Shadow Warrior 3 Review – A SUCCESSFUL RETURN TO FORMULA?

In Shadow Warrior 3, Lo Wang comes up against his biggest challenge yet! Defeating a dragon that has decimated his home and taken his closest friends. Over this 7-8 hour long experience, Lo Wang must fight through waves of enemies to find a way to take this giant beast down! Unfortunately, I will have to start off on a bit of a negative here, as the narrative in Shadow Warrior 3 is honestly quite subpar! The whole story only seems to scream KILL THE DRAGON! And that’s about it! It seems to have lost some of the depth of the previous entries in the series! I am not saying that the narrative here is entirely bad, but it has lost a lot of what made the Shadow Warrior series stand out!

Check out our video review of Shadow Warrior 3 here!

Also, what has happened to the humour in this game! I remember the previous titles having some really over-the-top funny moments! I had found myself laughing many times throughout my playthroughs. However, in Shadow Warrior 3, I can only recall a really small handful of moments that even made me chuckle. Most of the jokes and banter in this game feel really forced! They fail to give us that silly roll-your-eyes humour of the previous games. Instead, they just started to become quite annoying. 

Shadow Warrior 3’s Gameplay Mechanics

The gameplay is definitely the best part of Shadow Warrior 3. It features some of the tightest controls of the series to date! There are so many ways to take down your enemies that both look and feel satisfying! Also, when you take down bigger elite enemies, there are a variety of awesome weapons that they drop! These really help clear out the rest of the horde! 

Shadow Warrior 3 - Executing an enemy!
Some of the executions are truly brutal! But they do give you some awesome weapons to fight back the enemy!

There have been some minor additions to traversal which have really helped set the scene for many of the high intensity action set-pieces. Lo Wang can now run along walls, slide through enemies and also has a grappling hook, which can constantly be used to get out of sticky situations. These new abilities are vital in helping you survive the many battle arenas that you will encounter!

Unfortunately this leads me to another big let down in Shadow Warrior 3. The level design is broken into just two components, Combat Arenas and Traversal. I know this seems like a strange criticism at first. However, it is not very common to be involved in much combat when outside of a Combat Arena. As it is also very easy to tell when you are about to enter into one, the game starts to feel repetitive quite quickly! Instead of feeling like you are out on some big adventure, you simply traverse the linear levels until you encounter an arena, then you must “Clear the area of enemies to continue”! Then you are traversing till you are halted by yet another battle arena, and then you rinse and repeat.

  • Shaodw Warrior 3 - Utilising the grappling hook!
  • Shadow Warrior 3 - Using a variety of weapons
  • Shadow Warrior 3 - Zilla & Wang side by side

Aside from a few key set pieces, most of the traversal simply becomes a filler between the battle arenas! These arenas eventually become tedious. After a while this did cause me to start feeling a little disinterested. Because even the enemies become repetitive, as you will always find them in the same areas in arenas, following similar patterns with no real variety.

The Stunning World of Shadow Warrior 3

To get back onto the positives, another great aspect of Shadow Warrior 3 is the visual design! The world looks fantastic and the graphics are a massive improvement over the previous entries! This is expected given that the second game came out 6 years ago! But the world is truly stunning and the creativity of the art design really makes this game a pleasure to look at.

Interestingly, both the parts of Lo Wang & Orochi Zilla have been recast for this latest installment. Lo Wang is now voiced by Mike Moh. Moh does sound a little more stale in his delivery of the many snarky one-liners that have become expected of the character. On the other hand SungWon Cho is now the voice behind the menacing Orochi Zilla. Whilst he does sound quite different, I am a big fan of this new vocal direction. 

Decision

Shadow Warrior 3’s gameplay is fun, and the combat is fantastic, but it’s rinse and repeat formula really does make the game become quite tedious. There is definitely a lot to enjoy here, but just remember that you will have to sit through some repetitive gameplay and a lot of forced and stale humour.

By Samuel Incze

Average

Whilst Shadow Warrior 3 boasts some fantastic combat and interesting new traversal elements, it’s failed attempt to give us a narrative filled with  the creativity and humour that we have become accustomed to with the series, really leaves a lot to be desired! The gameplay’s rinse and repeat formula can become quite tedious and will leave many players disinterested fairly early on!

This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Devolver DigitalThe Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.

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