Death of the Critic

Shadow Warrior

The Backlog - Shadow Warrior

Written by: Tom Blaich


There is something about swords that are just kind of cool, that voice in the back of your mind, even as you laugh at absurd sword collections on the internet, that tells you "but wouldn't it be cool to slice apart a watermelon like you were some kind of cybernetically enhanced ninja?"
Shadow Warrior takes that in the remake of the old-school shooter, combines it with a healthy dose of inappropriate humor, and enough blood to make Takashi Miike jealous. You are a Yakuza assassin tasked with re4covering a famous sword, and saddled with a sarcastic demon sidekick (and a whole lot of firepower).

In all honesty, it feels like this game should be so much worse than it actually is. It does not describe well, but in practice, it continues the trend of modern remakes of 3D shooters being pretty damn good. Half of the time, it feels like you are runing your way through some kind of weird anime, and in so many ways that works to it's benefit.

Frequently, when a game has first person sword combat, it is less than engaging, devolving into a flurry of repetitive, weightless attacks and blocks, but here that is far from the case. You have a series of special attacks along with a set of Japanese styled guns to help mix up your attacks and deal with enemies at longer range. You feel just as powerful as your character is supposed to, which is an issue that I hate running into in a game.