Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition

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Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition review
Camrin Santchi


Gaudiness, Guts, and Glory


First person shooters tend to follow one of two patterns, ones that make you feel like a soldier such as your Call of Duty or Battlefield, and ones that make you feel like a badass, like your Doom or Borderlands. Shadow Warrior 3 subscribes very heavily to the latter concept, with your protagonist being a ninja named Lo Wang that wields a magic katana, chi attacks, and several comically sized firearms, alongside visceral finishing moves that allow Wang to weaponize parts of his enemies temporarily.

Originally released in 2022, Shadow Warrior 3 starts with Wang essentially having been driven insane- prior to the start of the game he apparently accidentally released a massive dragon that is obsessed with consuming all things chi- explained by Lo Wang to the mask of his deceased demon friend Hoji via a recreation of the battle while in his underwear.

This sequence immediately sets the tone for the rest of the game, particularly as it's interspersed with actual flashbacks of Wang parkouring along the back of the dragon. The combo Shadow Warrior 3 provides here gives players a chance to experience the gameplay as well as the humour of the game. The tutorial also demonstrates a semi-decent jumping on point for players that haven't played the previous Shadow Warrior games (A review for the 2013 remake is located here and the sequel Shadow Warrior 2 can be found here if there's any interest). The game does a decent job of explaining things as they go on, so players won't need to have played the earlier games, though they would likely provide a good amount of context in regards to certain character interactions and worldbuilding in general.

Vivid Viscera and Violence

There is a pretty satisfying combat loop in Shadow Warrior 3, with several ways to defeat enemies. The primary ways are to use guns which cause enemies to drop health, and Wong's katana which makes enemies drop ammunition, making players have to balance these two resources so that their options are always open as they dash, jump, slide, and grappling-hook through large arenas or along precarious ruins.

Wong is also capable of using Finishers when a bar near his health is full, allowing for a brutal attack that instantly kills one of his foes - and depending on the enemy - can provide Wong something called a 'Gore Weapon'. This weapon utilizes a part of the defeated foe that can only be held temporarily before it is dropped in favour of Wong’s usual kit, theoretically because the chi imbuing the Gore Weapon with power runs out.

Something that becomes readily apparent while playing Shadow Warrior 3 is that it is incredibly loud and proud - Wong runs his mouth constantly in battle, and it's rather common for the screen to be essentially dyed red from chopping up demons. Shadow Warrior 3 is unapologetically crass, which can be refreshing at times and obnoxious at others - though that is helped by other characters being the 'straight-man' to Wong’s antics, finding him needlessly crude or even annoying. Even if players may find Wong annoying as they play, it's helped by the fact that other characters balance him out and do their best to keep his idiosyncrasies in check. It doesn't always work, mind you, but the attempt does a lot to reign in parts of the game that might wear thin with some players. A good portion of Wong's jokes, when not being crude in general (to the point that the subtitles are a more tame variant of his lines a good portion of the time), tend to be pop culture references, like quoting the Spider-Man theme song upon using his grappling hook, making the game feel very meta which can be hit or miss with players.

The Power Within

The idea of Chi is very important to Shadow Warrior 3, what with the massive dragon attempting to consume all things chi, so it may be somewhat disappointing for players that Wong's usage of chi is incredibly limited and is only really used to 'push' enemies. This seemingly does no damage except environmental if there are convenient spikes to impale the enemy on, or if they are pushed over a cliff. It does have some uses - certain enemies need to have chi used on them to reveal a weak point, but it feels limited in utility compared to his actual weaponry. With how important chi is to the story, a more fleshed out system could have very much benefitted Shadow Warrior 3. Then again, this reviewer is just a sucker for mysticism and magic systems, so it may not be quite as disappointing to others playing the game.

In all, Shadow Warrior 3 is a fun game with a few minor issues that may not even be issues depending on the player. The game is also receiving constant support, with a Definitive Edition next-gen upgraded release that is free to anyone that already owns Shadow Warrior 3 and will be available at a discounted price for anyone interested in the fast-paced combat that Lo Wang specializes in.

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fun score


Satisfying Combat Loop, Agile Movement


Barebones Chi, Hit-Or-Miss Humour