Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Shooter
Platform: Xbox (also available on PlayStation and PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: 01/03/2022
A code was provided for review purposes
Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition is a high-intensity first-person shooter that also focuses on comedy and creating a personality for the main character. While I have not played either of the previous titles, I was excited about the release of this game, and am incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunity to review it. Did the game live up to my hopes? Find out in this Rapid Review.
World of a Warrior
The first thing that stood out about Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition is that the main character is just dripping with vulgarity. From his word choice to his sense of humour, half the things that come out of his mouth are gross. Granted, this was not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, I liked how the character had personality, even though it was nothing crazy. However, over time, the dialogue lines lose their charm. Overall, I ended up being fine with his comments. They did not enhance or take away much from the experience. After a while, the initial shock of the controversial or wall-breaking comments dissipates, and they just become part of the gameplay. It was a fine addition, and it helped differentiate the game from other first-person shooters I have played, but the character design did not revolutionize my experience.
The overarching story was also nothing special. Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition’s plot primarily focuses on one arc that does a good job setting up the different landmarks and events but is not heartwarming or overly charming. It was more than serviceable, and there were some cute cutscenes to accompany the storytelling, but I did not gain a lot from these moments. Sometimes the characters would say something funny or make a pop-culture reference, but apart from this, the story did not have much impact on my enjoyment of the game.
Running and Gunning
Instead, I was primarily engaged with the minute-to-minute gameplay. Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition brings a very fun mix of levels. There are both arena levels where I was pushed to take out enemies and parkour levels where I platformed across different terrains. They meshed a lot better than I would have initially imagined, and I had a lot of fun playing through each. While the combat scenes can get intense, the platforming moments are quite calm yet enjoyable nonetheless. They also balanced each other nicely. I never felt like there was too much of one section. I enjoyed the direction the developers took in this game.
However, I was not immediately impressed with the combat. When I first picked it up, there were a lot of things for me to process. To truly optimize my experience, I had to consider when to use all of my abilities. I had to decide when to use melee attacks, when to shoot at things, and even when to use my special abilities. This helped me keep my health up, maintain ammunition in my weapons, and even encouraged me to navigate the map efficiently. Thus, despite being a bit confused at the start, I quickly got accustomed to my capabilities and quickly began to enjoy them. I could fly all around the stage with a grappling hook, all while shooting sniper shots or dual-wielding submachine guns. The combat sections ended up being fast-paced, fluid, and fun. I felt like a real powerhouse and definitely enjoyed it.
Skills and more Skills
I also enjoyed mastering these mechanics because I continually got new skills to learn. I was given a lot of options at the beginning of my playthrough, but as I adventured more and uncovered more areas, I got different orbs that could upgrade certain parts of my character or weaponry. While many were quite simple, like increased magazine size or the ability to gain health over time, some were more interesting. I got an upgrade that gave me health for attacking enemies with special abilities, and one upgrade allowed my submachine guns to paralyze enemies. These were fun, and I enjoyed their implementation, even though these orbs are quite challenging to find.
While I enjoyed the main character’s movement and capabilities a lot, the enemies themselves were only fine. Many of them had excessive amounts of health but were easy to take out and avoid. I played on the normal difficulty, and they were at an adequate level, but it seemed like they had more health and dealt less damage than a typical enemy. It slowed down the pacing of the game a lot. This does not seem like a big deal, but some enemies would withstand every single bullet my sniper could carry and then some. It was not hard to get more ammunition, but it made my guns feel quite weak.
Additionally, their attack patterns were nothing special. They would sometimes navigate the map in a weird way, but despite how interesting and fun the enemies appeared, their corresponding attacks were quite basic. They would just shoot projectiles or attack me with a melee weapon. This was fine, but it meant that none of the enemies stood out apart from being damage sponges.
Even though the enemy designs were not overly unique, one thing I thoroughly enjoyed about Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition was that each enemy provided a unique skill when I used a finisher on them. One enemy became an ice grenade, another became a dangerous disco ball, and another became a sentient shuriken. These upgrades were really cool and added new capabilities to my preexisting move set. It played a much larger role in my combat decisions than I initially thought it would. Balancing the boosted health from some enemies against the increased attack potential was a genuine consideration, and I appreciated how this system was designed. It was balanced and helped the combat stand out.
On the other hand, the platforming segments were fairly underwhelming. They were usually just straight lines from one area to the next, and while there was a little bit of precision involved, I hardly had to consider my actions. I usually just followed a clearly defined path. This would be fine if the levels were challenging, but they were easy. I think I died more times because I could not tell the path from the background than from the actual challenge of these segments. Despite this, I still thought they were fine. The backgrounds and environmental effects were stimulating, and my character felt fast as he was sliding down these different locales. While these areas did not provide an overly intense challenge, they did break up the pacing of the game, and I enjoyed that. Thus, while I would not recommend Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition for these segments, they are an interesting palate cleanser between locales.
The presentation of the game was also quite good. I liked the visual style and the enemy designs a lot. My weapon designs were interesting, enemies clearly expressed their attacks, and the UI was incredibly easy to interpret. The visuals were solid. While I had trouble deciphering a couple of areas in the platforming segments, largely everything was self-explanatory. The game looked nice.
The sound effects and sound design were sufficient too. The music was atmospheric, though there were a couple of moments when the music stopped playing. The sound effects were good, though, and I enjoyed hearing my different weapons slash through the hordes of enemies I was facing. Overall, these were adequate and kept me engaged.
I also encountered a few issues with the game where certain assets did not load, and I needed to respawn to progress. I also had a few issues with the platforming segments where some assets did not work as intended every time. These were not major issues, but they were noticeable and a bit frustrating.
Finally, the run time of the game is quite short. I was able to finish the game within five hours. Though I can replay the levels to collect those upgrade orbs, and while there is an arena mode, the game is still quite expensive for the content it provides.
Overall, the game has some very solid strengths. The player capabilities are very fun to experiment with and master. Similarly, I enjoyed the constant switch-up between platforming and arena-based combat. However, many of the enemy designs, stage layouts, and narrative decisions are not interesting enough to warrant a recommendation. Considering the steep price point, Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition is a game that, unfortunately, I cannot recommend fully. There is a lot of fun here, but to me, the package does not justify the price point.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3.5 out of 5
You can purchase Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition on the Microsoft Store here
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