You need to read all the other articles to get a full picture, pb.

Oh... wait a minute...
Posted 11:59 on 27 September 2013
Clockpunk's Avatar


"old school FPS fans will be happy here"

Perhaps the reviewer is too young to have partaken in the classics of the genre, hence the low score... this is all I needed, though.
Posted 11:17 on 27 September 2013


Sorry to be complaining about reviews again (you're more than welcome to criticise mine, they're far from perfect) but I got no sense of what makes the game only a 6/10 from this review. Much as I put less emphasis on looking at scores these days, I think that without a score this game review would be a glowing endorsement of the game, bar a few small niggles.

I'm not saying the review is badly written, it isn't, but there seem to be a lack of personal feelings about the gameplay or, for that matter, much in the way of criticism about the mechanics, bar one sentence.

Maybe it's me, maybe it's (dare I say it) the stifled review word count. I don't know.
Posted 10:16 on 27 September 2013

Game Stats

Shadow Warrior
Out of 10
Shadow Warrior
  • A barrel of laughs/blood/explosions
  • Excellent katana action
  • Powers bound to movement keys
  • Lack of enemy variants
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 04/10/2013
Platforms: PC , PS4 , Xbox One
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 2,058 12
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