By Marisa Alexander / February 20th, 2023
|Title||Shadow Warrior 3|
|Developer||Flying Wild Hog|
|Release Date||March 1st, 2022|
|Genre||First Person Shooter|
|Platform||PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S|
Alright, back on this rodeo with the definitive edition of Shadow Warrior 3. Not too much has changed from last time, but Flying Wild Hog has addressed some of my issues. The big two things are New Game+ and Survival Mode. At launch, these were never a thing so once you beat the game, there was nothing else to do barring practicing the higher difficulties or speedrunning. Since the game was roughly five hours blind, this really hurt the game’s perception. Now, at least there is more of a foundation to improve your skills and keep playing.
On PC, the game runs much better as well. Consistent framerate throughout the entire adventure, though the pre-rendered cutscenes were jarring with their much lower cinematic framerate. Barring version differences, however, there were many updates to improve the game’s collision detection, bugs and more. This time, Wang only decided once to not grab the ledge. There were also balance updates to the weapon roster and how difficulty was handled. The weapon changes, in actual play, didn’t seem to really do much of anything significant in my experience. The fully upgraded katana still solves many of your problems. As for difficulty, enemy health was made the same and the amount of health you get via finishers was adjusted to be different across each option. Hardcore mode was also added, along with a mode where you have lives, getting more by doing finishers. Making enemy health the same and adjusting health via finishers was definitely great since it helped speed up play.
In terms of the Definitive Edition‘s main additions, New Game+ allows you to 100% the game without having to start from scratch. In addition, the demonic bunny lord, which is essentially a stronger version of one of the existing yokai, spawns in the arenas without having to kill the rabbits. While it doesn’t mean all that much in the grand scheme of things, the bunny lord’s appearance is another wrinkle to combat.
Now with the bigger addition of the two, Survival Mode offers three arenas where you try to rack up the best score possible. Wang starts without most of his weapons and upgrades but can now get one new weapon or upgrade per round. It’s nice that Flying Wild Hog did it this way, as there is an element of strategy to working with what you got to make it feel different from the main game. Otherwise, it would be more of the same.
That said, this doesn’t solve the issue on how the game imitates one style of game without really doing much to stand out. The grappling hook is still slower, restrictive, and vulnerable compared to the meathook in Doom Eternal, making it not fun to use. Weapon switching is fine in itself but the best damage output is still the grenade launcher and Basilisk. While I have used the revolver for longer shots, the dual SMGs to clean up smaller mobs and chip away the Hattori’s parry stance, and the shuriken launcher to stun enemies, they still feel less significant than the two big guns and katana. It feels silly to me that the best solution to practically every elite enemy is just the two big guns since the damage output is just that far ahead. Run out of ammo? Just use the katana to cleave your way to victory until you get it all back.
Overall, while a bit better than before, I still don’t believe Shadow Warrior 3 lives up to its predecessors. At least this time I think it’s much better to spend on when it goes on sale. Truth be told, I do respect Flying Wild Hog on continually working on the game to make it the best they want it to be. The game was actually a bit more fun thanks to knowing how to play the game better. If anything, that is probably something to celebrate, especially since if you already own the game, the Definitive Edition is free.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Devolver DigitalFlying Wild HogGame ReviewPCShadow Warrior 3