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Shadow Warrior 2 – “The Way of the Samurai” Review


Looking back and looking carefully back, one might already think that now the end of the last century is on the street. After all, this year the long-awaited new DOOM came out, and a little earlier in general Wolfenstein: The New Order. The situation is about the same now with cinema. Take, for example, the new Star Wars, Mad Max, or even the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The first part of Shadow Warrior, which is a relaunch of the series and in which jokes about genitals sounded more often than the screams of dismembered demons, was suddenly reborn and became one of the best shooters since the still old Borderlands 2.

In 2013, it already became clear that Shadow Warrior was giving way to a completely new game: almost nothing remained of the old school version of 1997 – except for parts of the setting and hardly recognizable enemies. So in an attempt to pacify a new “wave” of passionate love of players for everything new, or just to evoke a feeling of nostalgia, the Polish studio Flying Wild Hog decided to restart the Shadow Warrior franchise. And even though the new game turned out to be not bad at that time, she still could not grab the stars from the sky. Nevertheless, the publisher decided and gave the go-ahead for the continuation of the sensational game.


East edge


Developers took up the old and did what they did best. In general, Shadow Warrior 2 retains absolutely all the advantages of the previous part, however, this is very good. However, the only problem is that the sequel has not acquired anything radically new. On the other hand, it cannot be said that any fundamental changes would benefit the game.

The main character is still the same Lo Wan – a combination of universal coolness and unprecedented charisma. The guy, as before, regularly jokes, runs through the levels like a madman and chops demons into pieces together with other foreign evil spirits. Shadow Warrior 2 cannot boast of any deep history. Although, on the other hand, this game does not need it. After all, the essence of the gameplay to a large extent lies precisely in the fierce battles with the enemy. And the plot just as usual prompts you to arrange the next bloody meat grinder.

→ The levels are conventionally divided into many sections, where battles with enemies are already taking place.

However, the plot of Shadow Warrior 2 tells the story of a scientist named Kamiko, the daughter of a crime boss. So in one research complex, she studied the Qi energy and its effect on other people. And one fine day, as usual, everything went on for the best, after which the girl’s consciousness separated from the body and settled in the head of the main character – Luo Wang.

From now on, Luo Wang hears or “thinks” what the learned young lady is talking about. By the way, the lion’s share of jokes is based on these verbal skirmishes between the characters. Still, a woman who lives in a man’s head is at least fresh, unusual and just fun.

→ The closer you get to the finale, the larger the cannon becomes.

During the entire passage of Shadow Warrior 2, Luo Wan now has to take care of the girl’s well-being. After all, now it is necessary not only to return Kamiko’s body, but also to figure out how such a thing could have happened. Therefore, in general, all tasks are united by one single goal – to help the girl. You will have to look for some research diaries of the girl, then collect cards, or even scour in general in search of an access card to enter the next location. However, all these tasks are bred in order to arrange a high-quality and fun hack with firing on the sides. No more, no less. However, just like in the action games of the last century.


Travel spirit


And the same excellent Japanese flavor of Shadow Warrior is also in place. The spirit of the East is present literally everywhere: forests, mountains, temples, futuristic cities and even enemies, along with the main character, saturated with it. The only exception is the metropolis, because it generally resembles the scenery from the movie “Blade Runner”: it depicts a gloomy atmosphere, constant rains and man-made buildings. However, most of the scenery in other locations resembles more elements of Japanese architecture after all.

By the way, Luo Wan, along with his comrades, acquired a base. The base is also called in the spirit of Japanese traditions – “Dragon Mountain”. There are two shops in this place where you can buy some ammunition and items for improvements. In the end, it is in this place that the main character receives new tasks. Tasks, in turn, will be divided into side / additional and story tasks. With plot tasks, I think everything is clear. Another thing is additional: they make it possible to gain more experience, upgrade the character and even weapons.

→ Thanks to the slightly more spacious locations, it is a real pleasure to rush around the territory!

And upon arrival at a particular location, the first thing you pay attention to is the size. Without a doubt or exaggeration: the new battlefields have become slightly wider than those introduced in Shadow Warrior. Maps, in turn, will be generated in a completely random way – as planned by the developers, this detail should diversify the gameplay.

But back to the locations, because although they have grown in size, they still remain not too complicated. And yet, fighting hordes of creatures in some picturesque location, as before, is quite fun, so the size of some locations in the heat of battles sometimes does not matter, because you only think about how to shoot or cut off the next enemy’s hand.


The path of the samurai, doomed to death


Weapons abound in Shadow Warrior 2. Moreover, all weapons behave differently, and, in the end, they look great too. True, the minus is that the game often encourages you to use some kind of katana or any other cleaver, because there is not enough cartridges for machine guns, blasters, shotguns and pistols for all the hordes of evil. Although having made a couple of blows with a katana and looking at how the limbs of the enemies fly in all directions, and blood spurts out of them, you immediately forget about this minus.

→ It’s one thing when you run towards the end of the game with a huge cannon, and completely different when, with the help of improvements, you can already pick up two semiautomatic devices.

To put it bluntly, melee fights are much better worked out than the same skirmishes. The basis of the combat system of the second part is sharp dives, strikes and lunges from the shoulder. Skillfully and beautifully evading an enemy attack in melee or even ranged combat is far from a problem for the main character: the guy will deftly move from side to side, resembling the protagonist of Bloodborne.

But let’s not forget that Shadow Warrior 2 is a long game, so sooner or later such battles will get boring anyway. So, as if realizing that this could not be avoided, the developers decided to fill the game with a variety of (the same applies to the number) monsters: small, medium, large, huge and giants in general. And yet, towards the end, the game still loses its “fuse”, and endless and “meaty” battles still turn into a routine.


On cogs


Still, it’s worth delving into weapons. In Shadow Warrior 2, each weapon comes with a range of interesting stats, and these stats can still be improved through procedurally generated upgrades. Of course, the system hammers a big “bolt” on realism, but for that it makes sense to go through the game over and over again, each time collecting unique equipment. Weapons, in turn, have different rarities. Rarity will directly depend on the number of parameters being changed. The principle of operation, in turn, also changes in this regard.

So, for example, by attaching a certain modification to the cannon, it becomes possible to “double” the weapon. Like this? To put it simply: a copy of the weapon to which the mod was applied appears. As a result, you can shoot with two hands, although not very accurately, and reloading takes longer, but for that the number of cartridges in the “magazine” doubles.

→ For a cruel attitude towards enemies, the game will only reward.

Although these modifications are far from everything. In Shadow Warrior 2, there are also “elemental” improvements, “critical” and even “vampirism”. All this reminds of some kind of RPG paraphernalia, but rather in an interesting genre. And yet the most important thing in this system is that this “loot” works as it should. That is, you will not be faced with the fact that you have to chase endless numbers on the example of the monotonous and rather uniform The Division.

Separately, it should be said about the enemies, because some of them have resistance to one or another element, so you cannot dwell on the same type of damage, with a couple, so you can get into a difficult position.

There is one more nuance and it lies in the fact that some improvements are more suitable for one gun and worse for another. For example, the upgrade to the use of two rounds in conjunction with the accumulation of charge is more suitable for a shotgun than for an assault rifle. However, there will be no more serious nuances.


DIY hero


At the same time, you can carry eight types of weapons, although this is far from the limit, because the character can also be developed, accumulated experience and level up. Skill points can be distributed immediately across several specializations, which in turn are quite typical for role-playing games. However, it is interesting that skills in Shadow Warrior 2 are like ordinary things that can be obtained, for example, by completing tasks or by finding a killed enemy on the body. Although this is not all, because there are still chests that are scattered across all levels.

Skills are divided into active and passive. It’s not over, though. Not the end for the reason that Lo Wang can still carry with him an amulet, three unique improvements for armor and an aura, but which will only work in cooperative mode. At the very beginning of the game, there are many “branches” in the development of the main character. You can focus on close combat and exclude shooting – use only katanas, swords, daggers, chainsaws and much more.

→ During the passage of the main character, he will even be brought to the city of the future.

However, no one will bother you to create some exotic perversion. Without any problems, you can make a kind of parody of a magician who will inflict damage not with lead, but with the help of magic and actively use abilities. The most amusing thing is to change the style on the fly, depending on what situation you find yourself in.


Graphics and sound


Even at the announcement stage, the players were surprised by the pretty good graphics. And it struck in the first place for the reason that Shadow Warrior 2 is not a high-budget project, and therefore a game was created for relatively little money. So with the graphics in the game, everything is in order and even vegetation with effects looks gorgeous.

The sound, too, does not cause negative thoughts, and the music is perfectly matched: sometimes mad heavy music only enhances the impression of a furious and fast “meat grinder” that is unfolding on some lawn. Shots from weapons, screams, growls of evil spirits, conversations – everything in this regard is on top.

→ If you are bored with battles with hordes of monsters, then it’s time to pay attention to the cooperative mode.


Eventually


In fact, Shadow Warrior 2 is a kind of updated version of the first part. There were more maps, enemies, arsenal and history, in the end. This is bad? Of course not. After all, this is all the same charming game in which there are dynamic shootings, violent fights with the use of cold weapons, and where there is simply an incredibly “savory” cut.

And in case you are bored, then Shadow Warrior 2 has another small “trump card” – the cooperative mode. The bottom line is that the game can be played with three friends and this perfectly dilutes the gameplay. Because chopping, tearing, cutting and stuffing the enemies of lead in the company of friends is much more fun and interesting. Who knows, maybe even the co-op mode will provide the game with a rather long life, because it certainly won’t become less fun.

Shadow Warrior 2 continues the ideas of the series: “in the depths of its soul” the game is still the same pleasant bloody action game that was introduced to us back in 2013. The lack of new ideas and the continuation of old ones, but in greater numbers, will clearly delight fans.



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