The second part of the acclaimed Shadow Warrior of 2013 makes a return with a sequel from the developer Flying Wild Hog, although the origins of this franchise go back to 1997 with a first game of the same name developed by 3D Realms. This time the Polish developer introduces a first-person shooter that inspires from an old school title, which ensures non-stop action and dismemberment as crazy as a fun. Impressive graphic quality and innovative cooperative mode for four players are some of the new additions that make up this brutal video game.
An adventure without rest
The story puts us five years after the end of the previous title and again we play as Lo Wang. This modern ninja will have to fight against the demons that are invading our world and, our “hero” having a hard time believing how this is possible. As is usual in the franchise, the humorous tone is one of the fundamental axes of the title’s narrative, so there will be no lack of some bizarre and black humor.
However, it should be made clear that the story is just an excuse to enjoy the fast and fun gameplay that Shadow Warrior 2 offers to us. We will be able to choose between four levels of difficulty: Easy, oriented to little-experienced players; Normal, an acceptable but challenging mode; Difficult, the first level advisable to really enjoy the proposal; And Insane, an insanity destined for the most veteran players.
The difficulty option, which we can change at any time, effects parameters such as the damage we do, the number and rarity of the objects we encounter, the points and health penalty we suffer when we die, or the amount of life we recover from dead enemies. Undoubtedly, although the video game adapts its proposal to all types of players, only the last two levels of difficulty represent the adrenaline and demanding experience that is intended to convey.
Four friends to unleash chaos
The main incentive of this second installment is the online cooperative for up to 4 players. Because if anything could further enhance the fun of Shadow Warrior 2, it is the option to enjoy it with your friends. Whether by private invitation or through matchmaking, we can complete the entire campaign or repeat any mission accompanied, something that makes the experience tremendously fun. In this way, a player will assume the role of Lo Wang, while the rest will be generic ninjas that can be customized before starting the game.
Following with the campaign, Shadow Warrior 2 offers main and secondary missions, having to complete the latter to arrive at the appropriate level to the important missions, which are in turn the most spectacular. Each of them, which we can freely choose through a selection map, will give us rewards in the form of skills, money, weapons or special objects, these prizes being much more interesting in the higher levels of difficulty.
The main gameplay will consist of progressing by killing everything that lies ahead and enjoys the storytelling thunder as we discover increasingly challenging scenarios and enemies. In this sense, Flying Wild Hog has designed a procedural creation system that, except in the important scenarios for the history, will develop completely random maps, something that will also be applied to the disposition of enemies and objects. Thanks to the use of this technology, the title guarantees a greater replayability, although the continuous proposal to advance and finish with the enemies can become monotonous and repetitive.
These maps, which show a very polished graphic finish, also have a large size to move freely and tackle the fighting with space. In order to locate the targets, there is a minimap and a proximity indicator that, although very useful, break with the sense of classic title that transmits all the playable design. In these maps, we will find different totems that will allow us to save the game, recharge ammunition and recover health or chi. In turn, we will also have boxes of money, ammunition, and objects, so it will be very important to explore.
In the purely playable, Shadow Warrior 2 offers a very clean control both with command as with keyboard and mouse, although the latter for its speed and precision is the most recommended. Adapting to the new maps, the main novelty of the title is the verticality of the movements, being able to climb or make double jumps. Thanks to these improvements, which we can combine to create spectacular movements, the video game gains in dynamism, something fundamental to make more agile the continuous shootings.
To overcome them, we have a huge arsenal of firearms and melee. The former has a large arsenal of pistols, assault rifles or shotguns, which offer a gameplay closer to the classic shooter. However, and this is where the game draws its full potential, there is an enormous catalog of katanas, blades, bows or clubs that, destined for close combat, offer a different and much more enjoyable experience. Besides, these weapons have special attacks really devastating.
A killing machine
Looking for a greater customization of the weapons, there is a complete menu that will allow us to enhance their qualities. Each of them, whether of fire or melee, have a series of slots that we can complete with special objects that we find on stage, recovering from defeated enemies or winning as a reward for completing a mission. Thanks to them, it will improve aspects such as damage, recharge speed, scope or basic elements. This last factor, which we will have to take into account to defeat the great final bosses, will allow us to add qualities of fire, ice, electricity or toxicity to our weapons, being more or less effective according to the type of enemy we are facing.
All these improvements, which will have a rarity range to know their value, will be able to eliminate and imbue in other weapons whenever we want, which contributes an important strategic value to the game. But the optimizations do not end here. Shadow Warrior 2 offers us the possibility to improve the ammunition, armor or abilities, as well as to use special amulets. However, although the system is very functional, at times the interface is not too clear, and the constant revision and evolution of the weapons can become repetitive.
One of the most important skills are the powers, which will make use of the chi bar located just below the life bar. With them, we can use a special vision to see the enemies or create walls of strength to repel the most aggressive attacks. This chi, which contrary to life can be recovered progressively, can also be used to increase our health, something fundamental in the most delicate moments of combat.
However, not only the powers can be improved, but within the abilities we will also evolve elements related to life or special attacks. Undoubtedly, Shadow Warrior 2 includes a complete and complex system of improvement that we will constantly have to check if we want to overcome the increasingly demanding challenges that lie ahead.
If for some reason these challenges stand out, it is because of the vast and varied array of enemies we will have to face. Returning to the procedural system we discussed earlier, the Polish study has made very efficient use of it, and its arrangement on stage feels natural. This factor, which is usually the great problem of procedural video games, is perfectly solved in the title and, as if of an original design, all the levels present an efficient and demanding finish in equal parts.
Among the enemies, we will find humans, robots or demons, who, besides presenting a huge variety of behaviors and weapons, have a great artistic design and a very competitive AI, especially at the highest levels of difficulty. Thanks to this, the title offers tremendously adrenaline fighting in which there will not be a second of breath. Among all of them, we will also find final bosses, of bigger or smaller size, that will be the most important challenge that we will have to face.
These rivals, who will again have a great artistic design and will never come alone, are really tenacious and will require a great command of the game and a perfect study of our abilities and powers. In this sense, the penalty for dying will vary according to the difficulty, that is, if we play in Easy, the enemies we have damaged will remain the same after we die, while at the higher levels they will have recovered their entire lives and we will have to start again.
All these enemies will release objects and economic rewards, the great bosses being the most interesting in this regard. All the money that we accumulate we can invest in the different stores available places where we will buy new weapons, ammunition or skills, and we will sell everything we do not need to get extra help. Because of this, and because of the need to get better enhancers for our weapons, it will be fundamental to eliminate all enemies and to explore the large maps very well if we are to be prepared for the great challenges of the main missions.
Visually, Shadow Warrior 2 presents a sensational graphic finish, with textures in high definition, very broad scenarios, a huge destruction of environments, large amount of particles and highly detailed global illumination. Thanks to it, the title looks very well in movement and maintains an always stable 60 frames per second even in the combats with more enemies and movement. However, the modeling and texturizing of the characters and beasts, as well as the visual quality of the kinematics, is somewhat behind the scenes.
Another point to highlight is the great artistic work that the studio has done, masterfully blending elements of traditional Japanese culture with more western and modern, which gives it a unique personality. Finally, the lighting system, both in open and closed spaces, is well-worked and offers a lively atmosphere.
The soundtrack, mixes rock and electronic themes with evident eighties touches, fusing well with everything we see and play. Finally, the sound effects of weapons and enemies, especially the larger ones, show forceful and realistic sensations, which adds, even more, epic to the fighting.
The new delivery of Shadow Warrior has managed to improve a game that is already brilliant, thanks to a gameplay faster, stronger and fun than the original. The incorporation of verticality, with double jumps and climbing, translates into a more satisfactory experience. On the other hand, the procedural use in the creation of scenarios and the location of enemies and objects, contribute to the game a controlled randomness that makes it very replayable, however, the structure of advancing and killing remains constant and that can become repetitive.
The most important innovation of the title is that, in addition to being able to play it alone, we can do it with up to four players online, which adds, even more, fun to the proposal. The enormous variety of weapons and abilities, as well as all the available elements of customization, give the title a more attractive approach thanks to the possibility of creating a character to suit us, although the continuous revision and update of weapons and inventory are too tedious.
In short, the sensations left by this second part are very good and, thanks to the combination of melee and firearms, to create an old school experience that is missing from many titles these days. Because, if anything is clear is that Shadow Warrior 2, beyond its irreverent and hooligan history, is pure fun from beginning to end. We can not stop recommending this title to all fans of classic shooters, those who want to enjoy playing with friends and those looking for something different in the FPS genre.
We write this review with a download code that has provided us by Tinsley PR.