Shadow Warrior 2 is as Good as it Looks

Devolver Digital had Shadow Warrior 2 playable to the public for the first time at PAX East 2016 last weekend. This week they have released a hefty 15 minute gameplay video of the contents of that demo, and I can confirm – it’s as good as it looks.

My time with Shadow Warrior 2 at PAX was short, but as you can see from the video, it’s as silly and frantic as ever. Developer Flying Wild Hog has crafted a sequel to the surprising great Shadow Warrior that cranks the action up to eleven, never slowing down, but is interestingly less mindless than its predecessor. Protagonist Lo Wang (dick jokes remain in full effect) has a sizable arsenal of weapons available in the demo alone, with each having its own stats with unlockable upgrades and effects. Between a bevy of guns and melee weapons, combat itself is fast but requires calculation as enemies are tough and come in a variety of forms and sizes. The selection of tools to dispatch foes was borderline overwhelming.

Jumping right of off Dark Souls 3, I was pretty surprised by how I needed to adopt some of that strafe and strike muscle memory for Shadow Warrior 2′s tougher foes. One such enemy required a strong defense, but was susceptible to fire damage. Smaller grunts hit quickly and swift blocks were needed. It was chaotic, and I had to ask one of the game’s developers if they still intend for this thing to have four-player co-op, because holy shit is that going to be insane.

I only had a few grievances with Shadow Warrior 2; while the game’s visuals were great, I think either a combination of a poor display and / or visual filters made the game look worse than the E3 build (and the newly released gameplay trailer). Devs, Chromatic Aberration is a terrible visual effect. Stop, please. The game also still suffers from awkward magic controls for gamepads, tasking players to somehow press a button on the d-pad (like left for heal) while also moving around and from foes. It’s not comfortable, and was something I hoped they could have fixed from the first game.

But there you have it; Shadow Warrior 2 already gives the impression that it will be better than the first in nearly every way. Given how much I liked the first (review), I’m excited to play this one with some friends (if my PC can handle it without melting).

               
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