Shadow Warrior 3 released back in March 2022 from developers Flying Wild Hog and publisher Devolver Digital. I found the game to be an outstanding shooter with incredible graphics, gory gameplay and Lo Wang’s classic one-liners. The addition of the grappling hook made movement feel free and fluid and opened up combat for quick escapes and swinging mayhem. Now almost a year later, Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition has been released on PC as well as Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 and adds some really cool things to make the game feel fresh.
If you haven’t played Shadow Warrior 3 before, the game starts at the Wang Cave with Lo Wang lamenting the events of Shadow Warrior 2. Strutting around in his stained white undies and singlet, he’s explaining to the mask of Hoji, the last remnant of the lost God of Mischief, his adventures and where he went wrong. In a memory sequence, we learn how to play the game. Using left mouse button to swing his trusty katana and right mouse button to shoot weapons, we are slicing and dicing our way through enemy mobs with blood and guts spraying everywhere. Killing monsters with your katana will produce ammo drops, while killing a monster with a gun will produce health orbs.
We are fighting on the back of the huge ass dragon that was unleashed at the end of Shadow Warrior 2 as Lo Wang tries to get to the head to deliver a killing blow. However, the Dragon has some tricks up its sleeve and sends Lo Wang flying through the night sky. He obviously survives but his ego, or rather his mojo as he puts it, has been dealt a heavy blow. While he’s regaling his misfortunes, Orochi Zilla makes an appearance. Previously Lo Wang’s nemesis, he suggests they work together to harness the chi energy from Hoji’s mask and use it to defeat the dragon. While defending Zilla from attack, Lo Wang pushes him out of the way. In doing so, Hoji’s mask activates and sucks Zilla into its void. Wang then needs to track Zilla down before demons can burst through the sanctuary gates.
The story campaign was a hell of a lot of fun and one of the better FPS games from 2022 for me. Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition is a reinvigorated, ultraviolent blend of fast-paced gunplay, razor-sharp melee combat, and spectacular free-running movement through a mythical Japanese realm. After finishing the main story, an all-new survival mode is available consisting of three new battle arenas providing hours of new gameplay. Having not played the game for so long, there was some muscle memory, but I quickly ran out of ammunition, forgetting how much I used to the katana.
The survival mode gives you an option of three initial weapons and then unleashes the first wave of mobs at you. I died pretty quickly as I forgot that ammo runs out really quickly unless you do finishing moves and find ammo powerups around the map. The finishing moves are still as brutal as I remember, but oh-so satisfying, and useful for things like brain freeze. After killing everything in wave 1, your health regenerates to full and you can make a choice between another weapon or getting a powerup for an existing weapon. It’s a heck of a lot of fun and be sure to use the environment traps on offer. Three new weapon skins will be up for grabs for those who can complete the challenge.
A new hero mode has been added which is a challenging modifier that shortens Lo Wang’s life to a limited number of respawns. You can earn more respawns by building up the orange/yellow finisher orbs and performing finisher moves. But if you run out then your run is over permanently. Then there is new game+ along with a chapter select menu. I thought this was an awesome addition as it shows you any missing orbs or upgrades that you missed on your first playthrough. In those early campaign missions, I was still learning the game and so missed a few orbs. Rather than replay the game last year from scratch, I can now select specific chapters to replay through from the “Way to Motoko” chapter onwards. Some brand-new challenges have been added too which gives another reason to play through the game again.
The graphics update with Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition is quite noticeable in-game on PC. However, the cutscenes now look like poor quality in comparison. There was one particularly hilarious cutscene where a corpse is hanging from a rope and Lo Wang finds himself flying towards it and grabs on for dear life, landing in a precarious position. However, when I got to that cutscene with the Definitive Edition, all of the movements in that cutscene were blurry with jagged lines. I am hoping it might just be some settings I need to adjust on my own PC and that not everyone has the same issue. Generally, the cutscenes now look a little worse for wear now but are still goddamn hilarious in parts.
Overall, if this is your first foray into Shadow Warrior 3, the Definitive Edition is the perfect package – just ask Lo Wang! For previous owners of the game like me, there’s enough content here to warrant a replay of the story campaign but at your own pace and you can choose which chapters to play through. The survival mode is a lot of fun if you just want to get in and blow a lot of shit up, and hero mode will be for those players that really want to challenge themselves, though that wasn’t for me personally. I still think the game is awesome and best in the Shadow Warrior series for me and I highly recommend FPS fans check it out.
If you are a fellow fan of the game, be sure to also check out another of Flying Wild Hog’s titles, Evil West which is awesome too. For more information on Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition, head over to the official website and follow @ShadowWarrior on Twitter.