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Shadow Warrior 2 Review

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Story:

In a word, I found the story to be mediocre at best, and not in the 'move on it's fun' mediocre way. There are a number of topics and sub-plots in the story that seem to be brought up for a few missions, and then either drop away or are completely walked away from. It also does not help that the events of the first game are not covered in much detail here, so while I can remember some of the animus between Lo Wang and other characters, others leave me scratching my head. To be fair, I am more interested in and critical of story than most people, so I might be a bit harsher on Shadow Warrior 2 than others may think it deserves.

The game starts five years after the previous game with you running a couple missions for the Yakuza. The first one is to collect a magical artifact that is meant as a birthday gift for Kamiko, and the second is to rescue her from Zilla, one of the two primary villains from the first game. Her body becomes corrupted by a means not ever fully explained, nor is the reason why Zilla would do this, and so to save her life, her soul is removed from her body and placed into yours. This means that for the rest of the game you have a young woman trapped in your head who has very little in common with Lo Wang. He only cares about being paid in money (or "sexy money") while she values the charity and generosity of others. He has saved the world in part by being a chi master, and she is unaware of this and one of the scientists that develop chi-tech, so everyone can do what he spent years studying. He likes making dick jokes, and she hates his guts. Not exactly The Odd Couple, but it is a classic concept.

 

 

One of the sub-plots that is mentioned a fair amount in the beginning but then dropped is the drug Shade and Kamiko's involvement with it. Basically Lo Wang looks down on those who have become addicted to Shade, as does Kamiko, so when it is revealed that she not only developed the pure form but experimented with it, it gets tense. To Lo Wang there is little difference between what she made and Shade, which has other, addictive drugs mixed in, while Kamiko is completely committed to there being a difference and that there was nothing wrong with what she did and it is the addicts' fault for their situation. Then this sub-plot ends. I do not know what I may have wanted from it, but there was no conclusion or reconciliation to this, at all. You do continue to encounter Shade and those addicted to it later, but there is no resolution to how it connects with anything else.

There is also a matter of Kamiko's heritage that does not seem well defined, but it is so tightly connected to the main story that it is within spoiler territory. Basically there were some serious red-flags that should have clued her in to certain things. On the plus side, one of these red-flags would probably explain why Zilla was interested in her, assuming he was aware of it though I cannot remember this being confirmed in the game.

 

Perhaps I should mention that there are many random drops you can pick up that likely add to the story as they are from diaries and notes. I have not looked at them yet because I want to keep playing, not reading. Also, it is kind of a sticking point for me that a game should tell a complete story without relying on content like these items.

Some of the connections back to the first game also seem to lack definition, such as the legendary sword you were after, the Nobitsura Kage. It is a sword capable of killing the otherwise immortal demons, and you actually get to meet the last descendant of the original smiths who crafted this weapon. When this descendant remarks that his family made it and implies he doubts you would believe such a fairy tale, you respond by saying you believe it and own the sword… which has been shrinking over these past five years. Except as a reason for why Lo Wang cannot use it to kill some of the remaining, annoying demons, I really cannot think of why the sword would shrink, and no explanation is given either. I would think a less ridiculous explanation could have been provided, or you could have been allowed to use it because that capability would actually not have factored much into the gameplay. It does feed into the upgrade system some, but by this point I was already using the system, so it was not really necessary.

The ending of the game is also kind of unusual, but there is nothing bad about it. It just left me expecting more, like an after-credits scene with some additional explanation to what happened. If you play the game, I think you will understand what I mean when you get there.

While the main goal is to save the world, and there are some nice twists to it, due to the many actors involved having their own interests, there are also so many tangents that do not seem properly fleshed out and aspects of the main plot that are similarly lacking. It is not a bad story, but it is mediocre and without some kind of resolution to these issues, that is all I can really consider it to be.

 




  1. Shadow Warrior 2 Review - Introduction
  2. Shadow Warrior 2 Review - Graphics
  3. Shadow Warrior 2 Review - Story
  4. Shadow Warrior 2 Review - Gameplay
  5. Shadow Warrior 2 Review - Additional Gameplay Media
  6. Shadow Warrior 2 Review - Conclusion
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