I played the first Shadow Warrior game on PlayStation 3 back in 2013 and absolutely loved it. You can imagine how pleased I was to get a chance to review Shadow Warrior 2 on PlayStation 4. I have been blown away by the sequel, and you should read our Shadow Warrior 2 review to find out why!
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Shadow Warrior 2 is set five years after the first game. You play as Lo Wang, a modern day ninja warrior who is capable of mass devastation with his swords and guns. Five years have passed since Lo Wang bested his traitor of a boss and the gods of the shadow realm. Nowadays, he earns a living working for the local Yakuza, but things begin to go wrong when a mission involving a young scientist and a controversial cult leader leads to conflict over a drug known as Shade.
As with the first game, Shadow Warrior 2 is played from a first-person view. While the story might seem linear as the first, you are free to explore every nook and cranny for secrets, which are very well hidden. The story is mission-based, but between that, you can explore around and find some optional quests and bonus stuff to do to get some extra money and EXP.
One of the biggest surprises I got was that maps are sorta randomized – not in a huge way, but you can certainly notice. The changes are not significant, but they do add some variety to the mix. I completed a temple area during my early time with the game, and after doing a second pass, I noticed things were a bit different and not exactly as I remembered them. Unlike other games where each room is procedurally generated (for example, as it happens in The Binding of Issac), there’s a handful of large chunks of an area that are procedurally generated as a whole. It’s certainly different to what I’m used to seeing!
The gameplay mechanics in Shadow Warrior 2 are awesome and make you feel like a badass. You are going to love the Arial Dash, which you can do with the X button and the R1 trigger. You can cross huge gaps in the blink of an eye! It was an amazing feeling, and it worked flawlessly. Combine this with your attacks, jumps, and whatnots, and you have a very dynamic and fast-paced game.
I mostly used swords during my playthrough, but in situations where there were hordes of enemies – creatures, humans or a mix of both – I quickly switched to my guns. I favored weapons such as the machine gun which allowed me to enjoy some fast gunplay. And when I ran out of ammo, the game kindly switched me to the next available weapon so that I didn’t have to interrupt my killing spree.
The game has a ton of stuff to loot – money, ammo and even upgrades! You can find them on dead bodies and in the loot crates and treasure chests dotted around the game world. There are 500 upgrades, and there is even a trophy for obtaining 500 upgrades, so you can imagine how long you have to play this one to get all the trophies!
You can attach some upgrades to your weapons and armor to improve stats, while others will give you buffs and more. Once you have a nice set of upgrades, you should swap them out and experiment to find the ones that click with your gameplay style. The amount of customization for this game is considerable, especially when compared to the previous release.
If you’re a fan of collectibles, then you’re going to love this game. You’ll need to search for fortune cookies, diaries, letters and a multitude of secrets – there is plenty of reason to deviate and explore different locations. There are collectible related trophies as well, so they’re part of the list you’ll need to tackle to unlock that Platinum at the end of the road.
Shadow Warrior 2 offers four difficulty settings. Tiny Grasshopper is the easiest setting since you get 50% more consumables like medkits and such. You will also only receive a small penalty for dying. On normal difficulty, you will get 100% damage rate, regular drops and a bigger penalty for dying. On hard mode, the enemies are 40% more difficult, but you will get a higher rate of special items. The penalty for dying is much greater. On the No Pain No Gain difficulty, which only the insane players should attempt, enemies are 90% stronger, you get the best loot drops, and the penalty for dying is big!
Last but not least, you can play Shadow Warrior 2 with up to three players in offline or online co-op and tackle the game together. The developers didn’t include online in the first game because they felt it didn’t fit with their vision, but things have changed and they’re notw ready to give us a ton of multiplayer fun.
Shadow Warrior 2 is fantastic. Flying Wild Hog have added a lot to this sequel on top of the thing that worked for the first game and made it all even better. There’s a lot of content to enjoy, plenty of trophies to unlock, a hearty and challenging story mode and some great and smooth graphics to go along with it. If you’re a fan of Shadow Warrior, then you’ve probably pre-ordered the sequel. But even those of you who might be new to the series will find something to like.
This Shadow Warrior 2 review is based on a PS4 copy provided by Devolver Digital.