Every time I see a Shadow Warrior demo, I know there are going to be jokes of a, uh...phallic nature. I mean, the main character's last name is Wang, and the developers over at Flying Wild Hog are about as mature about it as you'd expect. Which is to say not mature at all.
It doesn't matter. I still laughed. Shadow Warrior 2 looks badass.
It's funny how quickly a series can turn around. Look at people's expectations for Tomb Raider, pre- and post-2013. Or Red Dead pre- and post-Redemption.
When I walked into my demo for the original Shadow Warrior reboot two years ago, I honestly didn't know what to expect. The original is at best a B-tier classic, a tier below Doom and Wolfenstein and Duke Nukem. At best. But then the demo kicked off with Lo Wang singing along (poorly) to Stan Bush and I was hooked.
Enter E3 2015: Shadow Warrior 2 was one of my most-anticipated games. And while there wasn't any single moment quite as memorable as that singalong scene, I liked what I saw. You can either watch the E3 demo below or read on for my impressions.
Shadow Warrior 2 can be summed up pretty easily: More players, more space, more guns. (And more dick jokes.)
Like pretty much every single game at E3 2015, Shadow Warrior 2 is touting four-player co-op as one of its key features. The game is hosted by a single player, so when he or she leaves the level it forces everyone to move on. But--and this is a big but--everyone plays as Lo Wang.
That doesn't mean you'll see four Lo Wang clones running around. Rather, each individual plays as Lo Wang client-side, but the other three characters show up as generic ninja-types. Thus you avoid the Halo problem where one person gets to play as Master Chief and the rest play as also-rans. Plus you get the full fury of Lo Wang's wittiest Wang jokes.
One important question is how four-player co-op will handle the discovery of secret areas, loot, et cetera. All four players can split off and do their own thing, which potentially raises some interesting issues you wouldn't normally encounter in a more linear shooter.
See, Shadow Warrior 2 is huge. That's really the biggest (no pun intended) takeaway from my demo. The previous game had moments where it opened up into relatively large combat arenas, but most of the game was a linear corridor shooter. Replete with invisible walls, for that matter.
Shadow Warrior 2 doesn't go full open-world, thankfully. But it does open things up quite a bit, thanks to a more nimble Wang (heh) and a commitment to multiple approaches.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.