SHADOW WARRIOR 2
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on May 31, 2017
The world is once again under threat from demon armies and there is only one man who can save us now. Armed to the teeth with an array of firearms and extremely sharp blades, he sets out to vanquish the demon threat and redecorate the place with guts and blood while he's at it. His tongue is just as sharp as his sword and his moves as smooth as those of a much younger David Hasselhoff. I'm talking, of course, about the incomparable Lo Wang; vanquisher of evil and king of one-liners! So let us pick up our katanas and return... to the Wang cave!
Shadow Warrior 2 is a first person shooter game that was originally released for Microsoft Windows on October 13, 2016. Now, roughly six months later, the console version hits the Playstation and Xbox communities. Shadow Warrior 2 is the sequel to the 2013 reboot of the original 1997 Shadow Warrior game. Are you with me so far? Good! In this sequel, we meet up with Lo Wang about five years after his last exploits, in which he thought he got rid of the demons that infested our world once and for all. Luckily, in spite of all his confidence in the matter, Lo Wang is gravely mistaken and is forced, once again, to do everything in his power in order to save the world from invading demon scum, lead by the infamous Orochi Zilla.
As you start the game, Lo Wang is driving around in his awesome car, rock music blasting from the car stereo. He is on his way to the Temple of Longing in order to retrieve a certain item for the Yakuza, but his car is driven off the road when demons attack it. Lo Wang must now fight his way to the temple, slaying demons left and right and still retrieve the mystical object we were sent to get in the first place. Pretty soon after completing this first mission, Lo Wang is sent out by the female head of the local Yakuza to retrieve her niece, a young woman named Kamiko, who works for Zilla Enterprises and hasn't been in contact with her aunt for quite some time now.
As Lo Wang makes his way into Zilla enterprises, The cast of enemies is expanded by Zilla soldiers and attack drones. He manages to make his way deep into the bowels of Zilla Industries, where he discovers that Kamiko is being held against her will. Although Lo Wang is in time to discover where Kamiko is being held, he is too late to stop Orochi Zilla's evil machinations and must helplessly witness Kamiko, being injected with an unknown substance. This substance causes her body to be corrupted and infuses it with a demon soul.
After making his way to Kamiko's holding cell, Lo Wang manages to save the girl and brings her back to his friend and trusted mechanic, Master Smith. Smith, as it would seem, has a few secrets of his own and turns out to be a mystic healer, as well as an expert sword maker. He senses something is very wrong with Kamiko's body and knows he must separate it from her soul in order to prevent her soul becoming corrupted as well. Because this has to be done quickly and there is really no other alternative, Lo Wang agrees to be the vessel in which they can temporarily store Kamiko's soul. It's not like he hasn't had a second soul before. The difference with the first time, however, is that it was a demon who hitched a ride on the Wang express while, this time around, it is a smart and angry young woman with an attitude the size of Tokyo... Now, I don't know about you, but I'd take the demon over that any time of the week!
Nevertheless, Lo Wang and Kamiko are together in this and will have to make the most of it! They will have to find a cure for Kamiko's body and stop the demon forces that are spreading across the region at the same time. To do this, Lo Wang needs weapons. Luckily, that is something Shadow Warrior 2 has no shortage of. The game features a total of over 70 different weapons, each of which can be upgraded by installing gems. These gems, that are collected as you defeat enemies, give you certain perks and can be ultimately combined to form stronger, more awesome gems. Yes, this is a bit more work than just leveling up your weapon, but the possibilities are endless. I would certainly advise you to really pay attention to these gems, they could mean the difference between coming out of a fight victorious or as a bloody Wang pancake.
Same goes for abilities; you will find more and more abilities to learn as you progress through the game, and each of these abilities can be upgraded by spending XP. This XP is also collected through defeating enemies and completing missions. Contrary to the 2013 Shadow Warrior, this sequel is much more open world and less linear. Shadow Warrior 2 features side missions that you can choose to take. Be wary though; once you continue on with certain story missions, side missions that haven't been completed will vanish, never to return! Although these side missions are not, strictly speaking, necessary to complete in order for you to finish the game, they do offer rich rewards. Not only will you get the chance to fight additional enemies, which is really fun, but they also help you rack up those much needed XP points, new weapons and abilities.
Another thing that sets Shadow Warrior 2 apart from its predecessor, is the ability to traverse the environments with much more ease. Lo Wang can now climb walls, grab ledges and perform a double jump. The environments were built to match this new way of getting around and are much more vertically diverse than they were in the 2013 Shadow Warrior. Each environment has much more levels to it that can be explored and climbed to your heart's content. And, as a plus, each stage is randomly generated, so this will definitely add replay value to Shadow Warrior 2. The fact that a certain environment will never be exactly the same when you play it a next time, as is the spawning positions of enemies and items, makes that you will never play the same stage twice.
And what would be more fun than just playing Shadow Warrior 2 by yourself? Exactly! Playing with Jennifer Connelly... wait, who said that?! Get the hell out of here! Not that I would disagree with you, but that wasn't quite the answer I was looking for! No, ladies and gentlemen, the correct answer would be to play the game in a four-player coop mode! And yes, that is just what Shadow Warrior 2 offers us! Team up with your friends and blast throught hordes of demons together. Each player will witness the story as Lo Wang, while seeing his fellow teammates as nondescript ninjas. This way, each of you gets the chance to be the hero at the same time and play through this awesome adventure!
Shadow Warrior 2 looks really, really, REALLY good! The lush environments are varied and contains tons and tons of detail, as do the characters, which are really cool and expertly built. Same goes for the weapons; if you can come up with a machine gun that is called the King Skeletor than you have my deepest admiration! And if you can also make it look cool as cool as it sounds than, buddy, you should rule the world! The weapons in the game are all very cool and, most importantly, varied enough so that there is a perfect weapon for any play-style out there. If you add the gem-upgrading system to this array of weapons, you get the arsenal of your dreams!
All in all, Shadow Warrior 2 is nothing short of a truly awesome game! Multi level environments, more missions than you could shake a stick at and, of course, the silly but awesome one-liners of Mr. Wang himself make Shadow Warrior 2 a must-play for fans of the First Person Shooter genre. Especially if you're also into cool jokes and funny characters, you are going to love this game. So, sharpen your katanas and your tongues and get ready to play with the Wang... wait, that didn't come out right, did it? Please let me rephrase that... So, just take control of the Wang and start beating... YOUR ENEMIES! I MEANT START BEATING YOUR ENEMIES SENSELESS... aaaand I just realized that adding that didn't make it much better, did it now?!
That's it, I give up! Just play the game, will you?! Trust me, it's awesome!