DOOM is undoubtedly one of the greatest shooters of this generation, and easily one of the best games to release this year. It’s perfect modernisation of fast, frantic shooting and truly glorious demon slaying was just so much better than it really deserved to be and I feel a little empty having played it a coupe of time. I crave that type of action again, which is why Shadow Warrior 2 has been grabbing my attention.
Shadow Warrior 2 could be easily described as a DOOM/ Borderlands hybrid set in a raunchy oriental setting. It’s got ridiculously fast gunplay coupled with the thrill of loot drops and weapon upgrades, which you can play through entirely with a friend in co-op. It’s bloody and brutal, and according to critics it’s yet another shooter in 2016 that you really should be paying attention to.
Wang’s stupid wisecracks kept me smiling from start to finish, and the variety of melee and ranged combat and the loot that dropped from it was satisfying enough that I came back with friends for more. It’s great fun in solo or in co-op, and its small degree of randomization is enough to keep the action fresh for at least a few runs.
Thankfully for Shadow Warrior 2, it’s still a great game to play. Picking off enemies one-by-one with a railgun, demolishing them point-blank with a shotgun, and ripping through them with a chainsaw are just a few of the exciting moments that make it hard to put down. However, if you want to experience its action-packed highs, then disregard its groan-inducing lows and skip the cutscenes.
Completely changing up the structure of a sequel is always a risky move, but Flying Wild Hog should be commended for nailing its goal of making a deeper, replayable, more open shooter. On top of all of this praise, it’s one of the finest examples of how to make a procedurally-generated game not feel like you’re playing through a repetitive algorithm like a certain ambitious space exploration game. It’s an absolute joy to report that the Wang is back and better than ever.
I’m disappointed, though. I had a decent enough time, but bigger isn’t always better. The sequel’s lost the tightness, the Wang-to-the-wall absurdity that defined Shadow Warrior, and improvements to combat plus a raft of new visual gags (check out the night sky) don’t make up for how flaccid and aimless the game feels for much of its 12-hour running time.
I could sit at this keyboard gushing about Shadow Warrior 2 all damn day. It’s a ton of fun. There are armfuls of weapons and even more upgrades to customize them with. You can upgrade your Wang with a host of skills. Movement in the game is a dream and there’s nothing here to really get in the way of your fun. It’s a damned beautiful PC game. Eventually, I even twigged to the stupid humor that’s a hallmark of the series. Who can hate on a game with Stan Bush music? I can’t.
It’s out now on PC, Xbox One and PS4 for $40.
Last Updated: October 14, 2016