Originally, Shadow Warrior is a 1997 game by 3D Realms, the studio behind the legendary shooting game Duke Nukem 3D. In the first release, we encounter Lo Wang, a bodyguard fighting demonic creatures from an unearthly world summoned by his former boss, a businessman plotting to take over Japan. Three years ago the Polish studio Flying Wild Hog completed a remake of the game, simply entitled Shadow Warrior. The Warsaw-based company, who created the Philip K. Dick-inspired cyberpunk shooting game Hard Reset, were praised by both critics and gamers for their remake of 3D Realm’s cult game. Shadow Warrior 2 is a follow-up of the 2013 production.
Fans of the 2013 Shadow Warrior will be happy to know that Flying Wild Hog didn’t introduce any revolutionary changes to its format. You still play as Lo Wang, and his characteristic lewd sense of humour and lust for demon slaying are unchanged. That’s not to say the new instalment won’t include any betterments. Many voices claimed that the 2013 game was sometimes too linear. So this time around the environment is more open than before. Not only are the levels bigger and more tiered, but also numerous paths lead to their completion, which wasn’t always the case in the first part. At the request of many gamers, the firearms were made more sophisticated and can now be upgraded and customised. There are a whopping 70 weapons to choose from in Shadow Warrior 2.
A superhuman ninja
The vertical expansion of the levels brought about additions to the main character’s range of movements. Now Lo Wang can climb walls, jump from one rooftop to another, etc. To add to the fun, the game designers at Flying Wild Hog decided to get rid of fall damage. Thanks to this you can jump and climb around freely, without having to worry that you’ll die when you land somewhere. That’s why the character is similar to a ‘superhuman ninja from anime movies’, as Shadow Warrior 2 designer Paweł Kowalewski put it in an interview for PC Gamer made at the PAX East gaming convention in Boston, where the game was recently presented. The game was subsequently praised for its old-school vibe and melee combat system which enables slashing your opponents in half or cutting off their limbs. One article even deemed Shadow Warrior 2 the Best Polish Video Game of 2016. It may still be a little early to jump to such conclusions but the production will definitely be a strong contender for that unofficial title.
A blade for hire
In Shadow Warrior 2, we find Lo Wang five years later in his struggle against his boss and his demonic minions. The balance between the Earth and the Shadow Realm, the unearthly home of the demons, is still destabilised. Consequently Japan has fallen under the rule of the shadows. Wang lives on the outskirts of this new Japan making a living as a blade for hire. He rapidly finds himself forced to undertake yet another battle with hordes of bloodthirsty demons. Shadow Warrior 2 will be available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It is set to premiere in Autumn 2016 and will feature a 4 player co-op mode.
Author: Marek Kępa, May 2016