Shadow Warrior 2 is a sequel to the 2013 Shadow Warrior (awesome shooter) which was itself a reboot of Shadow Warrior from 1997. Shadow Warriors are first person shooters with quite a bit of melee and a chunk of sexually themed humour thrown in. The modern remakes have both been created by Flying Wild Hog who have also created Hard Reset (also awesome shooter).
Unlike the more linear Shadow Warrior 1, Shadow Warrior 2 takes a more open-worldly approach with a base of operation, shops, side quests, etc. From your base you can collect quests and and teleport to them using your map. Most the side quests are “go here, collect x” (and murder everything along the way) style and the main quests are along the same lines (sometimes “go here, talk to y”).
Shadow Warriors have significantly more melee combat options available than your typical first person shooter and Shadow Warrior 2 does not disappoint in this regard. Melee felt amazing, particularly the awesome pre-order chainsword and default samurai sword. The feedback you can get from weapons hitting or slicing into the enemies is top notch. Ranged weapons are also fantastic to use, I loved me some shotguns.
The enemies tend to be demons, humans or robots. Some enemies are heavily armoured and take longer to kill, some are small critters and difficult to hit, others are pretty normal; there’s a bit of variety. Occasionally you’ll run into an elite, who is a junked up version of a normal enemy. Naturally, there are bosses too.
As you play the game, you collect loot in the form of weapons and upgrades. Upgrades can be applied to you or your weapons. Sadly, the loot is the worst part of the game, nothing about it has been done correctly. It’s fiddly to pick things up which distracts and ruins the combat immersion. The interface is awful, clearly built for consoles and figuring out if things are compatible with your already upgraded weapon is a pain. Items themselves are generally junk, decent stuff seems to be few and far between.
After a couple of missions you being to realise all the levels have been stitched together from the same parts and enemies placed at random. This really spoiled the game for me, instead of carefully designed encounters you basically run around into randomly generated batches of enemies which quickly begins to feel a bit soulless. Near the end it was so repetitive I ended up running past these groups just to finish the game.
The humour has also taken a turn for the worse and definitely felt more on the cringy side. I enjoyed the humor in the first.
The graphics are gorgeous but something I can’t quite place my finger on makes the game look odd, almost blurry. I’ve tried all the options and wasn’t able to figure it out. For some reason, story and cut-scene characters all look awful - not sure how that happened, you’d expect them to have the most detail! The audio is good but as with a lot of games lately I found the enemy audio cues to be lacking and frequently found myself having to use the radar instead of sound to locate certain enemies, like spiders.
I didn’t experience any bugs.
While I enjoyed some of Shadow Warrior 2 I prefered the first and found myself quite disappointed with the direction taken. I was expecting a follow on from Shadow Warrior 2013 but what I got was a not so great attempt at Borderlands 2. The excellent combat alone is not enough for me to recommend the game.