shadow warrior‘s reboot has slowly built itself as a solid first-person shooter series over the last decade. The first game found the perfect balance between melee and ranged combat and managed to deliver an extremely tight experience that still holds up to this day.
Personally, I wasn’t a big fan of the sequel, as the RPG elements felt unnecessary and tacked on for no good reason. Shadow Warrior 2 to me felt like the opposite of the first game, but it was adored by fans, more than Shadow Warrior 3 according to Steam user reviews.
This may be due to the fact that Shadow Warrior 3 plays a lot like Doom Eternal, which despite being a good game isn’t what people expected out of the franchise. The game’s extremely short runtime and Lo Wang’s voice actor being replaced due to cultural differences also damaged its presentation to the fans.
Shadow Warrior 3 moves at a breakneck pace due to its newfound arcade nature, with mobility taking the center stage through Lo Wang’s dash and his new grappling hook. The game is fully aware of these changes and Lo Wang constantly makes fun of it by saying that everyone needs a grappling hook nowadays, as it’s illegal to not have one.
Shadow Warrior 3 Definitive Edition
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Platform: Windows PC (reviewed), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Release Date: February 16th, 2023
Lo Wang already starts the game with a big chunk of his arsenal, which makes his sword feel less important. The weapon was a huge deal on the 2013 reboot, since Lo Wang’s gun collection starts off pretty small, the player was forced to deal with most early encounters in melee range.
Each of the entries in the shadow warrior reboot series feel like a homage to different periods of gaming, with the first one playing its premise pretty straight as a 7th generation title, usually sticking to linear levels and predictable pacing. The second game followed the trend of RPG itemization that came out of nowhere, and the third game followed the renaissance of boomer shooters brought by Doom 2016 and Eternal.
Now that we are done with the retrospective series, do any of Shadow Warrior 3‘s major problems get solved by the Definitive Edition? Well, not really, the Definitive Edition adds a lot of quality-of-life changes to the game, but it doesn’t address much of what the fans have been complaining about.
Previously announced back February 1st, 2023, the Definitive Edition features the following enhancements: a new Survival mode, a new Chapter Select menu, New Game Plus, a new Hardcore Diffulty, a new Hero Mode, and enhancements for Xbox Series X|S and PS5.
The game’s price is also allegedly set to decrease, and anyone who already owns the game is entitled to a free upgrade, which is a nice bonus, but while the update is welcomed, calling it a Definitive Edition feels like a stretch.
The Survival Mode is a fun test of skill and helps setting a goal for yourself due to the wave-based nature, the maps seem to be modified versions of arenas that were used in the main campaign but expanded a bit for longer fights, they ramp up in difficulty a lot and the rogue-like aspect of only being able to choose one of three power-ups per round adds a decent layer of RNG.
Unfortunately, most of the game’s problems carry into the arena, like the bullet-sponge enemies and some upgrades being a lot better than others, but it can serve as a decent time-waster for anyone who wants to fill in half-an-hour or so.
It is unrealistic for the developers to just go back and add multiple chapters and weapons to the game for free like they need to go on some sort of redemption tour. Flying Wild Hog delivered a pretty fun and tight game, but surrounding the Definitive Edition with a lot of hype may leave people disappointed.
It would be a lot more interesting if instead of the free Definitive Edition we actually got some paid DLC with new weapons and levels, anything to actually add to the game’s length in a manner that doesn’t feel like padding. As someone who greatly enjoyed the game, seeing a Definitive Edition that doesn’t add any worthwhile content feels like wasted potential.
Shadow Warrior 3 works really well as an arcade shooter, especially for someone who just finished Doom Eternal and wants something similar, but for die-hard fans of the franchise it falls a bit flat. The Survival Mode does help add some much-needed extra game time, but overall it’s a “meh” Definitive Edition. At the very least, everyone who already owns Shadow Warrior 3 gets a free upgrade, so it isn’t a bad deal.
Keep in mind the score below is for the update, not the game itself, as we already have an in-depth review of Shadow Warrior 3 in case you want to know more about it.
Shadow Warrior 3 Definitive Edition was reviewed on Microsoft Windows using a game code provided by Devolver Digital, You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Shadow Warrior 3 is available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and Microsoft Windows (through Steam).