This time of year is often packed with triple a releases looking to make the holiday season and often times because of this smaller studios or titles can get overlooked. Luckily Shadow Warrior 2 was not one of them, developed by Flying Wild Hog and published by Devolver Digital this game is a follow up to the 2013 Shadow Warrior remake. Set five years after the events of the first game and the collision which has partial merged the Earth with the demon world.
In all the story is strong in some parts, weak in other and the dialogue is frequently cringe worthy. Reminding me heavily of the movie Big Trouble in Little China. The plot is serviceable in what it does however this is the kind of 80’s movie cheese that will not appeal to everyone. There is also a lot of juvenile humor, early on you are sent after a demon rod which basically turns the mission into a dick joke. Wang also often uses his own name for bad puns or humor, I found these events to be comical but I understand that not everyone will.
The music and sound design here is excellent and again reminds me of an 80s movie, sometimes kicking into hard rock, once a song that reminded me of thrash punk and of course Warrior by Stan Bush during the final boss fight. I also found the sounds for the weapons to be fairly good. The grenade launchers and shotguns sounded like they had a real impact. None of the weapons sounded realistic, but they had a nice arcade quality to them from a sound standpoint.
The game is fast paced and fluid, with the ability to double jump, dash, air dash and in some places run up walls. As you get kills you earn karma which is the in game experience, leveling up gives you skill points which lets you unlock skills ranging from more ammo to minimal health regeneration. I also found the game to be tough but fair, with no parts that had a sudden difficulty spike. The game introduced mechanics as you play at a reasonable pace. At this point its up to you get better or fail.
There are also tons of weapons, everything ranging from your trusty katana to automatic grenade launchers and mini guns. The game is anything but subtle and with weapon modifiers that increase damage, give you health regen or add elemental damage there is a lot to work with here.
On a technical level this game isn’t the most beautiful that exists, but it runs very well. The engine has been well optimized and other than one intense section where the framerate dropped I was consistently at over 100 fps with the game on ultra. The level of polish by the developers here should be commended. There are some bad textures here and there, but I feel the cohesive art style more than makes up for this.
In all I found the story to be enjoyable, the combat to be fast paced with plenty of fuck yeah moments and the length was nice. I clocked in around 11 hours on my first play through, with a lot of secrets and multiple difficulty settings some of which are level locked I have no problems recommending this game. My final verdict for this game is buy it.