Shadow Warrior 2 Review
Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Shadow Warrior 2. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.
Everyone has that one friend that they've known for a long time and some may even say too long. Your significant other always hates when you hang out with them since their sense of humor hasn't changed since high school at the latest. You know you really shouldn't hang out with them, but they're so damn fun you just can't stay away. Shadow Warrior 2 is the video game equivalent of that friend. There are plenty of other smarter and more mature shooters I can choose to spend my time with, but save for a few missteps, Shadow Warrior 2 is just plain fun, if you can stomach it's sophomoric brand of humor.
Much like the original Shadow Warrior, you play as Lo Wang, a foul mouthed assassin who offers his services to the highest bidder. This time, you're hired to protect a young girl named Kamiko from an evil corporation, which is a pretty straight forward plot but it doesn't take long before things get really weird. In order to protect herself, Kamiko casts a spell that puts her soul into Wang's body and spoiler alert — they both hate it. They can't see eye to eye on anything and let's just say that Kamiko doesn't get Wang's sense of humor. The whole thing is lifted from a recent run in the Deadpool comics but it's interesting enough to look past it, think of it as a very bloody version of the Odd Couple, with tons of dick jokes.
Oh man is this thing full of dick jokes. It's no coincidence that the main character is named Wang and the game does not a waste an opportunity to remind you of that. Swords look like penises, Wang's hideout is called the Wang Cave and there are tons of one liners here that either reference the same topic or allude to it. How much you'll appreciate the humor depends on your personal taste and even I who usually love truly stupid humor (I paid money to see BASEketball in the theatre) thought the game laid it on a bit thick. That's not to say though there aren't a few great lines sprinkled throughout the game, like the Full Metal Jacket referencing “This is my Jacket and this is my gun...this is my Wang..” It's not Shakespeare but Shadow Warrior 2 fully commits to it's sophomoric style of in-jokes and humor and you have to respect that.
You also have to respect that the game's core shooting mechanics are just so fun. It's fast, frantic and requires you to think on your feet. The game blends tight shooting mechanics with melee combat that we don't usually see in a game like this. Enemy range greatly in speed and size and it's a lot of fun to switch between Wang's arsenal of weaponry and his magic abilities, which can do everything from knock a group of enemies back to rip them to shreds. The best moments of Shadow Warrior 2 had me running around an area, trying to allude a giant enemy and switching rapidly between weapons and abilities. It's the type of shoot first and ask questions gameplay that most modern shooters are missing. Playing through Shadow Warrior 2 I couldn't help but be reminded of this year's Doom reboot, which I loved so that's extremely high praise.
Shadow Warrior 2 is truly at it's best though when playing with friends. The game supports full co-op and you should definitely find a way to experience it. Playing Co-op mode you have the ability to try different play styles and see how they mesh together. One player takes the ranged abilities while another slices and dices enemies to their hearts content; it's a simple idea but one that works so remarkably well. It's also a lot of fun to collect the game's loot that drops when defeating enemies like Borderlands or Diablo. While the game's loot system never truly reaches the levels of the game's it tries to emulate (most of the guns were near re-skins of ones I had before) it was still a lot of fun to collect the loot drops and see what I had unlocked.
Unfortunately though, Shadow Warrior 2 suffers when the action dies down. It's menu system in particular is remarkably clunky and while there's a huge upgrade and skill tree system, it throws a lot of information at you and it can be pretty hard to navigate at first. I was also surprised at just how much Shadow Warrior 2 shot itself in the foot as well, and oddly enough with it's own new ideas. Shadow Warrior 2 is a much more open game than it's predecessor, and while that does help the game in general, you'll encounter several sections of the game that are almost disturbingly empty of things to collect and demons to shoot. Every time I came up to a section like this, I would wonder what I was missing.
Despite it's flaws, Shadow Warrior 2 is a fun and rewarding shooter that's even better when played with friends. You'll have to be able to stomach it's sophomoric brand of humor and not be offended by how absurdly often it references specific body parts but hey, sometimes it's good to not have to think right?
Joe started off writing about video games for small fan sites when he realized he should probably do something with his communications degree and didn't want to get into the grind of daily reporting. Joining the team in late 2008, Joe is the featured game reviewer for Cheat Happens, producing up to 10 CHEATfactor Game Reviews per month.
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