Opinion: Shadow Warrior 2

Honestly I didn't play the original Shadow Warrior that much. I played Duke Nukem 3D a lot more back in the day. But it was a nice game, since who doesn't want to use a sword in an FPS game?

Later when the first reboot came out, we could only dream that Shadow Warrior would come to Linux, but eventually it did, and I bought it. While I don't have a good computer for modern gaming, it run well enough for me to be enjoyable. I still haven't completed it though.

Recently I got Shadow Warrior 2 from the GOG giveaway, and I wanted to rant about it after 5 hours of play.

I find it interesting that they reworked the character, and because we now have much more possibility in gaming, they made the sword mechanics and magical elements the core gameplay.

And everybody loved it. I don't know if sword-only playthroughs was possible, but it was definitely different and exciting, from the usual gun focused game. I liked the game too. I loved the scenery, and that they have secrets like in the old games. Plus, who doesn't like fortune cookies?

Shadow Warrior 2

While there will be no Linux version for sure, it is absolutely playable with Wine+DXVK. I tested it from the recent GOG giveaway, and the game has no problems after 5 hours of gameplay. Loading times are long for me, but that's just my hardware.

This will be a rant about the game, so I might repeat somethings, and jump many times, but I had to write down.

Below is TotalBiscuit's rant about the game, his opinion overlaps with mine, but he was much better describing the game's problems:

I will be honest. I watched people play Shadow Warrior 2 before, but watching and playing games are two very different experience. Just because an expert gamer plays something, it doesn't mean you can play with the same precision and execution. You might learn something from others, watching the game, but later you still have to press the buttons, and have to react to the events in the game.

I will be honest with you. I don't like Shadow Warrior 2. They made it a first person light-RPG shitty, grindfest video game, with Borderlands 2 elements. It might be good for AdmiralBahroo, who is a frakking god, when it comes to games like these, but the first Shadow Warrior wasn't about this. Shadow Warrior wasn't a loot-shooter, it was an old-school FPS. The reboot had some interesting upgrade elements, but the core was the same. Killing monsters with some light story and jokes and sidekick. SW 2 is completely changed that.

I dislike Borderlands 2 also, because by the time I haven't finished it, I wished I was in my future grave, because the whole thing was boring. And that game has character classes! And no I don't care about co-op. If you create a game for co-op, then you create a game for co-op and you don't try to do a single player/co-op mesh-up. Hard to balance imo, because I don't think it's just like: well if we have 3 players, you will get 3 times the enemies with 3 times as thought to kill.

I don't know about SW 2 co-op, I don't care about that. I care about single-player. I'd like a 15-20 hours of game. I am a slow player, with not good reflexes, but I play on normal, so I can enjoy the game on my own terms.

What I like in the game that we have a bunch of different weapons, but most weapons are totally useless without upgrades. Except that little gun I've found early and totally oneshots little monsters. At least we aim-down-sight.

I feel that with Shadow Warrior 2, the devs wanted to cram everything that a game can have. Bunch of collectables for the completionist people, guns, melee weapons, tons of abilities, money for buying stuff. Small monsters, medium monsters and giant monsters! And frakking giant rabbits! Frak rabbits!

Honestly I might just focus on the story missions and let any sidequest slide-by. Totalbiscuit mentioned that you get warnings for some story missions if you haven't completed some sidemissions, because you might be underpowered for the story progression. I mean WTF?!

Compare to Path of Exile, where you complete 2 early side missions and you are already overleveled for the rest of the game!

Btw it's very nice from the devs that even the DRM-free version has achievements. Also you can track your progress and many people can play, since we have different profiles. That's old school, but thoughtfull. :)

I like that we have guns, but as I mentioned, a gun you get is useless if you are not upgrading at all. We have tons of loots, and you can modify your weapons with gems. Sadly we have to many, with meaningless, minor statistics upgrade. You have to build a virtual spreadsheet in your head to see, which weapon has what gems and what they do. It's worse than a frakking action RPG! You can also change out these gems at any moment, even during fights!

The gems doesn't really have meaningfull names, and there are so many that sometimes when I bought something I couldn't found it. The stats upgrade are very minor, but you have to keep upgrading because you will get harder enemies. Harder as in you need more ammo to kill them. And if you are out, youwill be lucky to find a "fill up your ammo" shrine. Which I suspect was added later, because I didn't find TB mentioning it at all in his video. That's a major gamechanger.

Sidemissions are boring, and most of the time not worthy. You might get some guns or special items, if you are lucky. One of the early missions: clear a city from giant rats. I might did something wrong because it took me around 30 minutes to do that mission, on normal difficulty. Giant map, going around, killing 2 types of the same monster. Not fun. I almost uninstalled the game after that, but I just played a story mission later. Looking at the map, I sure we will need to do a little backtracking too.

The best maps are the Zilla ones, where you fight cyber ninjas and robots.

Your sidekick - not spoiling anything - is a scientist women, who is not a bad character so far. She is also in your head, because her soul was transferred to your body, while our friend can heal her body.

There is a HUB system, where you can buy stuff and get side missions, but it really could have been just a normal menu, between missions. I guess the devs had some extra time on their hands, because they programmed a semi-procedural map generator for the side-missions.

TL;DR:

Shadow Warrior 2 has:

  • variety of weapons
  • which needs gems to kill enemies, because otherwise they just suck
  • you have tons of gems with minor stats increase or decrease
  • the enemies are not unique, I feel like they copied and modified from other games
  • I like the Zilla ninjas and robots though
  • grindy, and stupid sidemissions
  • less focus on sword play, and you need guns, guns, guns and also gems for every gun!
  • probably a well optimized game, even on low end hardware it runs well enough.
  • levels are busy, tons of stuff and you will navigate through the map, rather than looking around and discover things.
  • there is no object highlight, so you rely on your map to find loot and stuff.
  • it's a collect stuff, loot-shooter from the bad kind, although I've never seen a good one (Borederlands is also a bad game imo).