This Gamescom I had the chance to see a game I was personally very excited for – Shadow Warrior 2. The game is still rather early in its development cycle but I did get the opportunity to see a full level played and some new features demonstrated, and I’m happy to say that the sequel looks like everything I expected from it and then some. Taking place 5 years after Shadow Warrior’s conclusion, we once again rejoin Lo Wang as he does what he does best – demon slaying with a flair.

To start things off, the graphics look absolutely amazing. From shadows, to lighting to the textures on demons and weapons – everything is absolutely gorgeous even when the action is hectic and demon bits are flying all over. There’s also a day/night version for several levels as part of a new randomization system (more on that later) and everything looks awesome in nighttime as well.

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Shadow Warrior 2 offers several key improvements to the combat and arsenal over the previous game. First of all, control has been simplified and streamlined – no more double-tapping for powers, and everything is much smoother now. Traversal has also been enhanced with the addition of double-jumping and wall-climbing to help get around the game’s much larger and non-linear levels. The story structure is also less linear, with the ability to revisit levels while┬árandomized elements changing certain aspects to offer a different experience every time you do so. For example, a bridge can be whole in one rendition and broken in another – challenging you in different ways and different settings within the same level.

Of course, the real fun begins when the bullets start flying and the swords start swinging. There’s a greater emphasis on melee combat in Shadow Warrior 2, with multiple melee weapons. In the demo we’ve seen Lo Wang’s signature swords as well as a pair of claw weapons and a set of crescent blades. Ranged weapons have likewise been expanded with the addition of new weapons like the bow or demonic assault rifle but also with the addition of a modification system. If you’ve played the previous game you know that weapons can be upgraded by investing money. Shadow Warrior 2 expands on the principle by adding “plugins” for your weapons that can be found as random loot from enemies. Those plugins can add anything from allowing dual-wielding, to changing the weapon’s damage type to an element. We saw a bow modified with an “Ice” plugin, making arrows freeze their targets. Once acquired, a plugin can be moved around freely between weapons with no limitation as the game encourages you to experiment.

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Powers have also been expanded. During the demo the new stealth power was shown – it works as well as you can expect, allowing you to slip by enemies undetected. No other powers were shown but additional new powers were promised, although no further information or detail was given. Another new feature we can expect from Shadow Warrior 2 is a co-op mode of up to 4 players, each one a Wang all by himself. No word on competitive multiplayer but it was hinted as “possibly coming after release”, with development focus entirely on the campaign.

As you can no doubt see, Shadow Warrior 2 has great potential to bring out the Wang in all of us, with its shiny new features and streamlined controls. Release is set for “sometimes in 2016” but it has been confirmed that the game will be available on current-generation consoles as well as PC.


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