The resurgence of arena shooters in recent times due to the Doom reboots has re-cultivated a deep love for shooters that emphasize gameplay and style. In this new world, it’s not enough to be good at shooting. The player needs to be at their constant A-game in decimating the various enemies the game will throw at them. Doom Eternal is the biggest and most recent example of this philosophy. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make this gameplay style more accessible while still keeping the fun. This is where Shadow Warrior 3 comes in.
What Is Shadow Warrior 3?
Shadow Warrior 3 is the sequel to Shadow Warrior 2 created by Flying Wild Hog Studios. The game follows after the continuing story of Lo Wang who has, by complete accident in the second game, unleashed a dragon that then proceeds to destroy most of the world. With demons running amok after the dragon devastated the civilization, Lo Wang teams up with Orochi Zilla, his boss-turned-frenemy, to find a way to stop the dragon once and for all.
Of course, nothing is ever that simple, and a lot of things need to be done to stop the dragon. Several items need to be taken and a lot of things need to align before that happens.
Shadow Warrior 3 Game Review
Is the gaming experience enough to get the game? Here is our review of Shadow Warrior 3.
Shadow Warrior 3’s gameplay overall is very different from previous games in the series. For one, it’s no longer a sort of looter-shooter. Instead, there’s now a linear-level design that we’ll talk about later. In addition to this, there are also fewer weapons, but the weapons now have added upgrades for them. Overall, they’re pretty good gameplay changes to follow after several trends that are popular with shooters today. We’ll talk more about this in the combat and controls section.
However, for those that are used to 60fps, well, you’re out of luck, as the game’s transition to Unreal Engine 4 tanked its frames a bit. We’ll elaborate more on this in the graphics section of the article. For now, though, let’s talk about Shadow Warrior 3’s combat and controls.
Combat and Controls
Shadow Warrior 3’s combat is still remarkably similar to its predecessors, with a few unique twists. If you’ve seen Doom’s utter wackiness in terms of combat flow, then Shadow Warrior 3 is of a similar vein. There are a lot of wacky things you can do with the game’s weapons and powers, and the combat arenas help in this with hazards and fall for players to exploit.
Unlike in Shadow Warrior 2, the game no longer has 70+ weapons for Lo Wang to use. Instead, the arsenal is reduced to a few powerful and impactful weapons Lo Wang gets in his journey. Of course, he’s still a blademaster at heart, and his katana is his go-to for reducing enemies to unrecognizable chunks.
However, if he has a gun, he wouldn’t hesitate to use it. In Shadow Warrior 3, there are now separate buttons for both Lo Wang’s katana swings and his currently equipped ranged weapon. This allows players to do cool stuff like swinging their katana left and right. Meanwhile, he can then turn to dome a bull-rushing enemy in the head with his revolver.
The movement is also improved, as Lo Wang can now wall run and use a grappling hook to traverse areas and combat arenas. He can still double jump and do dashes, but the new movement additions add a lot of horizontal and vertical ways for him to traverse the world. Speaking of which, we need to talk about the graphics and level design.
In terms of graphics, Shadow Warrior 3 has a really big change as the developers transferred to Unreal Engine 4. It’s not obvious, but the graphics do look a bit better. At least on next-gen consoles. However, this change to Unreal Engine 4 sacrificed a few things in the process. Specifically, in terms of frames and the art style, that’s incredibly recognizable from the Road Hog Engine.
If you’re not playing on a good PC or a next-gen console, expect to see stuttering and a lot of frame drops due to the game not being optimized properly on Unreal Engine 4. Shadow Warrior 2’s Road Hog Engine still holds out quite a bit in terms of graphics, which is very obvious if you put the games side by side.
All this, and we still haven’t talked about level design. There are also some things that Flying Wild Hog studios removed from Shadow Warrior 3 as well.
Shadow Warrior 3 changed how they made levels due to the popularity of games like Doom Eternal. This means that the levels are no longer procedurally generated and are instead linear. The developers can now implement more environmental hazards and traversals like places to wall climb, wall run, and things to use the grappling hook on.
Overall, it’s a good change due to the added changes of the game’s core gameplay mechanics being more focused on fewer weapons and more emphasis on the environment as another obstacle for the player to traverse.
In terms of sound design, Shadow Warrior 3 isn’t as hard-hitting compared to other games like it. It sounds like it came from a Saturday Morning cartoon show, but it doesn’t have the charm that games like Doom Eternal have. We’ll talk more about that later, but just know that the Sound Design of Shadow Warrior 3 can use a bit of a tune-up.
It’s good, don’t get us wrong. The soundtrack helps in keeping the action up, and Lo Wang’s quips haven’t aged a day. But the attacks and some of the sounds when demons die need a bit of a tune-up.
Other than its campaign, Shadow Warrior 3 doesn’t have any other game modes. It’s a single-player roller coaster filled with insanity and a lot of guns and death.
Shadow Warrior 3 doesn’t have any multiplayer or any online component like the previous titles. It’s a strictly single-player experience that puts you on a joyride of death and carnage. If we’re being honest it’s all it needs.
Shadow Warrior 3 vs the Previous Games
Now that we’ve talked about Shadow Warrior 3, let’s talk a bit about how it compares to previous games in the series: Shadow Warrior and Shadow Warrior 2.
The first Shadow Warrior was a classic FPS game to the core. It’s the one that follows most of the usual FPS shenanigans like HP and ammo drops as well as secret locations and items. Meanwhile, Shadow Warrior 2 has a more Roguelike aesthetic to it, with shifting rooms and multiple usable weapons. In addition to this, the sword to gun combat is improved in Shadow Warrior 2, and there’s a lot of combo potential between sword swings and gunshots.
The Road Hog Engine was also in full form on Shadow Warrior 2, with the engine going above and beyond to deliver a great Roguelike FPS experience. There are a few hiccups here and there, but they can be overcome. What’s annoying about Shadow Warrior 2 was the game’s mission-based system is not out of place in the Borderlands games. Something that’s not fitting for a game series like Shadow Warrior.
In Shadow Warrior 3, though, a lot of these things were eschewed in favor of a more linear game style. The shifting rooms and multiple weapons are gone, there’s no mission-based gameplay anymore, and the engine’s different. In addition to this, Shadow Warrior 2 also had multiplayer, but Shadow Warrior 3 didn’t. The newest game in the Shadow Warrior series is a strict player vs. enemy experience.
Shadow Warrior 3 vs Similar Games
Now that we’ve talked about Shadow Warrior 3, let’s talk about other games like it.
Doom Eternal is the epitome of the FPS genre right now. It has a lot of things going for it that merge into one harmonious whole. From the Glory Kill system to regen HP, the Flame Belch to regain armor, the chainsaw to replenish weapon ammunition, weak points to stagger enemies, et cetera. Doom Eternal is like a tightrope of gameplay that has a lot of pitfalls. If you don’t do your due diligence and properly kill the demons, you’ll certainly die.
All in all, it’s a game that revels in its difficulty and makes the player work for the fun, and it’s glorious. If you’re looking for a great challenge in an FPS game, then Doom Eternal’s a good game to get.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Next on the list is Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, the sequel to the 2014 reboot Wolfenstein: The New Order. The game is set on an AU ending of World War 2 where the Nazis were able to defeat the Allies, ushering in the 3rd Reich to the world. It’s pretty ridiculous when you look at it from an objective standpoint. But if the Nazis at the time have power armor and mech dogs, well, that’s a different story.
Anyhow, Wolfenstein II continues the story of B.J. Blazkowicz as he tries to thwart Nazi plans and finally end their reign of terror. It didn’t go so well after the ending of A New Order, but he’s back with a new, better body after his head was cut off by the crazy Nazi villain. Combine this with an American that dual-wields heavy weapons and shoots down armies of Nazis like it’s nothing, and you have a really good game.
Plot-wise? It’s like a cheesy 80’s or 90’s Action movie. Gameplay-wise? It’s not as interesting as Doom Eternal. The sheer satisfaction of using a shotgun and a sniper rifle at the same time to kill Nazi cyborg ninjas? Priceless.
Last but not least is Metro Exodus, the sequel to Metro: Last Light. Specifically, one of the game’s endings. Anna and Artyom, the game’s protagonist, is now married, and the two of them are riding the Aurora, a train that explores the wilderness of Russia. Specifically, the Aurora is traveling through the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Anyhow, in terms of gameplay, Metro Exodus is very similar to its predecessors. Ammunition is scarce, filters can save your life, confirm if the enemy is an enemy before shooting, and never trust your eyes. Of course, we can’t forget scavenging as your life depends on it. In addition to that, though, there are also the parts where Artyom interacts with other characters and makes decisions that can affect the game’s playthrough. This adds a lot of replayability as the player may want to know how these decisions will affect certain events and characters.
All in all, it’s the Metro that players know and love in a semi-open world environment with good graphics and a lot of cool things to uncover.
Is Shadow Warrior 3 Worth Getting?
All in all, Shadow Warrior 3 is a pretty decent arena shooter. It has its flaws, specifically the part where the developers went the Unreal Engine 4 route when their game engine was pretty great. However, the shift to Arena Shooter, the tightening of the guns to be unique with upgrades, the addition of new traversal mechanics, and more allow it to stand firm.
For those that want a bit more to their arena shooters, though, they might not find anything that’ll draw them towards this game, and that’s just fine. It’s not perfect, but if the player wants some good fun and they don’t care about the story that much, then they might want to try out Shadow Warrior 3.