Shadow Warriors 2
If you have never come across the Shadow Warrior series throughout your gaming career, it’s a very particular brand of violence and nonsense. It prides itself on its wacky melee combat and unique storylines. However, the most important ingredient to this recipe has always been the crass humour that borders on stupidity. It’s something that is hard to do well without coming across as offensive or insensitive, just look at the more recent Duke Nukem’s or Rogue Warrior for example. Thankfully though, Shadow Warrior 2 continues this trend and does so fantastically.
This game plays rather like frantic, action-heavy FPS titles such as Borderlands, Rage, Bulletstorm or Doom only with the playground style humour, you would find in the likes of Duke Nukem or the South Park series of games. It’s a combo that perhaps had no right to come off at all. Yet it delivers some of the most competent melee combat your likely to see within this generation of gaming.
P is for Penis
Let’s address this right off the bat. This game is far from a nuanced and calculated attempt at comedy. In all respects, it’s scraping the barrel with each juvenile gag that it delivers and yet, there’s a certain charm about it that leaves you giggling at the ridiculousness of it all. Every joke seems to be related to a phallic symbol, every interaction either involves ludicrous amounts of violence or crude, childish remarks and yet, we wouldn’t change it for the world.
Alongside this silliness, you’ll find that Shadow Warrior 2 actually has a quite interesting core storyline that sees you trying to free the spirit of a woman from your head as she acts as a guide throughout your journey. It’s this mix between real, genuine story and comical drivel that makes this approach work. The only criticism would be that some of the jokes have not aged well, even in the short time since the game’s release. Some of these remarks will have you biting your tongue or wincing on the protagonist’s behalf. However, there is never a feeling of intent in these remarks and feels more like a sign of the times. So if you can look past this, you’ll still find joy in the story.
Run ‘n’ Gun to the Extreme
This game takes a premise that has been around for a long time and ups the versatility and action in all areas. Running and gunning has been around since the original Doom in the nineties but never has it been so fluid as it has in today’s gaming landscape. Shadow Warrior 2 takes this to the extreme with a diverse and wacky set of weapons ranging from rifles, the rocket launchers to melee katanas, all of which you can change on the fly and you can carry up to eight weapons at one time. It’s chaos in the most beautiful way imaginable.
This is further complemented with movement and jumping mechanics that allow you to feel like the unstoppable ninja that you are. You can jump exceedingly high, drop with speed and precision. Then into the bargain, there is also the abilities your character can use such as shadow strikes, healing and force pushes that take the insanity and crank it up another notch.
Environments fall to the wayside
It would be very easy to say that this game has visuals that aren’t all that impressive but that’s not exactly true. The game has a series of animations, enemy designs and a range of varied textures that really do serve the game well. The combat visuals are the main point of praise, with the animations and gore offering a very visceral experience. However, the drawback for this up close and personal, visceral look is environments that blend into the background. This is partly due to their procedurally generated nature limiting the wow factor they can deliver. However, it can leave the moments where the battling eases to be a bit hollow and lifeless. Thankfully, the moments where you aren’t chainsawing mutants are few and far between.
Ninjas, knobs and no holds barred
Overall, Shadow Warrior 2 takes the slapstick formula of the first game and cranks up the silly factor to produce a game that is equal parts action-packed and ridiculous in the best way possible. The art style is brilliant if you don’t look beyond what is happening within a few feet of your character and the combat itself is relentless and impeccably designed.
You even get a story that is competently put together, which admittedly is something you wouldn’t expect at face value. The only issue is the jokes that have aged like milk in the light of 2020 but as a whole, this game is a real success and shows that the wacky side of gaming is here to stay.
- The frantic and wacky combat system
- Tonnes of weapons to choose from
- Competent storyline
- Juvenile humour which is not for everyone
- Procedural environments can be underwhelming
Download Shadow Warriors 2
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
- P-200, 32 MB RAM