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Shadow Warrior review for Xbox One, PS4


Platform: Xbox One
Also On: PS4
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Flying Hog Games
Medium: Blu-ray
Players: 1
Online: Yes
ESRB: M

If you missed out on Shadow Warrior when it released on PC last year, then you missed one of the better attempts at revitalizing and capturing the spirit of one of the more unique 90’s first-person shooters. I don’t know that I’d call Shadow Warrior the best FPS out there, but it’s certainly one of the more humorous, fun entries in the genre in recent years. You’ll need a high tolerance for Wang jokes and other off-color humor, but provided you can overcome that “hurdle”, Shadow Warrior is certainly worth a look on Xbox One and PS4.

The first thing that stands out to me is that this is a great looking game. There’s little, if anything, lost in transition from PC to console here. The game runs smoothly at 60 frames per second, textures glisten with detail, and the varied environments remain colorful and outstanding. The gore is still very over the top, evident five minutes in as you start slicing away at demons and humans with your blade. There’s also some fun callbacks to the classic PC version of Shadow Warrior with secret rooms designed to mimic the pixelated, blocky level layouts of the original ‘97 release by 3D Realms. Visual fidelity comes as no surprise considering this is a Flying Wild Hog developed title, who did equally fantastic work on their previous release, Hard Reset.

shadow_warrior_5Shadow Warrior is also just gleefully fun to play. Enemies aren’t particularly smart, the A.I. isn’t going to win any awards, but it’s also remarkably satisfying to dash around while slicing into demons, grabbing their hearts as an instant-kill weapon, and knocking away limbs with well placed bullets. The controls are a little awkward transitioning from PC to console, aiming is done by lightly pressing the right trigger, or clicking in the right analog. It’s not ideal, especially if you’re used to standard shooter controls on consoles, but Shadow Warrior compensates by giving you a generous lock-on range when you bring up the sights, making headshots pretty easy to pull off.

While there are a number of areas in Shadow Warrior that are pretty linear, there’s enough freedom in most stages to allow for some exploration, Hidden areas, bonus items, and extra cash/karma are scattered around liberally enough to make it worth looking for. Your character upgrades, granted by spending the aforementioned cash and karma, are useful without becoming too powerful. Weapon variety is fun and varied, and the ability to mix melee attacks with ranged is a nice change of pace from other FPS titles.

Shadow Warrior  Screen 3The story in Shadow Warrior is over-the-top, but the characters match the pace of the world they’re rampaging through. The lead character, Lo Wang, is bonded to a smart-ass demon early on, and the banter between the two can be pretty entertaining. The juxtaposition between violence and humor is handled well overall, and while there’s undeniably some juvenile humor here, it’s certainly presented and better done than something like Duke Nukem Forever.

I certainly found Shadow Warrior to be a really fun throwback to not only the original game, but ‘90’s FPS titles in general. I enjoyed the game on PC, and found myself enjoying it just as much on consoles via the Xbox One version we review here. Technically it’s a pretty sound port, outside of the occasional screen-tearing here and there. Shadow Warrior is a really solid looking game, with an excellent mix of shooting, melee, and humor, creating an overall package that’s certainly enticing for new-gen console owners. I’d certainly urge you to check it out, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Grade: B+