Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition review for PC, PlayStation, Xbox

Platform: PC
Also on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Medium: Digital/Disc/Cartridge
Players: 1
Online: No

Like Tyler with the basic version of the game last year, I went into Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition with no prior experience with the franchise ? or any idea of what I was getting into. And for the most part, my takeaways from Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition are fairly similar to Tyler?s and the base game: there are strong DOOM 2016/Doom Eternal vibes running throughout the game, you?ll max out your character?s upgrades awfully quickly, and you probably won?t need to play it a second time ? even if this Definitive Edition brings with it New Game Plus, harder difficulty modes, and a chapter select so you can go back and replay your favourite parts.

However, where some people may view things like the lack of replayability and the quick upgrades as negatives, for me they?re only positive. In a game like Shadow Warrior 3 that?s all about ripping through enemies and cracking wise while you?re doing it, I like being able to feel like my character is a little overpowered. While this may go against the spirit of the first two games (judging from the Steam reviews), it feels like it?d be against the spirit of this game to have Lo Wang slowly but surely grinding his way through enemies and gradually increasing his powers.

Is it stupid? Of course it is. But that?s the point of Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition. It?s meant to be ludicrously over-the-top, as Wang makes constant dirty jokes that barely qualify as single entendres while slicing, dicing, and blasting his way through enemies that explode in gore. For me, it?d feel sillier if the game was solemn and serious, and then Wang turned around, blasted a demon with something that looks suspiciously like Iron Man?s repulsors, and ripped another demon?s head straight out of its body, spinal cord and all.

Even looking beyond the violence, I don?t think slow progression and grinding would be compatible with a game that moves as quickly as this one. Throughout Shadow Warrior 3, it feels like you?re constantly in motion, whether you?re jumping from platform to platform, swinging from ledges with a grappling hook, or parkouring along walls. Wang is a constant source of kinetic energy, and I suspect that this comes off much better in a game that lasts 5-6 hours than it would if the game were twice as long.

Admittedly, given that I haven?t played the first two post-reboot Shadow Warrior games, I completely understand why some people might be upset if Shadow Warrior 3 is, indeed, a complete departure for the series. But I can?t judge Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition on how well it matches up with its predecessors. What I can do, however, is judge Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition on how much fun it is ? and by that metric, I can?t imagine a more enjoyable game.

Devolver Digital provided us with a Shadow Warrior 3: Definitive Edition PC code for review purposes.

Grade: A