By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on March 4, 2015
I don't know if it's just me, or if this happens to you too; You see a trailer for a game and get really excited, only to forget all about it. After a while you come across that same game and remember that you got all worked up about it. You play the game in question and it turns out to be absolutely phenomenal! Sound familiar? Well, this happened to me twice this year already, and it's only March! So in light of these recent events, I've decided to create a temporary category in which I can write down my ramblings about a couple of the games that have managed to elude me for quite some time now. So I'd like to welcome you all to the very first episode of: "What The Hell Just Happened?!"
First up is a game I've played for hours on end when I was a strapping young lad of only 17 years old and the world was my oyster. Unfortunately for the oyster, I couldn't care less about the damn thing! I had my computer, my games, a bottle of something to drink and a bag of cheese-onion potato chips. So in short, I had all I needed! The computer in question was my trusty Pentium II 233 MHz PC, the game was Shadow Warrior and the time spend cutting demons in half was absolutely awesome! So you can imagine my amazement when, back in 2013, I suddenly came across
But then, sometime later, Shadow Warrior was going to be released for the PS4 and the XBox One and the spluttering flame that was my excitement roared up once again... only to dwindle down to nothing when, for the SECOND TIME, I forgot all about the game. Now, you may ask yourself: "How is it possible to forget a game twice?!". Don't worry, I have an answer to that! I thought really hard about it, and the answer is... I DON'T KNOW! (I was going to say 42, but I think that joke would be lost on a lot of people, so I decided against it!). But back to my conundrum; I really, for the life of me, can't figure out where this went awry. It was by chance that about two weeks ago, a local game store had the game on special offer. So I bought a copy and stuck it in my PS4. The rest of that day is kind of a blur. I vaguely remember some other things I was supposed to do that day (but of course didn't do), but mostly I remember being up to my armpits in demon blood and guts... and please believe me when I say that it was glorious! I was seventeen again and still couldn't care less about a damn oyster!
Shadow warrior is a grand reimagining of the 1997 3D Realms game, created by Flying Wild Hog and Devolver Digital. Modern graphics, modern audio tracks but old-school gameplay, just the way we like it! In Shadow Warrior, we meet Lo Wang, bodyguard extraordinaire. Lo Wang is sent on a delicate mission; to retrieve an ancient sword, by all means necessary... This, of course, results in a bloodbath and places Lo Wang in the middle of an ancient demon plot, which is aimed at ruling over the world of demons as well as the world of men. Not caring about both, Lo Wang initially sets out to finish his assignment. But at some point he meets Hoji, a banished demon, and is slowly drawn deeper and deeper into the raging conflict...
From this point on, the game turns into a kind of frenzied free for all and is best played by the golden rule: 'If it moves, kill it! If it's still moving, kill it again! Kill it until it dies of it!'. To this end, Lo Wang has at his disposal: an extensive collection of one-liners and puns, inhuman Ki powers like healing or shielding and finally an impressive arsenal of weapons. My absolute favorite weapon has always been, still is and will always be the sword. Or as old Wang used to say after slicing a bad guy in half: "You have a split personality", which pretty much covers why the sword is such a cool weapon. This does not, by any means, mean that the rest of the weapons aren't great too, they're absolutely phenomenal. It doesn't matter if you're using the pistol, the shotgun, the machine gun, the crossbow or the rocket launcher, they all look and sound great. And most importantly, they effectively reduce your enemies to tiny puddles of mush. Skill point are awarded for any variety of dismemberment, enabling you to upgrade Wang's abilities and stats. The money you collect throughout the various stages can be used to buy ammo or upgrade your arsenal.
Visually, Shadow warrior is fantastic! well-designed environments and characters make this game a feast for the eyes. From the Japanese influences in the art style to the lighting and texturing, it all add to that urge to press on and find out what's waiting around the next corner. As well as really good graphics, Shadow warrior features an updated soundtrack, which irrefutably KICKS ASS! I especially liked the part where I accidentally hit a rabbit and it turned all evil on me (that sucker was a pain to kill with a sword, let me tell you!). The music all of a sudden switched from being ominous and slightly eerie to being in your face metal, and I loved it! A huge part of the Shadow Warrior experience is made up of Lo Wang's ability to spew witty remarks once in a while. These one-liners were a constant source of amusement in the original game, so will this reboot see Mr. Wang make use of this talent as well? The answer to this question is unequivocally: YES! Lo Wang is as funny as ever, he only sounds better this time around, which is (of course) a good thing!
Another fun feature in Shadow Warrior are the fortune cookies that are strewn around the stages. When picking up such a cookie, a fortune appears in the bottom part of your screen. Needless to say, these fortunes are really amusing and on par with Lo Wang's ramblings. Ramblings and fortunes, double the fun! Although I don't want to spoil the fun for those of you who actually haven't played this game yet, I can't leave you without sharing two of my favorite fortunes in the game, which are (in no particular order): "Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once" and "Thank you Lo Wang, but the fortune you are looking for is in another cookie". And that, I am not in the least ashamed to tell you ladies and gentlemen, made me laugh out really loud. It's just fun to read and listen to all the wonderful nonsense coming from this absolute gem of a game, and then hack and slash your way through tons of enemies.
When I first heard of the new Shadow Warrior game, I could not help but wonder what someone is thinking when they decide to remake a much beloved game 'from the olden days'. Just think of the sheer risk you are taking; you might screw it up completely and millions of fans turn on you in the blink of an eye. Believe me, it's happened before. Remember the last Duke Nukem? I rest my case! Shadow Warrior however, is a whole different story all together. It's good, really good! One might even go so far as to say it is ABSOLUTELY AWESOME (which I personally think it is!). To hell with chest high walls to take cover behind every other two feet. Just unrelenting, bloody, badass mayhem for the entire duration of the game. Lo Wang is as legendary as he ever was, without feeling outdated in any way! At the end of this much too long piece of verbal diarrhea that is my review of Shadow Warrior, let me assure you all that this is a game worth playing... more than once! And to slightly mangle the words of the great Frank Sinatra: And now, the end is near, and I must raise the final question... WHO WANTS SOME WANG?!