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Playstation 4 Game Review

Shadow Warrior


Format: PS4
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Developer: Flying Wild Hogs
RRP: £39.99
Age Restrictions: 18+
Release Date: 24 October 2014

First released in 1997, Shadow Warrior was very much in the mould of the original Duke Nukem and Doom, both of which have recently given a new lease of life on consoles. Although it was on par with its peers, it never really got the same kind of exposure, which limited its success. Well, with the advent of the PS4, Flying Wild Hogs, a Polish developer, has decided that its time Shadow Warrior also had its time in the sun with a new high-def remake. Even if you don’t remember the original game you are given a lengthy sample of the game play while the new game loads.

Review imageYou play an eighties obsessed Lo Wang off to claim a sword for his master. The introductory movie and the first level ease you into the main themes of the game, eighties references, gore and silliness. In fact the silliness of the game is its saving grace, if you can get over the slight tinge of well intentioned, mild racial stereotypes. So, if you will laugh at a man answering his phone to "You got Wang" then you know that the game is speaking to your level of humour.

Review imageThe top menu gives you the opportunity to start a new game, continue from a save, save your current game, or just restart the current level. Under the options you can change various settings, the usual stuff: How hard the game is; hints on or off; as well as fine tuning the video and audio settings. Here you will also find a handy layout detailing the controls as well as an option to change them to left handed play. Under the stats option you can see how well you’re doing as well as measure yourself against the global leaderboard. The main menu finishes with access to both art work and any movies you may have unlocked.

The game contains all the usual elements of a first person shooter, with the added addition of your character being able to wield a Katana, which is particularly bloody and effective in the close quarters, over the top combat. You also have access to throwing stars, another favourite of any kids who had access to a metal workshop.

Review imageIn his quest for the Katana, the Nobitsura Kage, Wang is partnered with a demon, Hoji, which adds an element of magic to the story, it also added a depth of story which seems surprising for a game which relies on jokes and hack and slash for entertainment as the sword turns out to be more than a weapon, leading the two on a convoluted quest. Its enduring pleasure will be in the mixture of story and humour, which works surprisingly well.

As you progress through the game there are a number of power-ups which can be obtained that aid you in your quest. These fall under the titles of Katana Mastery, Knowledge, Movement, Luck, Mind and Restoration. As you progress you earn cash and Karma points. The points are used to unlock the power-ups. One word of warning here, although as you unlock each new ability the game usefully informs you how to use your new found power, unfortunately if you playing via your PS Vita the lack of the R2 and L2 makes this almost impossible.

Review imageVisually the game is good, but not stunning, it probably would have fared just as well on a PS3, but before we start kicking it, my experience of the supposed next generation of games has been very mixed with only a few having that wow factor. That said, the environments are colourful and detailed and it must be kept in mind that this was produced by an independent developer who probably had the same budget as Destiny’s tea and coffee bill.

Movement in the game is very fast and is more reminiscent of the game's origins, where a few key cards, a good labyrinth layout and furious action were the name of the game. The balance between evasion, attack and healing are handled well, The game should give you many hours of pleasure, and for once you won’t have to suffer underpowered weapons.


Charles Packer

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