[REVIEW] Shadow Warrior 3 – Lo Wanging fruit

Okay, you wouldn’t believe how much I’ve looked forward to playing with my Wang again. Me and my Wang, we’re tight. Tighter than a straight man’s sphincter at a gay parade. This comradery with Wang has even helped me through my “Lo”-est of times, also known as ‘those times Shadow Warrior 3 got delayed‘. But it’s here now and boy, did I enjoy playing it. Sort of. For a little over five hours, that is.

Yeah, you got that right. Lo Wang is back, baby! He might look a little different and sound hella different, but one thing has stayed the same. He still likes to talk a lot. A whole lot. And when he yammers your ears off, it’s usually dad joke material. He also hasn’t forgotten how to pull a trigger or two, which is great. All this stuff combined would almost sell Shadow Warrior 3 to anyone who played the previous installments. Except it shouldn’t. Because boy, I hate saying this, but there are lots of things that’ll rub fans the wrong way.

The biggest elephant in the room – or rather a really small one – is Shadow Warrior 3’s playtime. If you’re easily disappointed by short Wangs, you won’t be liking this particular one. Clocking in between 5 to 8 hours – probably depending on your inability to hit fast-moving targets – Shadow Warrior 3 should be considered an appetizer. An Appetizer followed by a no-course meal. No New Game +, no additional modes, no multiplayer. Just five to eight hours of rushing, dicing, and blasting. After the credits roll, you’re done.

And honestly, that’s pretty effin’ harsh if you consider the price tag. Fifty bucks for a linear, 5-hour innuendo-filled shooter can hardly be considered “Lo” priced. In fact, Imma call it steep. And it’s not that I’m saying that Flying Wild Hog doesn’t deserve to make some paper – because it does – but damn… you’re not making it easy on me here, Devolver. Now I gotta be extra complementary in the next few paragraphs.

Alright, positive things. C’mon. Ooh… I got it! You get to shoot a lot of stuff. Agile stuff. On the ground, in the air. Everywhere, basically. Yeah, Lo Wang might have lost a reason for combat since Shadow Warrior 2’s ending but there sure as hell is one five minutes into Shadow Warrior 3. Remember that big-ass dragon terrorizing our anti-hero in Shadow Warrior 2. That thing became even bigger-ass. And Lo isn’t about to let that thing ruin his weekend.

But that “thing” won’t go down easily. There are hordes of enemies standing in the way of your extermination plans. Very colorful, beautifully designed, bouncy enemies. You’ll have your work cut out for you, trust me. If you snooze, you lose. In other words, Shadow Warrior 3 is hella fast-paced. Think of it as DOOM with a Chinese Doom Slayer. Except Doom Slayer shuts the fuck up and Lo doesn’t. My god, he never does. But you’d almost forget how talkative Lo Wang is when you’re trying to clear the room before the room clears you.

And honestly, those frantic moments of combat are the one thing that Shadow Warrior 3 has got going for it. There delightful, adrenalin-inducing, and loads of fun. Fortunately, action is practically around every corner. There are moments of platforming and grapple-hooking (including very wonky physics), but those will swiftly lead you to the aforementioned mayhem. You’ll most probably enjoy the fuck out of those, for as long as it lasts. Admittedly, Shadow Warrior 3 doesn’t do anything we haven’t seen before. And frankly, it also executes these familiar elements in a far less-polished manner. Yet, it’s still providing for some great gameplay.

There’s just another thing to keep in mind. You might wanna stay away from the PC version for a while, because Shadow Warrior 3 doesn’t really run smoothly on PC. There’s loads of frame drops across the board, and cutscenes are only enjoyable if you fancy a stuttering Chinese weirdo. Oh, and if you’re not a big fan of chromatic aberration, you might want to consider spending that fifty bucks on a gallon of wonton soup and spring rolls.

Other than that, I must say that I had a great time playing Shadow Warrior 3. Sure, there’s plenty of stuff to hate if you’re stuck in the old ways of the Wang, but there’s also plenty to love. Especially if you liked playing DOOM and Titanfall. If you’re not the kind of person who likes loads of wallrunning, fast gunplay, and corny one-liners, skip this one. But I guess you wouldn’t even be here if you weren’t. In the end, try thinking of Shadow Warrior 3 as visiting a dodgy Chinese prostitute. For 50 bucks you’ll get a mind-blowing quicky. Just don’t complain about the bugs she brings to the party.

Me love you long time, Devolver.

Short, yet satifying
The Fuiyoh
Hella fast-paced
Great gunplay
Full of dad joke material
Runs pretty smoothly on PS5
The Haiyaa
Shorter than a shriveled Wang in wintertime
Has performance issues (that's what she said). Especially on PC
Did I already say it was short? (also what she said)