Review: Shadow Warrior (PS4)
Based on the 3D Realms ’97 classic of the same name, Shadow Warrior will teleport you back into an era where over-aggressive First-Person Shooter (FPS) games were the stars of the show. It’s a return to basics and it’s as tough as they come.
A Wang in the hand is worth two in the bush
Shadow Warrior has not been ported to PS4 to show off what the console is capable of, neither will it win any awards for the script or originality, but you’re definitely going to walk away with a smile on your face. Either you’re smiling or Yo Wang, the Ninja Mercenary lead character, left a permanent smile on your face with his Katana. He’s an exceptionally likeable guy who is not scared to drop some lame jokes whenever a moment arises. Things start off where he’s on his way to buy a 2 Million Dollar sword for his boss. Not long after arriving at his destination he realises that he’s been had and fights off some foes before he’s confronted by Miyazaki, the person that’s supposed to sell the sword to him. Before being knocked unconscious he meets his ‘voice-in-his-head’ sidekick – a masked demon called Hoji. Once he wakes up and realises that the world has turned to s**t the game moves into next gear.
The good news – you’re not paranoid. The bad news – everyone is trying to kill you
Armed with only your Katana and shurikens you are a force to be reckoned with right from the start. R2 lets you slash away in various directions while L2 lets you plant stronger more timed slashes. You’ll learn to use it in a matter of seconds as the world has now been taken over by all forms of demons. Yes, VERY 3D Realms. At first you’ll only face off against the simplistic, though tough in numbers, demons. Later on things get tougher when you’re up against Shaman, who can summon demons from the dead and power up other demons within the vicinity. You’ll also come face-to-face with Beserkers, that can only be killed when shot from behind, and later on you’ll meet your first Gozu demons who are slow but very powerful. Therefore you need more ammunition right? There is no supply problem in that department.
You are not illiterate
You’ll discover weapons as you make your way through the game. You’ll get to shoot a pistol, PDW (machine gun), crossbow, shotgun, flamethrower, rocket launcher, a demon heart (that uses voodoo to kill one demon instantly) and mounted machine guns, when the need for overkill calls. All the guns can be upgraded via money you find lying about cupboard and boxes in the game, and Yo can also upgrade his own stats using Ki Crystals that’s hidden throughout your adventure, as well as Karma Points, that you collect for each kill you make.
Karma let’s you improve your Mind, Restoration, Katana Mastery, Knowledge, Movement and Luck. It’s all stat improvements to help you on your journey. Ki helps you level up your Protection, Shockwave, Flux and Healing. Ki is basically your magical abilities within the game. Tap right twice in succession on your left analogue stick and hold in the L2 trigger and Yo will heal a portion of his health, which becomes of high importance if you plan to survive the many demonic onslaughts. Tap up twice and hold in L2 for Yo to activate Tigers Roar. This knocks down nearby enemies. Does all this tapping sound a bit complicated? The Dualshock 4 comes to the rescue! Swipe right on the touch pad and hold in your L2 button and it will also heal a portion of your health. After some demonic encounters I found that the touchpad integration just worked so much quicker and had me making less mistakes in stressful moments, whereof there are many.
You’re never too old to learn something stupid
As mentioned before Yo is a funny fellow. When he’s not cracking his lame jokes you’ll find the odd Fortune Cookie lying about, which had me in stitches at times (where do you think I got these sub-headings from?). Problem is that areas you visit all feel very similar. You can’t help but feel that everything has remained exactly the same with some texture upgrades. In fact, the port to PS4 seems bizarre. This could easily have run on the PS3.
If you’re longing for that special Duke Nukem-like recipe of old then this will please you beyond your wildest dreams, but if you’re a graphics junkie who wants realism in your game it’s best you leave this in the shadows.