Shadow Warrior 3 might be set in the demon-ravaged ruins of a futuristic Japan, but the game itself feels like a return to the early 2010s. Protagonist Lo Wang is constantly quipping, breaking the fourth wall and using his own name for dick jokes as he auditions to be the next Ryan Reynolds. There's parkour, grappling hooks, and an emphasis on light-hearted gore. The term "trash panda" is dusted off and used to describe a raccoon.
It might seem unfair to focus so much on the sequel's style, but it's so hard not to when the attempts at comedy are so frequent and so exhausting. All the quips are here: puns that Lo Wang self-consciously defends, replacing Eighties song lyrics with "douchebag". There's hardly any time for the protagonist to breathe, let alone the game.
Because comedic chafing aside, Shadow Warrior 3 can be a delightfully chaotic shooter. It keeps things simple: six guns, limited health, and lots of creatively-designed enemies to keep you on your toes. The game's 11 missions are split between arena-style combat portions and high-flying traversal sections, both as tight as each other. The addition of wall-running, air-dashing, and Lo Wang's grappling hook make for some great free-running set-pieces, as well as adding a vertical element to combat.
The shooter is at its strongest near the end of its eight-hour campaign when your screen is flooded with enemies. Fending off dozens of dynamite-decorated suicide bombers while firing rockets at four-armed sombrero samurai is genuinely exhilarating, while the game's climactic dragon chase is visually impressive. There's evidently a lot of heart in Shadow Warrior 3.
But there's also the £40 price tag to reckon with. For such a short and sometimes very samey campaign, it feels overly expensive — especially when Shadow Warrior 2 had so much additional content to chew on.
Simple but tight, Shadow Warrior 3 is a solid shooter with some occasional flashes of excitement. It's a shame the game's attempts at comedy squeeze the life out of it — and £40 for an eight-hour campaign is barely good value.