bold humor and heavy artillery!

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Unofficial disciple of King Duke Nukem, Lo Wang and the Shadow Warrior series were born in 1997 thanks to the good care of the legendary 3D Realms studio, which wanted to offer hand-to-hand combat using katanas. Forgotten (after Twin Drgaon and Wanton Destruction), the series came back to life in 2013 thanks to the reboot operated by the Polish developers at Flying Wild Hog, to the delight of fans. After a classic first episode, and a second that adopted RPG mechanics and a semi-open world, the saga now offers us a third episode still full of action and punchlines, even if the lack of content may disappoint fans. fans of the series.

After leaving a flamboyant Lo Wang at the height of his glory after defeating the dark designs of the evil billionaire Zilla at the end of Shadow Warrior 2, we find him in a sorry state during the intro of this Shadow Warrior 3. Dressed in fairly dirty underpants and a shabby tank top, the Asian hero laments on the bonnet of his wrecked 260Z and explains to us in passing the solution in which the world finds itself, while doing a little topo on the events of the previous episodes. In short, novices will not be lost. Long story short, Lo Wang accidentally released a giant dragon from the Shadow Realm that caused the apocalypse, and pretty much ruined the entire planet. Fortunately, Lo Wang will be able to count on his former enemies to help him in the annihilation of the ugly beast. We will thus find the demon Hoji, Zilla, but also the witch Motoko and her magic tanuki which will be used to create some very funny situations, while unbearable Lo Wang (who describes him as a trash panda on many occasions). As always, one of the strengths of the game is its ubiquitous humor. The latter is not really fine, but the abundance and the variety of punchlines make us spend a lot of time smiling, whether during cutscenes or even in the middle of the action when our hero comments on his best actions.

Shadow Warrior 3: a classic score

Besides, here we come across one of the first pitfalls of the title, since the audio is only available in English, and to be frank, the translations (the subtitles therefore) are not really up to par, and most of the valves are pretty badly translated. We will not specify that in full action it is also quite complicated to pay the slightest attention to the texts which are displayed at the bottom of the screen. You have understood it, it will be imperative to be English-speaking to take advantage of all the valves. As far as the action is concerned, the latter wears such big clogs as humor, and offers fun, without the fuss. We will therefore find Lo Wang’s usual range of movements, with a double jump, a dash that we abuse, and the possibility of sliding. For Shadow Warrior 3, our ninja inherits a grappling hook that will be used to cling to rings during platform passages, but also to rush into enemies, just like with the Slayer’s Meat Hook in DOOM Eternal. We will also be able to perform wallruns and climb on any surface covered with vines. By combining all these mechanisms, we have a super fast hero who will be able to slalom between enemies at full speed before bouncing on platforms.

As you have probably guessed from the mention of the surfaces covered with vines and the mention of the rings for the grappling hook, the progression in this third opus is extremely linear. Gone are the days of semi-open areas and exploration. We don’t have any large areas, and there are hardly any nooks and crannies to search, which can be quite disappointing for a game released in 2022. before arriving on arenas that are teeming with enemies. These phases of travel allow on the one hand to see a few countries, but are above all a welcome break in the action, in order to rest your fingers between two frenetic action sequences. The fights are in the purest fast-FPS style, and require you to stay in continuous motion in order to avoid ending up reduced to a heap of bloody flesh. However, the fight is greatly inspired by recent references to the genre, and more particularly DOOM Eternal.

Hoji Simpson

As in the last game from id software, we will collect material according to the way used to kill the enemies. The demons zigouilles with the katana will make it possible to find ammunition, while those which one will have copiously leaded will enable us to put the hand on some orbs of life. The system remains more permissive than that of DOOM since you can also recover life and ammunition on the ground, via spawn points which regenerate quite quickly. Like the Slayer, Lo Wang will also be able to perform nice finish moves, but which are here linked to a special bar that we fill by accumulating corpses behind us. This ultimate attack allows on the one hand to oneshot the most imposing enemies, but it also allows to recover on their corpse hyper powerful weapons which we will be able to use for a few tens of seconds.
You will therefore have to use the special at the right time in a fight in order to maximize the effect of these super-weapons, especially if you are playing on the highest difficulty (there are three settings, easy-normal and hard). We will also be able to use a new ability called chi wave in order to push back the enemies to get free, or to send them towards the traps placed on most arenas, like these stakes which are very often available. The most powerful enemies can in turn be reduced to mush by various mechanisms animating blades that can be activated by pulling a switch. Finally, many barrels litter the ground and allow you to inflict elemental damage on demons. We will also have electric barrels, explosives, while others downright freeze the opposition (hello the cryogun of Duke Nukem).

A light arsenal?

However, Lo Wang’s personal arsenal has not been forgotten, even if it is devilishly less varied than before. Melee weapons are now limited to the initial single katana, and no alternate models will be available. We will console ourselves with a nice choice of firearms which includes a pistol, a pair of automatics, a grenade launcher, a shuriken launcher and a kind of railgun. To bring a little variety, and keep some RPG elements, each weapon can be improved via upgrade points that are collected during the game. Be careful, it will be impossible to put all our arsenal fully before the end boss, which will force you to make choices. Similarly, Lo Wang will be able to see his abilities improve via skill points (which are also collected during the adventure), in order to have more life, or even a more powerful wave of chi.

Pretty panoramas

The bestiary turns out to be revised from top to bottom with totally new enemies whose look is quite worked (mention for the secret enemy that spawns if you kill too many rabbits). Of course, we will benefit from many effects, with sheaves of blood, and viscera hyper worked during the dismemberments, while we will see the enemies separate into several pieces after having worked them with a katana. Overall the title is quite nice, with beautiful Japanese-style panoramas, giant Buddha statues, pagodas, bamboo forests and setting suns, knowing that certain details of the scenery that block progress are destructible and vanish into the background. air into a billion particles. In short, we take full eyes.

Less is More?

However, Shadow Warrior 3 suffers from two major flaws. First of all, the game has (at the time of our test) a lot of bugs, including some pretty annoying things, including a save game that got corrupted and forced us to start all over from the beginning. Since then the game has been patched, and options allow you to restart a level to avoid this kind of gag, but you shouldn’t wince too much in the face of an enemy stuck in the background, or in front of collision bugs. The other problem, and this one still persists, is the glaring lack of content. The game offers two bosses in all and for all, and can be played from start to finish in 5 to 6 hours watch in hand on normal difficulty. No new game+ is on the menu, nor is it possible to replay a particular level. We have not found a scoring system either, which means that the replay value of the title is almost non-existent. We could have closed our eyes to a game sold at a low price, but faced with a title sold for €45 on Steam (and €55 in deluxe), we still have a bitter taste in our mouths. You have understood it, unless you are a fan of the license, we suggest that you wait for sales that will plunge the price of Shadow Warrior 3 at 20 or 30 euros.

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