Published by: Devolver Digital
Developed by: Flying Wild Hog
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5, playing a PlayStation 4 copy
I have played many games in my 20+ years of video gaming but few, if any, are more of a gore fest than the Shadow Warrior’s Franchise. If you have a life motto that reads similar to “break skulls, ask questions later” then you, my friend, have found a home. Shadow Warrior 3 is an action packed adventure that will keep you “just overwhelmed enough” the entire time.
Just overwhelmed enough?
Shadow Warrior 3 seeks to do one thing: keep you in a murderous onslaught at all times. The action is almost nonstop. Around every corner might be waiting a pile of enemies that want to rip your eyes out. That being said, this is one of the most well-balanced games I have played in a while, making you feel panicked a lot, but never to the point that you want to quit. The hoards of enemies feel endless, but Shadow Warrior never puts you in a bad enough spot that you can’t dig out of it. Furthermore, the pacing of the game feels quite good, introducing some light free running segments into the game to change up the pace.
As a result of this chaos, the story at moments almost feels like an optional tack on to the overall experience of Shadow Warrior 3. It is present, it does make sense, but it feels almost tertiary to the rest of the experience. I wouldn’t call that a bad thing in the context of this game, but if you are looking for an earth shattering narrative experience, you won’t find it here.
So many weapons
One of the unique aspects of Shadow Warrior is the finisher system and the “gore weapons” system that goes along with it. Basically, when you kill an enemy with a finisher, you will pull a weapon off their body and will be able to use it. It is a fantastically executed system and adds a whole layer of fun to the game. On top of this, the normal weapons in the game come with multiple different unique upgrades. With these, your play style will constantly be evolving. The gunplay felt solid and never got old. Alongside the series signature katana, the gameplay overall was fantastic.
One other thing I thought was briefly worth mentioning was the health and ammo pickup system of Shadow Warrior 3. While the game has these pickups laying on the ground, it also has a unique system. When you shoot someone, you get a few points of health. When you slash someone with your katana, they drop ammo. This really left you in control of your own destiny.
When I talk about this game being gruesome, I mean no joke. The game clearly takes pride in its dismemberment system, and it looks fantastic. Bullets fly with real meaning, ripping enemies apart one appendage at a time. The backdrop to every fight scene is also something you won’t want to gloss over while getting sucked into the chaos. While I played on a PS4 edition, the framerates and rendering were crisp and clean for me. The soundtrack was nothing to write home about, but was serviceable enough to not be a burden on the game.
Shadow Warrior 3: absolute chaos
Shadow Warrior 3 is an insane game. So much is constantly happening that you have to stay alert at every second you are playing. One wrong step will lead you to get your head pounded in by 14 enemies with clubs. As a fan of the franchise, it was good to be back into this chaos once again and wholeheartedly embrace the hoards of enemies being poured right into the barrel of your gun. While Shadow Warrior 3 is not the greatest game that I have ever played, it was a really fun change up to the slog of first person shooters we have had lately. I will be very much on the lookout for Shadow Warrior 4.