Shadow Warrior - Xbox One

Release Date:

24 October 2014

Also on:

Xbox One PS4 PC

Viewing UK:

Also on USA.


Shadow Warrior puts players in the role of corporate shogun Lo Wang as he journeys after a legendary samurai sword, leaving a trail of blood, guts, and puns in his wake. With the fate of the world in doubt, gamers must use a combination of magic, powerful guns, and brutal katana slices to dispatch hordes of yakuza strongmen and freakish mutants. Acquiring money, earning karma, and finding hidden Ki Crystals lets players upgrade their weapons, improve their skills, and strengthen their magic, and the Arena mode lets Lo Wang battle waves of enemies in three different environments.

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Xbox One


'Shadow Warrior' was released for the Xbox One this past year and it released to fairly minimal feedback. The game itself is a throwback to the classic days of violent games for violence sake. The game reminded us instantly of old titles such as 'Doom' and 'Turok' before delving so deep into the shooter/slasher genre that we felt like we were seeing something new portrayed in front of us. The game itself was developed by Flying Wild Hog and published by Devolver Digital. Looking at the trailer for the game likely won't give you a good idea of why it is such an impressive title, so we decided to tell you what we enjoyed about it by playing the XB1 version. This is a reboot of a 1997 release of the same name, but it does more than just churn up old territory.

When we look ta video games about assassins our number one rule, in order for them to be successful, is that they at least be interesting. Video games have a tendency of overdoing the macho aspect with every single one of the main characters. That's okay, but it is boring. Lo Wang isn't an over the top action main character, nor is he boring. In fact he is probably the farthest you can get from the prototypical action hero. Don't get us wrong, he's a total bada**, but just not in the way that you would think. He's a scrawny assassin filled with one liners more than muscle shakes and his bad attitude changes the way everything about the game is displayed to us.

'Shadow Warrior' starts off with Lo Wang sent out on an important mission. Wang's boss works for Orochi Zilla, a huge and powerful company in Japan, and it is them that send him to acquire an ancient and legendary katana. The problem? The blade is owned by a man named Myazaki. Myazaki is the kind of man that cannot be bought. Wang offers the man $2 million dollars for the blade but is rebuffed without a second thought. Wang tries to get physical but is instead beat down, taken hostage, and thrown in a cage. Things get much worse,quickly. The compound is attacked by demons later that night (hate when that happens) and Miyazaki ends up killed. Wang survives the terror, the only one who does, but he does not get away completely free. A masked demon named Hoji finds Wang and convinces the man to take on a mission. The game takes a turn for truly bizarre at this point.

Wang is charged with collecting three different swords that can be merged together. Once merged together the final blade will have the ability to kill any immortal beings. Can you see why a demon would want such a blade? We can. It is this insane premise that sends you, as Wang, out into the world of demons, assassins, and a blossoming relationship between two odd and insane immortal creatures. We are shaking our heads remembering how insane the game got, but we aren't complaining.

While the game itself is truly 'out there', the fundamentals of the gameplay are familiar tot hose of us that have been playing consoles for the past couple of years. 'Shadow Warrior' is a lovingly crafted experience that caters directly to both the blood thirsty and button mashing among us. The game places an emphasis on destroying your enemies in elaborate ways. Fortunately the combat isn't very elaborate. Wang will roll through various weapons, consisting of guns and blades all the way to the magic and surreal. Killing your opponents is as simple as swinging your weapon in their direction and watching as they fall dismembered to the ground. It's simple. It's easy. It's bloody. It's fun.

You also have some minor RPG elements in the game to keep you interested. Wang can be upgraded by allotting points to his skill tree. Amp up his healing power or increase his damage dealing abilities. They aren't very in depth, certainly nothing like any other modern RPG, but they do help flesh out what would otherwise be a relatively straight forward campaign mode.

The story mode of the game will run you about ten total hours of game time, unless you are some kind of glutton for punishment. By the time you hit that tenth hour you likely will be over saturated with blood spilling and ready to be done with the experience. The game wraps itself up nicely while leaving an opening for further entries, but we were frankly glad to see it come to an end. We enjoyed our time in the campaign but toward the last hour we just wanted to find out how it all resolved.

If you want a little bit more challenge in your hack n' slash experience, then never fear. 'Shadow Warrior' allows you to tick up the difficulty level through four different settings. Each setting ups the impossibility tenfold and by the time you get to the hardest mode you'll be positive that it can't be beaten. Still, we are glad that the option is there--we suppose.

What we found most appealing about 'Shadow Warriors' for the XB1 was the fact that it flowed so smoothly. We loved how the DualShock 4 controller felt in our hand and we cherished each big hit we leveled on to our opponents. The guns rattle in our hands and hits thud appreciatively. Going hand to hand with your different katanas is just a joy, as well. To round out your arsenal of tightly controlled weapons is the throwing star. Merely hitting the shoulder button will have you throwing the deadly blade across the room at an opponent.

While 'Shadow Warrior' doesn't look like a prime Xbox One game, we couldn't help but feel drawn to the experience. It is so rare to find a game that focuses more on single player campaign than it does online multiplayer. The game doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it does serve as a functional distraction.

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