Freejack

Editors' review

February 27, 2019

Download Freejack

Sometimes every now and then a game comes along that surprises you - renewing faith in a genre and reminding you exactly why you liked it in the first place.

With expectations low thanks to the prolific consolization and emphasis on creating cinematic experiences to the detriment of the game-play, Shadow Warrior benefits greatly from being a game that understands, first and foremost, a first person shooter is about combat.

A reboot of the 1997 game of the same name, aside from a few references, it's decidedly different style shooter. While the original had no story to speak of, with protagonist Low Wang, much in same vain as Duke Nukem acting as a pop culture spouting archetypes of 80's and early 90's action heroes, Lo Wang in the reboot, while retaining much of this is more fleshed out by virtue of having a personality - and a sense of purpose.

The story motivation itself is relatively simple. Low Wang must recover several blade parts, while a mystical story of demons from another realm unravels around it. Comparative to another FPS revival such as the New Order, with continual interruptions to game-play, long monotonous mumbling of self-important up it's own ♥♥♥♥ nonsense, Shadow Warriors story-telling never feels like it's a detriment to the gameplay or taking itself too seriously, remaining concise with an appropriate tonal shift towards the end the game - that sort of becomes poetic, without being Bioshock Infinite levels of pretentious, it's surprisingly moving considering the game is about a man who repeatedly makes ♥♥♥♥ jokes.

The story is there, if you want it - never over stepping the mark into obnoxious.

Much like Kurt Russell in Big Trouble In little China, (which was a clear inspiration for the first game), Low Wang is a goof, a legend in his own mind while paradoxically tripping over himself on a continued basis. An avid collectors of comic books, at one point the player will enter his weapon laden Batman cave, as he shaves his head in a self aware reference of the alpha male figures he aspires towards - it's both a reverential acknowledgment to the genres influence, while directly relating to the player, who probably isn't the coolest dude in the world.

Expecting old school shooting may lead to a huge disappointment for fans of the original, gone are maze like levels, replaced by Painkiller style arena battles. While old school elements are retained, such as rewarding exploration, simultaneously carrying a multitude of weapons, item pickup's in the form of health and armor and minimum plot, it carried over elements from Flying Wild Hogs previous game, while expanding upon it with action RPG elements - in many ways, it shares more in common with a game like Diablo or Devil May Cry than the original Shadow Warrior.

Essentially, player enters area, kills creatures, progresses, rinse and repeat.

This may sound repetitive, and towards the end of the game it can be - much like Diablo it's alleviated with a constant stream of crums in the form of upgrades, new enemies and sporadic bursts of narrative as well a changes of scenery to give the player just enough momentum to continue playing.

It doesn't seem hyperbole, to call the combat, sublime. On the lower difficult, spamming a few shots, or a few sword swings will quickly led to redundancy. On the higher "insane" difficulty, the context changes entirely.

In a similar games like Serous Sam - it uses huge environments with much of the combat at a distance, when enemies reach the player, it's almost entirely a case of pushing the backward key with largely inept weapons, Shadow Warrior on the other hand uses tighter environments to minimize downtime - implementing a dodge keys to make any direction viable, encouraging the player not to retreat but to actively move around mitigating crowds using their head on the fly. Very rarely will the player be still, or monotonously pushing the backward key, even healing itself can be done while going on the offensive, simultaneously shooting at the same or upgrading KI attacks to act as direct healing - respectfully limited .

Much like Kurt Russell in Big Trouble In little China, (which was a clear inspiration for the first game), Low Wang is a goof, a legend in his own mind while paradoxically tripping over himself on a continued basis. An avid collectors of comic books, at one point the player will enter his weapon laden Batman cave, as he shaves his head in a self aware reference of the alpha male figures he aspires towards - it's both a reverential acknowledgment to the genres influence, while directly relating to the player, who probably isn't the coolest dude in the world.

Expecting old school shooting may lead to a huge disappointment for fans of the original, gone are maze like levels, replaced by Painkiller style arena battles. While old school elements are retained, such as rewarding exploration, simultaneously carrying a multitude of weapons, item pickup's in the form of health and armor and minimum plot, it carried over elements from Flying Wild Hogs previous game, while expanding upon it with action RPG elements - in many ways, it shares more in common with a game like Diablo or Devil May Cry than the original Shadow Warrior.

Essentially, player enters area, kills creatures, progresses, rinse and repeat.

This may sound repetitive, and towards the end of the game it can be - much like Diablo it's alleviated with a constant stream of crums in the form of upgrades, new enemies and sporadic bursts of narrative as well a changes of scenery to give the player just enough momentum to continue playing.

It doesn't seem hyperbole, to call the combat, sublime. On the lower difficult, spamming a few shots, or a few sword swings will quickly led to redundancy. On the higher "insane" difficulty, the context changes entirely.

In a similar games like Serous Sam - it uses huge environments with much of the combat at a distance, when enemies reach the player, it's almost entirely a case of pushing the backward key with largely inept weapons, Shadow Warrior on the other hand uses tighter environments to minimize downtime - implementing a dodge keys to make any direction viable, encouraging the player not to retreat but to actively move around mitigating crowds using their head on the fly. Very rarely will the player be still, or monotonously pushing the backward key, even healing itself can be done while going on the offensive, simultaneously shooting at the same or upgrading KI attacks to act as direct healing - respectfully limited .

Unlike a game such as Borderlands, where RPG elements boil down to "press X", which is nowhere near enough depth to justify it's game time, Shadow Warrior uses the traditional incremental increase of weapons coupled with weapon upgrades, sword upgrades, skill upgrades and ki upgrades, easily accessible, easily comprehensible, without being reduced to a single key press.

Borderlands boasted very much about it's touted millions of weapons, yet all arguably feel the same without in anything other than a minimal alteration, comparatively, Shadow Warrior has half a dozen, with upgrades significantly changing both the damage output and play-style of the weapon.

To alleviate the problem of swinging disconnected melee synonymous with other games i.e. Bethesda titles - rather than spamming light and heavy swings as the primarily means of combat, Shadow Warrior focuses on double tap charge ups with single hit bursts minimizing the sense of disconnection and using the KI as a means to justify non connected attacks.

In a modern shooter - enemy variety typically consists of, shoot Arab man, shoot Russian man, or shoot man who has betrayed the American Dream.

Sadly, steam sucks ♥♥♥ so this review is cut off. Great!