|Shadow Warrior 2|
|Developer||Flying Wild Hog|
|release date||October 13, 2016|
Gentlemen, remove the children from the screens — it is still too early for them to observe the process described below. And we will talk about the second part of the stunning and furious shooter Shadow Warrior. After a successful restart of the franchise (I remind you that the original appeared back in 1997), the Polish studio Flying Wild Hog simply could not let the crane out of its hands and took up the production of a new game. Did it justify the hopes of gamers?
The previous episode ended with the fact that the main character successfully dealt with the divine brethren — whom he killed, whom he saved, and briefly opened the gates to another world. He himself calls it military improvisation, but in reality such irresponsible actions «in the style of Wang» led to a collision and interpenetration of two worlds, in connection with which our world was flooded with demons, monsters and mutants. Nobody was forgotten here, except that the zombies did not have time for the party.
Despite this, our brave ninja is not embarrassed and continues to earn a living in his usual way — hard work and perseverance … but of course not, he just crumbles everyone into cabbage and saves pretty girls. Actually, the prologue is designed to teach game mechanics, movement options and basic combo attacks. In the best traditions of Quake, we have access to a double jump and acceleration in the air. Due to this, rarely any wall or ledge will be able to stop the player. Slightly easier to perform special attacks. If earlier it was necessary to tap a short fraction on the keyboard from successive clicks, now it’s enough just to press the direction button and hold down the right mouse button, which made this hardcore project a little bit. But if you think that everything has become simple, then I assure you — do not be deceived. Personally, I have regretted more than once that I do not have eight fingers on my left hand. Sometimes in difficult situations, you have to hold the heal button (“Q” by default), at the same time direct the run, constantly making instant accelerations forward and to the sides, as well as jumping and other strafes.
I will immediately advise fans of games of this genre — choose high and very high difficulty. The game can be a challenge in the beginning, but as you get more into the game mechanics, leveling up your hero, and finding new cleavers, it will become easier, even with the increasing difficulty of the enemies.
And here it should be noted that not only the character himself is being improved, but also the player. Melee attacks are applied in the direction specified by the mouse movement. If you swing the sword-saw against the movement of the monster, then they will meet for a short moment, and if the movement vectors of the weapon and the target are unidirectional, then you can deal 2-3 times more damage. You get used to the fact that even monsters standing in the same crowd can have different resistances and vulnerabilities, so right in the battle you have to change different weapons, sorting through different elemental damage.
Speaking of weapons and the hero himself. Flying Wild Hog did very wisely repeating the recipe they liked so much, but seasoning it with new features. Starting the game with three means of turning the entire environment into a vinaigrette, we end up with a good three or four dozen. Here, of course, a katana and its various variations, claws, blades, weapons in two hands, chainsaws, pistols, shotguns, machine guns, grenade launchers, gloves that cause elemental damage.
Each item designed to bring good and eternal has three cells for stones. And with the help of them you can make anything you want out of your favorite weapon. Sharpen for the destruction of large monsters and bosses? Please. Add electricity damage? Be kind. Modifiers are insanely diverse. Moreover, they are suitable for both melee and firearms. This allows you to operate with bonuses and disadvantages of such improvements. For example, a stone that increases damage and critical strike chance, but reduces reload speed, will perfectly take root in a sword. Firearm modifiers can add the ability to double or triple fire, dual-wield weapons, or add ammo burst on impact.
There are also improvements to the character himself. They are simply selected as active, increasing damage, the amount of karma (aka experience) received, increasing elemental resistance, and the like. There is even a separate tab for multiplayer, its content will allow you to support teammates with healing or in another way that suits your playstyle.
The number of character skills has also increased. Don’t be discouraged, only a few of them are available at the beginning, but as the game progresses we find cards that add new abilities to the control panel.
The gameplay is still relentlessly dynamic and undeniably fun. The range of possible opponents is very wide: various mutated beasts, demonic creatures, corporate mercenaries, robots, yakuza, and many others. Everyone has their own fighting style and their own characteristics, which cannot be ignored, especially at first. Some monsters run to bite poor Wang, others attack from afar, others suddenly appear nearby, strike and disappear again. Moreover, each type of creature has several classes — you will immediately understand who you met this time by the size of the enemy. The higher the class, the larger the dimensions and the more features they have: resistance to normal damage, elemental damage, complete immunity to certain elements, or, conversely, vulnerability to them.
By the way, a high level of difficulty will immediately force you to quickly deal with all your arsenal, because one katana cannot solve all the issues here. Do not spare modifiers — they fall out at every turn and saved at the beginning will not be useful later. Moreover, they can, painlessly for weapons, be replaced by others.
The firearm saves and not only at first. For example, the damage dealt by a heavy machine gun is difficult to compare with the capabilities of even the best melee weapons. Another thing is that the cartridges are not infinite, even though they fall out of all the defeated enemies.
In addition, barrels, buckets, and dubious growths are generously scattered around the locations, which explode a few seconds after being hit or shot, causing certain elemental damage — poison, fire, ice or current. Do not neglect them, because many strong monsters, especially at first, can make you run away from yourself, and a successful undermining of such a surprise will put an end to your difficult relationship.
And of course, the classic opportunity for the series to cut, chop off or shoot off any part of the body from the enemy has not gone away. Moreover, this can be done both with a living and with a dead enemy. Although there are so many cuts that you stop paying attention to it after a while. Actually, we can immediately mention the possibility of the collapse of surrounding objects. The walls will remain in place, but all sorts of tables and partitions fall apart under the blows of a katana. True, sometimes books that lay on a broken table remain hanging in the air.
As for the game world itself, it is quite large. Locations are large and multi-level, which can not be noted and praised. Another thing is that there are not so many of them, unlike quests, and we constantly return to them. Moreover, now it can be a den of smugglers, and after 10 minutes in another task it is already the office of one of the yakuza bosses. And this is not due to the negligence of the developers, but to the fact that the location of the goals of side quests is randomly generated with each new passage. This increases the level of replayability, but sometimes leads to quite funny incidents.
All sorts of loot from opponents drops out to horror a lot. The developers even marked each item on the mini-map. Apparently based on the fact that sooner or later you still get tired of collecting everything. Or maybe not. The expression «death is not the end» also applies to Shadow Warrior 2. After a shameful death, we lose all the experience collected since the previous skill point, part of the gold and return to the checkpoint. A jump into the abyss can be a great way to escape, after it the health of the monsters is only slightly restored, but yours too, but it is not lost either in money or in experience — this is such a game hint.
Now closer to the plot. He was not the forte of the series, but in the previous part of the studio Flying Wild Hog managed to skillfully string the entire gameplay of cutting monsters onto him. The history of the ancient gods, whose actions are so close to human, but at the same time amaze with the scale of their recklessness and cruelty, did not let go until the very end. To say that the story of the second part is also good language does not turn. A fellow traveler is again planted in Lo Wang’s head — though this time it’s just a girl, not an ancient deity, and we need to save her, saving the world at the same time, as well as solving gangster problems and finding tea, which became very scarce after the collision of worlds.
The protagonist himself treats such tasks stoically, the main thing would be to pay regularly. Actually, on the charisma of the protagonist, which combines incomparable arrogance and sarcastic rudeness, one could leave even without a plot. It is simply impossible to follow his skirmishes with everyone, starting with the “soulful” neighbor (all because her soul, exclusively for medicinal purposes, was tied to ours) and ending with the familiar gods and heads of corporations, it is simply impossible without a big smile on her face. The jokes are dedicated to the love of the “bring-give” tasks, the sight of the flying head, which we deprived of the body in the first part, the sexual addictions of the goddesses and, of course, praising yourself. How do you like the demon Larry, for example, whose real name is so unpronounceable that he chose a simpler one from some game? “In the style of Wang”, “cause vangophobia”, “only through my dead wang” and even “I will cut you off if you call me that again” — these are the few phraseological units that you won’t find in another game.
It should be noted, quite rare even now, the possibility of a cooperative passage of the campaign with up to four players. It is very nice that the developers have included it in addition to the classic single player mode. Another thing is that there is no interaction between the players, as such. You cannot exchange items or weapons, you cannot heal partners using the corresponding ability. There is even no way to split up to collect a few parts for the quest — only the party leader can perform story actions. As a result, it turns out that we seem to be playing together, but each one by one. The only opportunity for cooperation is to lure your mob of monsters to a friend who boasts of his skill and enjoy the spectacle.
The game has many secrets, there are also Easter eggs. Closed doors, through which you can just walk right through, will lead to a room with a large photo of the developers, the studio logo is drawn on the jacket of the demon Larry, and in Wang’s house there are slot machines with Hard Reset and Serious Sam projects. Well, where without 8-bit holograms with naked girls…
And don’t forget, killing innocent rabbits will have consequences…
The graphics are pleasing to the eye, as is the optimization of the game. There are no super technologies, highly detailed reflections and swirling realistic smoke. But the picture looks juicy and atmospheric, and due to the absence of all kinds of improvements, the game will please even owners of weak configurations with high fps. For example, I managed to set a resolution of 2715 by 1527 pixels using nVidia DSR technology on ultra settings and disabled anti-aliasing, while having 80-90 frames per second with drawdowns of up to 60 during moments of particularly intense battles. We used an Intel Core i7-4790K processor overclocked to 4800 MHz and an ASUS STRIX-GTX1060-06G-GAMING video card with a core frequency of 2164 MHz overclocked. In standard Full HD resolution, the frame rate was almost twice as high.
Was Shadow Warrior 2 a success? Definitely yes. Let hardcore gamers blame the developers for a slightly reduced difficulty, but they will also be satisfied with the game. Frantic dynamics in the old school style, which does not allow you to relax in the middle of the battle, tons of humor brought in by the scriptwriters and excellent optimization with an eye-pleasing picture — is this not a recipe for successful action!