Sometime last year, I remember randomly wandering into my local GameStop, but I wasn’t there to inquire about the newest release or to pick up something specific. I simply wanted to extinguish the imaginary growing flame on the twenty dollar bill that was feverishly burning a hole in my pocket. I actually do this quite often, wander into GameStop with the sole intention of spending my last twenty dollars on a game that will ultimately be a new lavish home for spiders and whatever other bugs dwell in the dark corners of my room. I imagine the spiders fill with glee when I regretfully fling that small white and black bag on the bed. I imagine they immediately have a family meeting, and in this meeting, they begin making furnishing decisions as they pack their bags in preparation for their new home. They will have discussions regarding blueprints and battle plans; Battle plans that go into effect the moment I decide to reach into the deepest corner of my drawer to retrieve the game that has gone untouched for months.
Sigh…I really need to stop doing that. I stay walking into GameStop like…
But anyway, I picked up Shadow Warrior for PS4. I actually had no idea what it was but thought hey why not, it looks interesting.
The plot is directly associated with the motives of two people: Lo Wang and Hoji.
Lo Wang (the protagonist) was instructed to buy a sword that was believed to hold great power. The sword is called the Nobitsura Kage, and he was told to retrieve it by any means necessary. While Lo Wang was in the midst of murdering the sword owner and his henchmen (you guessed it! They were murdered viciously for not selling the sword!), Earth was invaded by all types of weird and seemingly powerful demons. Despite the invasion, Lo Wang insisted on completing his mission and retrieving the sword for his boss. On the other hand, Lo Wang becomes attached (quite literally actually) to a demon named Hoji, who had other plans for the Nobitsura Kage. Without spoiling much of the story, Hoji told Lo Wang the sword was indeed powerful and was the only object that could be used to slay ancient beings. Hoji needed Wang to retrieve the sword for him so he could handle some unfinished business back at his home in the Shadow Realm.
The plot was strange but it unravels and begins to make more sense the more you play the game. Although, Lo Wang’s motive was not strong enough to make me believe he had any need to retrieve the Nobitsura Kage. It would have made more sense for Hoji to be the main character. In the end, Hoji needs Wang more than he needs Hoji, and it was never really made clear why Wang really was invested in seeing Hoji or the wishes of his boss through to the end.
Things I Liked About the Game
A) Brutality (Swords and shields and Guns oh my!)
There really aren’t many shields in the game. I’m not sure why I felt the need to add that. Well, some of the enemies have shields, but they were massively ineffective. They actually didn’t protect them from anything. Lo Wang (the main character of the game) could either dash around the enemy and attack its back or just straight up break the shield, sometimes in one hit. They were super ineffective and more so annoying.
Also, now that I think about it, Lo Wang unlocks a magic shield later in the game for himself. Contrary to the enemies’ shields, his shield was quite effective, especially once it had been leveled up. However, I never used it because it was too difficult to utilize the magic powers in this game. In order to use the magic or special sword strikes, you have to swipe in a certain direction on the touch pad and then hit either L2 of R2 (L2 for magic or R2 for swords). The touch pad almost never worked accurately. This was particularly frustrating when in the middle of a heated battle because healing is one of the magic abilities. Every time I needed to heal, I would always unintentionally do another magic attack, consequently resulting in death.
Anyway…the brutality though…Oh yeah
Lo Wang does not hesitate when it comes to chopping off heads, necks and ankles. The swordplay was really dope. The game doesn’t really focus on defense, which is why I never used his shield. The game play is pretty much 100 MPH Murder Murder Kill Kill Stab Stab the entire time.
And to be honest, it is the best quality of the game. As much as the game tried to convince me to stop playing, the combat and brutality kept me coming back. However, you unlock all of Lo Wang’s sword skills and magic abilities (four each) fairly early in the game, which sucks soooo bad. But other than that, the gameplay was really fun.
B) Lo Wang?
I have a question mark next to his name because I think I like him, but I have yet to make a final decision. Put it like this, I know half the people who play this game will probably find his character annoying. He jokes around a lot and some of the jokes can hit or miss. At first, it seems strange that he jokes around so much given the dire situation he is in. His character does a good job of keeping the game somewhat interesting by making fun of any and everything he lays his eyes on. All of the environments in this game are dark and gloomy; however, Lo Wang’s character eases the tension and completely changes the tone and feel of the game. For me, Lo Wang was never irritating and I actually chuckled a few times at his playfulness. His voice actor was spot on, and actually, most of the characters were voiced really well, except for the two other assassins you have to rescue later in the game. I feel petty for bringing this up.
But they may have had the worst screams in the midst of death I have ever heard.
Throughout the game, I never really understood Lo Wang’s purpose in this story though, and it was because the story really wasn’t about him at all. As you progress through the game (every five chapters or so), you unlock a cut scene which reveals more of the story. Since apparently I’m slower than most, I honestly didn’t understand anythig until the end of the game. Even then, it took my girlfriend to explain it to me for me to fully comprehend what had just happened. Look, even if it takes me a little longer to catch on than most, it shouldn’t have been that difficult to figure out.
Things I Didn’t Like About the Game
A) Repitition (Quest, Environments, Enemies, Sword Attacks)
Unfortunately, this game gets old REALLY fast. It is so repetitive that it took every ounce of my soul to finish it. Every aspect of this game is repetitive and lacks variety. I knew something was very wrong when I made it to around Chapter 4. The mission objective was the same objective from Chapter 1. Find the Nobitsura Kage. Every chapter seemed to be Find the Nobitsura Kage. Even when you find the Nobitsura Kage seven chapters later (Exaggerating…or am I?), the next objective is to find the next piece of the Nobitsura Kage. And that was very indicative of the entire game. There were probably only five enemy types in the game. For seventeen chapters, you fight the same enemies, do the same sword and magic moves, and follow the same objectives. Rinse Repeat. The nail in the coffin is that there are probably only four or five locations in the entire game as well.
The layout for the game goes something like this:
By the end, you are tired of doing the same thing over and over. It really is a shame because this game had a ton of potential.
Another thing, whenever you finally retrieve a piece of the stupid sword it is extremely unrewarding. You unlock a feature that you aren’t even able to use like slight health regeneration or an stat boost. You are not able to reap the benefits and unleash the true potential of the Nobitsura Kage until the end of the game. But, I’m not going to lie. Once you retrieve all three parts, your sword becomes OP and you feel like a straight boss.
Look, the swordplay in this game was awesome. I enjoyed chopping off limbs and just causing utter chaos. But, unfortunately, that’s about it. There was just not enough variety to make me want to continue playing. If there were more moves available, more enemies, and more stage designs, this would have been a pretty good game. If you can find it for $10, I say check it out. Other than that, this game isn’t something you need to play. However, I am interested to see if they fix these issues in the upcoming Shadow Warrior 2. If so, the second one might be worth picking up.
Here is some gameplay footage of me playing through Shadow Warrior. You can check out more of my Shadow Warrior Let’s Play on my YouTube channel. Be sure to Like and Subscribe while you’re there.
Here is the trailer for Shadow Warrior 2. Check it out!
About the Author: Phil Purkett Jr.
Founder and Creator of Some Guy in Space. Second of his name. Real cool dude. Sexy.