The floor at PAX East is always crowded with con goers, booths, flashing lights, crazy installations built to appeal to the con-goers and entice them to come play games. In the middle of all this chaos there stood a beautiful oasis: cherry blossom trees in full bloom, tranquil pagodas, and small game kiosks tucked away among the beauty of this representation of the Asian countryside. It was like a breath of fresh air among the pandemonium; an opportunity to slow down and center yourself after a long day of swimming your way through the throngs of people on the floor.
So, of course it was also the perfect place to try out Shadow Warrior 2.
If you had a chance to play the first Shadow Warrior reboot, you know this First Person Shooter is bloody. Okay, that’s a mild description. Saying SW2 is bloody is like saying the ocean is damp. Shadow Warrior 2 gives you multiple bladed weapons and firearms and leaves you to literally rip apart, impale, and explode grotesque monsters that keep you from reaching your goal. So basically, what I’m saying is, it’s awesome.
Our protagonist, Lo Wang, is living in the shifting wildlands outside Zillia’s cybernetic metropolis, working as a mercenary for the Yakuza, gets caught up in a conflict between a brilliant scientist, a cult leader and a a drug known as the Shade. The demo opens with Wang meeting a battle-worn black smith who bids you to find certain magical items to stop the influx of demons. Together with the dimentionally shifted version of the scientist that only he can see, he must, once again, take up arms and defend our world from hoards of demons.
Let’s be real, though: we’re in this game to wreak some havoc. And havoc you will indeed wreak, my friend. You have your choice of weapons: your trusty katanas and firearms that you grew familiar with in the previous game, and a new weapon: the claws. I defaulted to these because the speed and attacks are just plain fun. You have supernatural powers that cloak you from the enemy for a brief reprieve to recover some health or unleash a devastating stealth attack. You can also call forth gruesome spikes from the ground to impale your enemies and hold them in place as you cut them to ribbons with the attack of your choosing. If the onslaught of enemies becomes to much, you can force-push them back and catch your breath for a second. Each weapon has its own collection of special attacks as well; you can charge your guns for devastating explosions, perform swirling area attacks with your claws, or unleash powerful slashes with your katanas. You are a one man army getting paid in blood and gore. It’s exactly what you want from this title.
There are a few more aspects Flying Wild Hog added to improved the franchise. The world is a little less linear and there are multiple ways you can arrive at your destinations. You have the ability to climb and double jump across rooftops like a bad-ass ninja. Although I was only able to play the single player campaign at PAX, they also introduced a multiplayer online co-op where you and three other companions can bring the pain to any enemies that dare cross your path.
Playing around on the demo level, I learned fast that you have to quick on your feet to deal with inundation of monsters. It was definitely not the peaceful stroll through the countryside you saw as you entered the booth. Bu it was oh so satisfying when you finally cleared an area and gazed upon the lifeless, dismembered bodies strewn around you. If the full version of this game is anything like the PAX East demo, it’s going to be fantastic.