Shadow Warrior Review: Wang-Tastic

Chopping dudes clean in half with a katana and bathing the scenery with absurd fountains of blood spray is wicked gross fun, and the fact it’s one of the first things you do in Shadow Warrior gets the old-school slaughtering action off to a rocking start. This, of course, comes moments after an appropriately cheesy intro sequence featuring Stan Bush’s “You’ve Got The Touch” — you know, the theme from the 1986 animated Transformers film? It tugs on all the right nerd nostalgia strings, as does many bright moments in this goofy first-person gore-fest.

Shadow Warrior
Platform: PC
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Release Date: September 26, 2013
MSRP: $39.99

A reboot of the 1997 original, Shadow Warrior jumpkicks its way into a more modern gaming era with a mix of old-school ideas and fresh flourishes that translate surprisingly well. But the crass Duke Nukem-esque humor? That depends on your threshold for dick jokes and playful riffing on cliche Asian stereotypes. The game’s tongue-in-cheek protagonist Lo Wang takes every opportunity to curse profusely, make crude jokes, and swing his surname around with wanton abandon. Its not high-brow by any means, though the antics are worth a cringe-worthy chuckle every now and then.

Wang’s lengthy retro journey kicks off with a straightforward gig to recover an ancient mystical sword, the Nobitsura Kage, but soon spins out into a demon slaughtering jaunt through the underworld and back. Pairing up with an impish spirit named Hoji gives access Wang otherworldly powers that come in handy while blasting and cleaving through undead hordes. It also adds some nice character depth to contrast against Wang’s snappy one-liners. This unlikely duo’s distinct personalities also play off each other well, making for some entertaining exchanges during the down time between battles.

The somber tone and poetic nature of the underlying story, however, doesn’t quite jive with Shadow Warrior’s more raucous moments and scatological humor. It’s an odd fit at times, and the story’s length feels like it drags on in the later half, stretching things farther than the action-heavy focus merits. Fortunately, finding new ways of cutting people and things in twain proves a compelling reason to stick with it.

Join the Conversation   

* required field

By submitting a comment here you grant GameFront a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.

1 Comment on Shadow Warrior Review: Wang-Tastic


On October 4, 2013 at 7:40 pm

I found the game to be quite fun and enjoyable to play.

However, the humor was pathetic in this game. The original game was way funnier. People who get offended by stuff like that are just weak minded and sad, to be honest.

Flying Wild Hog took away one of the key parts of the game, the original humor, acted like a bunch of pu$$ies, and said “wha wha, we don’t want to offend people because we’re scared of the repercussions, so here’s some politically correct garbage humor” The game was not funny at all. And i thought that not only ’s comments in this game were too far and few in between, but also that they, as I mentioned before, were just not funny and very unoriginal.

This type of crap reminds me of Robocop 2, where he got reprogrammed by OCP to be all nice to people and not kill anything, instead spouting of life tips and applauding proper behavior, rather than act in his true nature. This politically correct BS has no place in this form of media. God forbid we offend the letter writers and the weak minded people who get upset over words.

All that aside, that really is my only gripe with the game (well, execpt for the fact that Lo sinks like a rock if you try to swim in water, exploding into a bloody meess if you dare try).

Fighting with the sword is a lot of fun, almost as fun as it was in Metal Gear Rising. I found myself using the sword over the firearms for nearly the entire game. The violence was pretty good, as was the model damage (but sadly still, not matching the level of Soldier of Fortune 2, and I doubt anything ever will) and for a single player FPS, they actually gave you a relatively long campaign compared to a lot of other FPS games. It’s definately worth the purchase, but I would also note that the original game is free to play on steam.