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    Shadow Warrior: Review

    Shadow Warrior is, on the surface, a remake of a 3D Realms “classic” that takes on a strange mixture of oriental mythology and combines it with tons of enemies and lots of violence. That’s what the original game did, and it’s pretty much exactly what this modern version, developed by Flying Wild Hog, does too. It is, if you want to sum it up in a nutshell, an old fashioned first-person shooter with modern looks and physics.

    The result is that the player if they are old enough can relive one of the FPS most enjoyable eras, in which levels were large, enemies plentiful and ammunition never scarce. Like games of old (and completely unlike many new games) Shadow Warrior never limits the player to the amount of weapons they can carry, meaning that through the game’s campaign the player gathers up a massive arsenal of varied and awesome weapons. All of the weapons can be upgraded, too, meaning that towards the end of the game, the player will be in possession of a really incredible variety of guns that all feature alternate fire and a host of improvements. And then there’s always the trusty katana for variety…

    Shadow Warrior has a surprisingly convoluted plot for a game that is paying homage to the past. It tells the story of Lo Wang (yes, it has the puerile humour of the old games as well), a guy who needs to get hold on an ancient sword named the Nobitsura Kage. But this blade is more than just a valuable antique, and as the story progresses, Wang finds out that he has become embroiled in a tale of angels, demons and ancient revenge.

    Not that the player is likely to care. There is a lot of exploring to do in the massive levels (which are sometimes a little too large) and there is even more fighting to do. Enemies are generally extremely thick on the ground, and the game follows the ancient formula of ‘fight, explore, fight, explore, fight some more’ that was a mainstay in first person shooters in the ‘90s.

    And just like those games, Shadow Warrior is about all-out action. There is no finesse or stealth required; just a quick trigger finger will do. And yet, character progression is surprisingly deep, with numerous options for building a stronger Lo Wang available to the player. The game is incessantly fast paced, and never really lets up too much on the blast-o-rama that it starts out with.

    With tons of action and a strong reverence for the roots of first-person shooters, Shadow Warrior is the game the Duke Nukem Forever was supposed to be.

    But that also means that it is extremely anachronistic, and it’s non-stop action, pubescent humour and other oddities may not sit well with modern audiences, who have come to expect more from the first-person shooter genre. It will likely appeal more to those who want to relive the old days of endless enemy fragging, rather than to those that expect a game that demands a little more than just good aim and fast reactions. It is, ultimately, mindless violence in the way that we haven’t seen in video games for more than a decade now, and this is sure to be its biggest downfall.

    With that said, Shadow Warrior can be immense amounts of fun, so long as you don’t expect too much from it. And if you can look past the school locker room humour, even better. It’s a decent homage in a time that might not really want one.


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