Friday, October 28, 2016

Review - Shadow Warrior 2

Shadow Warrior 2 is a sequel to Flying Wild Hog's 2013 reboot titled Shadow Warrior. The game was released on PC Oct 13, 2016 and will soon be released on PS4 and Xbox One in early 2017. Shadow Warrior 2 is a first-person shooter set five years after the events of the Shadow Warrior reboot. But this time around the developers decided to change things up.

In Shadow Warrior 2 they decided to add co-op with up to four other players, but along with this feature it was decided to make the game almost like a Borderlands clone. I have mixed feelings about this, and in the long run I am pretty disappointed with these new features. But, before we get into the disappointments, lets talk about the good things about Shadow Warrior 2.

First off, the gun play is very solid. From the impact that each gun makes, to the damage seen on the enemies, this is what you want in a FPS. Each weapon in it self is useful, I didn't feel at any time that I had to always use my most powerful weapons. And boy are there a lot of weapons to choose from this time. I think in total there is about 70 different guns, which are spread across a bunch of categories such as swords, short blades, light firearms, medium firearms, heavy firearms, shotguns, launchers, projectiles, and special weapons. So, major props to the devs on creating a solid and improved gun play in this sequel. This could be the only reason why you should be playing Shadow Warrior 2, for a fun solid FPS experience. Shadow Warrior 2 more then delivers on that experience.

Secondly, Lo Wang is back with his funny wisecracks, sometimes the jokes are a miss but most of the time I found my self laughing out loud. The game doesn't take it self seriously, so there is a lot of jokes and over all silliness, which makes for an entertaining world and characters. The voice acting is solid and well delivered. The music and sound effects are top notch, no complaints here. Though, sometimes Lo Wang can repeat some lines to often. Not really a big deal but it gets tiring hearing "Mess with the bull, you get the Wang" joke line to often.

Lastly, co-op, it is lots of fun and a welcome addition to the game. Shadow Warrior 2 allows up to four players to play the game together. Of course the more players in your game, the harder the enemies get. Working as a team can be satisfying and challenging at the same time. It is a better trade off then say a tire-some death match type multiplayer feature.

But these are the only up sides to Shadow Warrior 2. Now comes the negatives. First off, the linier levels have been swapped out for a semi-open world where each level is procedurally generated. I understand this had to be done in order to make co-op work. But the levels are created so badly, that more times then none I was lost. I found it confusing and frustrating to find the objectives. And lets talk about those objectives. In an effort to try to make Shadow Warrior 2 like a Borderlands clone, instead of having the game play just keep flowing, they have you constantly going back to a town which acts as your main hub. The town is where you can sell and buy items and get your quests from. Other then the main story line quests, all the side quests are just boring fetch quests. Go here and collect this, go there and kill this, or go here and find this. The side quests are all the same and boring. No real interesting back-story or any real substance to them. If it wasn't for the fun and solid gun play, I would have gotten really bored doing these side quests.

The second big issue is the story-line. Pretty much this game sets you up for a sequel or future DLC and is way to simple, where is the seriousness like in the first game. I understand it is suppose to be this way, but the story of the Immortals in the first game had some heart to the over all silly and simple main story line. Shadow Warrior 2 doesn't have any of that. I was disappointed about this, and really disappointed that it sets you up for another game. But at least this wasn't the reason why I kept playing, again the strong gun play is what kept me coming back.

Lastly, and this is the biggest fault of the game, is the loot system and inventory. The loot is mostly garbage. The epics and rares you get have penalties that out weigh the benefits. I rarely used them, most of the time I stuck with blues and whites and just used the ones that increased the damage in the guns and melee weapons. I never once felt satisfied with any of the loot that dropped in the game. The loot in the shops were just as bad. If you are going to design a game to be based around loot, then do a better job, because the loot system in Shadow Warrior 2 needs to be reworked from the ground up. I don't see why others praised the loot in Shadow Warrior 2, because it just plain sucks. Same goes for the inventory, its a mess and unorganized. They made it so hard to figure out what loot item is the best choice. And when you wanted to sell things it was a chore. I ended up just keeping most of it in my inventory and never selling anything. I made enough money finding cash in the levels, so I didn't really care to go back into that mess of an inventory just to try and sell junk. Also, going into the inventory to much took away from the action, and that is not good.

Over all Shadow Warrior 2 has a balance between the good and bad. But like I said many times before, Shadow Warrior 2 has a solid, strong, and wildly fun gun play. This is the game's strength and really the only reason to play. Flying Wild Hog can make one hell of a shooter that is hard to stop playing. But when the action slows down to much, you can't wait to get back to the shooting. I rate this game with a final score of:

JB The Gamer's Final Rating on Shadow Warrior 2: 3 out of 5 - Good Game.

I only hope that once they make Shadow Warrior 3, if they stick with the loot system and procedurally generated levels, that Flying Wild Hog does a much better job with these features. The loot system needs to be interesting and the levels need to be better designed. But this shouldn't stop you from playing Shadow Warrior 2. If you are looking for a damn good FPS to play since DOOM. Then Shadow Warrior 2 is that game and you can play it with up to four of your friends. But if you are looking for the next Borderlands fix, this isn't that game.

Here is some of that fun gun play in action, check it out.

Shadow Warrior 2 is available now on PC at GOG.COM & STEAM. PS4 & Xbox One Early 2017.

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