10 Reasons Why Shadow Warrior Is the Best PC Game in Years.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 6:00 am

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Bought a violent video game.

It was as a work expense.

Isn't that awesome?


OK, my Haikus suck and the game in question is Flying Wild Hog's Shadow Warrior reboot.

Seeing as how I have a little bit of time right now while it downloads, I may as well get a few things out of the way while I wait. I have two personal objectives with this list: to write it in one weekend, and to write it using no obscenities. Considering that (A) it usually takes me an entire week to to proofread, (B) I could give Denis Leary a run for his money, and (C) I have a head cold ... this final result should be interesting.



The original 1997 Shadow Warrior (by 3D Realms) was a doozy; the protagonist was an Asian version of Duke Nukem by the name of "Lo Wang," and that should give you an idea of how "Low Class" the game was. Flying Wild Hog may not be a household name, with Hard Reset being the only game to their name, but the developers that work there were the hands (and other anatomical components) behind both the Painkiller series and Epic's Bulletstorm. So we have got an action game that was considered low-class in the same year that saw the release of Postal, being remade by a developer with a history of awarding bonus points for impalements, and published by the same guys who shipped Hotline Miami.

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This should be goooood; but if I don't get to play with sticky bombs like the first one, I am going to punch someone in the di ... di ... di ... doorbell!

I have to admit that I am not exactly going in cold turkey, as I have seen some "Let's Play" footage of the game; as such I am going to make a call right now (as the game installs): This thing is going to be less like its namesake and more of a mix between Bulletstorm & Dark Messiah.

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Okay, game loads up, makes me create a profile, and I am off to ritually tinker with the options menu. It's mandatory for admission to the cult of PC game; they get 'em first, but we get 'em best (providing that it isn't some castrated port, with "High / Low" being the only options). Thankfully this is a PC focused release and it has all the options one would expect of a proper PC game. So far Shadow Warrior has only been released for the PC through GOG & Steam; however I'm not going to call it a PC exclusive as something this well-done will eventually end up on console too. I'm doing this off the GOG version because fu ... fooy on DRM, but the two are identical outside of one doesn't require a 3rd-party game launcher.

On with the show: I hit "start new game," seems like there are options to unlock hardcore modes (for multiple play-throughs), I pick "normal" difficulty because I need to be zippy with this, watch a still frame animated sequence like the opening to Kung Fu Panda, and ....

Yes this game opens up with "Touch" and a generic Grimlock toy glued to the dashboard.

Then you get out of the car, turn to your right and see a white bunny rabbit. This, combined with that opening, is all you need to know that the game is going to be great: the humping bunnies are back.

You can probably get this thing to run on Win-XP with a dual core and a HD3800 / 8800GT, but it was made to run in Win7 64 with a HD4800 / 460GTX and either a Phenom or Core processor.


Here, take a look (highest on top / lowest on bottom:

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Oh, right, you came here for a list. Here...

1. The Gags, Easter Eggs, One-Liners, and Homages to the Original Game.

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The first Shadow Warrior was known for jokes, violence and racism; thankfully only two of those three are retained for this reboot. The game is set in Japan, so that is why everyone is Japanese, and that is the end of it; Sure, the main character is still an Asian guy with the name Lo Wang but that is the beginning and end of it. This game flatly ignores its namesake's racist / sexist nature while keeping all of the humping bunnies, sarcasm and hidden gags. The character's personality is on par with what you would expect from a hypothetical white anti-hero named Richard Grand, so every "Wang" pun is because the character enjoys having a penis joke for a name, instead of it being a blanket insult to Asians.

2. Humor.

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"insert penis joke here"

The first Shadow Warrior had plenty of humor, but it was more "I can't believe they just said that" than honestly good jokes. This Shadow Warrior makes me smile and laugh; the writing is top notch and the delivery is spot on. Early on the game pairs you up with a ghost named Hoji, who supplies Lo Wang with mystic powers. Hoji also acts as the game's sarcasm generator, and the back and forth bickering between him and Lo Wang had me laughing my ass off (when I wasn't gleefully decapitating demons)

3. Violence.

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This game is not for everyone; there is gore aplenty, but I wouldn't call it a horror game. Blood flows by the bucket, and you can hack your opponents to bits, but the focus is on combat instead of entrails. The average Resident Evil has got a higher gore factor for how they will focus on it; Shadow Warrior just has you blow baddies to bits (with bonus points for it), and then gets on with the game. It is hard to balance between gore and horror, so that you keep the action and adrenaline up without rubbing guts in the player's face, but Flying Wild Hog nailed it perfectly. Anyone who grew up back in the days of Doom and Quake should be familiar with the word "gibb" and this game brings them back with style. If I didn't know better I would question if this game weren't actually a reunion tour for Carmack, Romero, and Hall.


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