Shadow Warrior 2 is an action adventure game developed by Flying Wild Hog and is a sequel to their reimagined Shadow Warrior of 2013, bring the classic Shadow Warrior of 1997. Following the tale of Lo Wang, 5 years after the previous game, we will be slashing through human and demon alike in a world changed drastically due to Wang’s choices in the first game. I reviewed the first game when it came out and gave it a pretty average score, let’s see if the sequel kicks it up a notch.
Set 5 years after Shadow Warrior, SW2’s world has changed quite a bit, with the ending of the last game kind of alluding to what the world would turn into. The battle at the gate and the war against shadow was won, but it only led to the two worlds interlinking themselves, Humans and Demons walking together and even working together at some points. Skipping over the transitioning period we start off in a world where demons are shopkeepers and the Yakuza even work closely with Demons.
Adding in new drugs, partnerships and Zilla’s quick rise in Chi-tech, which allows anyone to use Chi techniques, the world is much more dangerous and random than ever before. Lo Wang is seemingly out of the way, hiding from the limelight while working as a mercenary for hire, but since he is our protagonist that lonely lifestyle doesn’t last long. With a mission to save the daughter of a power client, the body becoming infected with a demonic soul and her soul being placed in your head we are sent down a rabbit hole of conspiracies and people trying to take advantage of us… Yeah that was a lot to explain, but the beginning portion of the game does like to throw a lot of information at you, even continuing on into the game itself.
The main mission for the story is to restore Kamiko, the daughter you “saved” to her body and stop the demonic forces from placing the world under their control. To do so you will work with the Yakuza, Zilla and Demons you met in the previous games on top of new faces appearing in this release.
The main story will last you just under 6 hours, with the additional side quests reaching closer to an 8 hour time mark. However, with SW2 you can run past a lot of enemies and rush towards the mission objects, completing it easily 100% in 6 hours. There is a New Game+ mode, for higher difficulties, as well as free roam after the final mission.
Similarly to the first game, SW2 is pretty simple to control, WASD for movement, mouse to aim, left click to attack and right click for iron sights with guns or alternative fire modes. You can dash with the Shift and sprint with double tapping of W, jumping with Space with the ability to double jump. SW2 is at its heart a run n gun/Hack n slash game, rapid slices with your melee weapons and emptying your clip into hordes of oncoming enemies.
A major improvement on the previous game, SW2 comes packed with 70 different melee and ranged weapons to pick from, equipping 8 different ones at once, easily swapped with the mouse wheel, either sliding it up and down or holding in for a weapon wheel. Each weapon has its own stats like damage, dps, reload, clip etc which can be improved through the use of augments, amulets etc. Shifting to almost an RPG system, with levelling up for perks and numbers all over the place to customise.
Thankfully, SW2 has done away with the “kill rooms” of the previous game, as in Shadow Warrior you had barriers that locked you into areas where you had to kill countless hordes of enemies to proceed. SW2 is more sandbox in its design, allowing you a few ways to approach a mission and the ability to run and jump around enemies, completely bypassing them if you didn’t want to spend the time killing them all.
As you kill enemies you will gain karma for skill points, Zillyen as currency for buying from merchants, ammo for guns, new weapons and augmentation items. Skill points can be used on skills to improve damage of certain moves, unlock new Chi techniques, more health or Chi pool, regeneration or elemental damage and more. Augmentations can be placed onto your equipment, 3 per weapon, which can improve speed, damage, elemental damage and other specific abilities. The wide array of customisation at hand is a welcome change to the system but it seems a tad bit underdeveloped, feeling rather rushed into the game as a mechanic.
Overall thoughts and feelings
The music in SW2 continues in the style of the first game, oriental with a heavy infusion or rock and synthetic sounds. Chimes and lutes blend very quickly into electric guitars, drums and more, pushing aside the setting to convert it into the game of action and energy. While it might sound jarring on paper, the change in style is flawless in its delivery, keeping a high quality of sound throughout. However the music can be drowned out by the sheer number of sound effects going off at once, with explosions, death and guns all going off at once. The music can also find it hard to play at times, leaving travelling devoid of a soundtrack and replaced with ambient noises.
While Shadow Warrior 2 beats out the first game in almost every area it has changed so much it feels as if it hasn’t had enough time spent on the individual areas. Parkour can be annoying to pull off at times, glitches can occur when traversing the map and it’s objects, Kamiko’s character is way too annoying to have constantly yapping in your head, a lot of the missions and characters make no sense in the setting. Besides the changes, the combat still keeps a bit of repetitiveness from the first game, becoming too much of a rapid click then a tactical experience, there are way too many enemies at some points, seemingly trying to lengthen a lot of the mission’s lengths.
Overall Shadow Warrior 2 gets an 8/10, a vast improvement over the first game that sadly still contains a lot of flaws. The story is rather boring, becoming a side piece to the action laid before you. Customisation is very welcoming but slightly underdeveloped, with the inclusion of multiplayer it adds even more to it however. It runs smooth and gameplay is satisfying, if a bit repetitive at higher difficulties and later missions. The soundtrack accompanies it amazingly and kills feel great with some rather straightforward but fun bosses. If you liked the first game you will love this addition to the franchise.