By the time credits rolled for Shadow Warrior 3 I was in a bit of a weird emotional state. On the one hand, I had just completed a fairly fun game and there is always a little sadness when that occurs. But I also felt like there should have been more. For the third (and possibly final) game in a franchise, the developer certainly did go for big set pieces, unique enemy designs, and a lot of humor. I really dug the heavily Asian inspired designs. The gameplay is fluid and encourages experimentation. The weapons are punchy and fill their roles well. The self aware humor hit for me more often than not. Yet by the end I felt as if something was still off. I couldn’t really put my finger on what it was that triggered that feeling. What was it that left me so questioning my experience? Read on and we’ll find out.
Firstly, Shadow Warrior 3 has decent presentation for a game that revolves around going to an arena, filling them with enemies to kill en masse, and then moving on. Due to the events of the previous game, a killer spirit dragon has been unleashed and has brought destruction to the world. The balance between the spirit world and the physical world have clashed together. The result is a place where the mountains, skies, and human dwellings are all that you really see. The terrain does really run together less than half way through the campaign. Which is a shame because the campaign can be cleared in roughly seven to eight hours. The music is appropriate for the moment but not something I would seek out to listen by itself.
The gameplay loop boils down to: platform to an arena, kill demons, rinse and repeat. The gun play for the arenas is pretty enjoyable overall and is complemented by a fairly simple upgrade system that uses skill points. As you progress you will receive weapons and skill points, and can sometimes find bonuses by going off the beaten path. There isn’t a terrible amount of content in the main route, but by completing skill challenges you can earn enough to fully upgrade your skills and weapons to the max.
I will say the weapons are very punchy and feel good to use. I especially liked The Basilisk, a single shot rifle that rips through enemies. There is also rage kill meter that fills over time, allowing you to decimate enemies in a single, brutal move. Using this on certain enemies allows you to access alternate weapons, different bombs, and even a one hit kill sword. One of the problems with the current setup is that it’s not as stable as it could be. During some of the heavier moments in the action there are some heavy frame drops. This happens during cutscenes too. While it’s usually not enough to really ruin the game play it is jarring.
When it’s all said and done, I realize that I have played games like Shadow Dragon 3 that have done its ideas and themes better. Despite these issues, Shadow Warrior 3 is an enjoyable experience with a bit of replayability. Especially if or when the humor lands with you on the first playthrough. I definitely want to go back and give the other titles a try as well.
Shadow Warrior 3 Review
Shadow Warrior 3 is a bit of a mess. It has good points, with its humor and cool weapons. Yet it also feels like something that has been done better in other games. Still fun for its runtime though.
Humor mostly hits
Weapons and enemy types are fun to play around with
Very short overall
Choppy frames throughout
Scenery is not diverse enough for the bigger set pieces