It’s been a rough time for FPS fans with a lot more misses than hits when it comes to new releases, so to say we were ready for a straight up blaster that doesn’t get bogged down with story or complex ideas is an understatement. Well… thank God for the team at Flying Wild Hog and the third instalment in their Shadow Warrior series, as Shadow Warrior 3 is a very much needed breath of fresh air on the FPS scene.
You get thrown head first into the action with next to no time to work out what’s happening, beyond knowing that you have a gun and a number of tight controls to help you dish out the pain… bliss. That’s not to say there isn’t a tale at its core, taking place a good few years after the events of the second game in a “Neo-Feudal Japan” you fill the boots of corporate enforcer-turned-freelance mercenary Lo Wang again, who with the help of old enemy Orochi Zilla, has to track down and defeat an ancient dragon that they have accidentally awakened… along with hordes deadly demons. And on the whole it holds everything together… just. It does wear thin in places and also descends into utter nonsense in other places. But let’s be honest you’re not here to be told a story are you? No… you’re here to shoot things and look uber-cool doing it at the same time, and that’s something Shadow Warrior 3 dishes out in spades.
Gameplay and gunplay are super tight, taking a leaf from the books of Doom Eternal and Titanfall 2 – where movement is key to success, as you dart around arenas blasting bad guys, grabbing pick-ups and looking to pull off your next over the top move. Each battle feels more like a complex puzzle of blood, guts and empty shell cases, as you take a deep breath and don’t stop until the last demon hits the ground. Fast and frantic don’t even come close to covering this one. But fear not, you have a beefy arsenal of boomsticks to pick from and dish out the pain ranging from hand cannons to overpowered shotguns – there is a place and time for each. If all else fails though you can slice your target in two with your katana.
When not killing the horde you’ll mostly be running to the next fight with a little bit of exploring along the way through the world. This entails you wall-running and grapple hooking your way around, which often rewards you with an unlock or an upgrade point. These are then used to make yourself or your weapons that bit more powerful. The only issue we have with the game is that it goes at such a break neck speed that it’s over just as quickly as you started. Clocking in at about four and a half to five hours to clear, which for some will be the perfect run time, but also doesn’t give you time to soak in the often stunning world. Also worth noting if you miss an unlock along the way, you’re out of luck as there is no going back – unless you start the game all over again. This is a pain if you’re looking to create a fully engorged Wang. A chapter select would be a welcome addition at some point down the line. Also worth noting is Lo Wang is a bit of a smartass chatter box again who is prone to throwing out one liners left and right. For returning fans this will not be a surprise in Shadow Warrior 3, just beware it all starts to wear thin quickly here.
Shadow Warrior 3 isn’t clever, smart or very deep, but what it is, is… bombastic! It’s over the top and a blast from start to finish. Grabbing a solid FPS core, it turns it up to 11 and is a must if you’re looking to scratch that itch on your trigger finger.
An Xbox One review copy of Shadow Warrior 3 was provided by Flying Wild Hog’s PR team, and the game is available now on PC, Xbox One and PS4 for around £40.
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