The Shadow Warrior series, despite its inherent bright Asian flavor, is created in European Poland itself. The stereotype about the “Polish shooter” is hardly appropriate here – you can’t blame the developers from Flying Wild Hog for hack work. In any case, this is true for the previous parts, each of which showed a clear example of how to make shooters in the original sense of the word. The Shadow Warrior 3 comes out seven years after the release of the previous one. There was no doubt that the developers would remain true to themselves and the usual style. But were they able to keep the bar of quality?
What is madness in Shadow Warrior 3
The adventures of Lo Wang, the protagonist of the series, have never been serious. This, if greatly simplified – in fact, the intensity of trash and waste was at an unattainable height. The new part immediately demonstrates adherence to traditions – in the very first scene, we are shown Lo Wang in his underwear inside his ruined dwelling, around which a giant dragon flies. Wang is hysterical: the dragon released into the wild threatens to devour the entire Earth, and now there is no one to fight him – it was Lo Wang who had to do this, but, as you understand, he screwed up completely.
However, there is still a chance to win – if our greatest assassin of all time gathers strength and accepts the help of his former boss named Orochi Zilla, with whom he now has far from the best relationship. There were no other allies, except for Hoji, one of the ancient gods and part-time only friend of Lo Wang, there was no one – he would have to act alone. Hoji, however, is also of little use – he died, and only a mask remained of him, with which you can still bring this grumpy deity back to life.
Complicated story? Still – if you do not know thoroughly what happened in the previous parts, then the plot appears as a phantasmagoria filled with absurd humor. The scriptwriters decided to do almost without cuts – here you have a mate, and cruelty with blood and meat, only the “nudity” was slightly censored. All this, however, is done in a frivolous style, as if for fun.
Shadow Warrior 3: Only forward!
To match the style and appearance. The locations are bizarre one another, as are the enemies: meat bellows, biomechanical underground drills, levitating samurai heads firing from a laser cannon – these are just a small part of the bestiary of Lo Wang’s enemies.
There are a dozen varieties of monsters here: from the simplest, which randomly “spawn” everywhere and everywhere, to the most complex, without defeating which you can’t move forward. If ordinary opponents can be killed with a couple of hits from a revolver, then their “senior comrades” are much stronger and are typical “bullet sponges” – you will have to spend a large number of rounds or use “finishing points” (from one to three – depending on type of monster) to perform an instant kill. Finishing, among other things, gives a unique weapon, usually literally torn from the enemy with meat, such as an eye-killer or a laser grenade. The finishing animations are a bit long, but for the first time you look at them with interest – the developers’ imagination is working to its fullest, so the procedure for extracting an impromptu weapon from an enemy carcass is impressive.
Sometimes, mechanisms such as a giant meat grinder or a spiked disc can be used to kill, activated with a shot. You should not look for logic in their presence at the levels: in the first place in Shadow Warrior 3 is drive, endless shooting and a complete shutdown of the brain.
Level design works on the same principle and is simple to primitiveness: by performing relatively simple parkour tricks, run through the corridor location to an open area where you need to kill all the enemies in order to open the passage to the next part of the level; repeat several times until the chapter ends. In general, developers do not go beyond such a system, which, to be honest, is not very encouraging – the game, although short, can get bored very quickly.
Shadow Warrior 3 is the quintessential shooter
When you finally understand how the gameplay is built, then there is a feeling of deja vu: somewhere I have already seen it all, only on a smaller scale. And, so this is Serious Sam in person, for nothing, that without huge spaces and in an Asian entourage! The similarity with the icon of spinal militants is clearly intentional, and the authors do not hesitate to be ironic about this: for example, one of the varieties of enemies is screaming demolitionists, an analogue of the headless kamikaze from Sam.
Parkour, although it is present at every level, does not make any difference – these are not jumping on the walls on the verge of what is possible from Ghostrunner, but, on the contrary, even slightly relaxing flights on a grappling hook and running along walls carefully illuminated in green in those places where to move. While running to the next “room” with enemies, you can listen to the conversations of the heroes – Lo Wan and his comrades usually carry funny nonsense to match the general mood of the game.
As far as the shooting itself is concerned, the authors of SW3 did not let us down: the shooting does not stop for a moment, otherwise you simply cannot survive. The only thing that confuses you a little is the monotony in using different types of weapons: shoot until you run out of ammo, then switch to the next barrel – you don’t have to choose tactics for each monster here, with rare exceptions.
Shadow Warrior 3 is perfect for those who want to shoot without fuss, without bothering with plot twists and turns and without bothering with special mental activity. If the Poles tried to create an action movie in which the most important thing is the battle, then they succeeded. Asian style with a hint of madness and general frivolity only emphasize the main idea of the game – bright and dynamic shooter gameplay and nothing more.
Pros: shooting; slightly crazy Asian-style surroundings; black humor.
Cons: short duration, monotonous level design.