Skip to main content

Shadow Warrior 3 isn’t revolutionary, and that’s refreshing

While everyone else has been playing Elden Ring and Horizon Forbidden West, I’ve been shooting up or vivisecting enemies in Shadow Warrior 3 and having a pretty good time. It’s a zeitgeisty first-person shooter that’s fast-paced, gory, and filled with different ways to dismantle your enemies. At the same time, Shadow Warrior 3 is unremarkable, providing me with a solid four-and-a-half hours of entertainment.

Shadow Warrior 3 - Release Date Trailer

In that way, Shadow Warrior 3 is kind of perfect. Not unlike a syndicated sitcom, Shadow Warrior 3 starts without a misstep, stays interesting throughout, and never slows down. There wasn’t a lull, a midgame slog, or anything other issue because the game isn’t that complicated. You run, gun, and listen to Lo Wang spout off ever-grating ’90s references. It’s pretty great.

Perfectly standard

Let me add some context to this weird line of praise I’ve got going on. I’m writing this on February 18, smack-dab in the middle of the busiest month for games so far in 2022. Sifu and OlliOlli World have both come out and blown me away. Horizon Forbidden West is getting heaps of praise for its evolution on the original game’s formula and beautiful graphics. The monster that is Elden Ring has a stranglehold on the entire industry.

Suffice it to say, things are pretty busy. Most of the games I mentioned try to revolutionize their respective genres in some way, or are marked by their inventive gameplay mechanics. They’re all something new, and while that’s exciting, it’s also pretty exhausting. They demand more attention, a weightier critique. New ideas are being introduced, and they have to be placed somewhere in the ever-growing game mechanic pantheon.

Firing a fireworks launcher in Shadow Warrior 3.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

That’s why Shadow Warrior 3 is so perfect, especially right now. It’s about as straightforward as you can get with a first-person shooter. The game starts at a blistering pace, throwing players at demons invading the earth. You can chop them in half with your sword or blast them apart with one of the six guns you get. And bless the game, because it doesn’t let you explore anywhere or do anything besides shoot enemies. That linearity is a great reprieve from the open-world objective fests that so many AAA games are.

Even when Shadow Warrior 3 tries to do something new, it doesn’t really change the game all that much, and that’s wonderful. You can perform executions on enemies that rip weapons straight out of their bodies, which you can then turn on the demonic hordes. But they’re still weapons! Melee or otherwise, it’s just another flavor of what’s already in the game. There’s no planning required here, just holding W and Mouse 1 as I plow through enemies.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Best of all is that I didn’t have to apply any critical thinking to Shadow Warrior 3. There’s virtually no decision-making but a whole lot of killing enemies, watching pretty colors go off on the screen, and having uncomplicated fun. Shadow Warrior 3 is simply a good game, but it accomplishes every task a video game should do quickly and without effort. Really, what more could anyone want?

Shadow Warrior 3 is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

Editors' Recommendations

Otto Kratky
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Otto Kratky is a freelance writer with many homes. You can find his work at Digital Trends, GameSpot, and Gamepur. If he's…
The best games on Meta Quest 3
A product shot of the Meta Quest 3 shown in dramatic lighting over a gradient background.

VR headsets have become a successful niche for gamers who want to fully immerse themselves in their gaming experiences. There are plenty of options out there in terms of which headset you could go with, including Sony's PSVR2 and Oculus, but the latest and greatest is the Meta Quest 3. This is the upgraded version of the already impressive Quest 2, and it not only boasts more powerful hardware, but also new features that can add even more immersion to games. This headset is fresh on the market, so if you picked one up and are looking for the best games to test it out, we've collected the best games for you to dive into.

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners

Read more
The best console emulators (NES, SNES, Genesis, and more) in 2023
Mario narrowly avoids a Chain Chimp in Super Mario 64.

The best emulators allow you to replay classic games from systems like the Super Nintendo and PlayStation 2 on modern hardware -- and usually with some enhancements to boot. Because emulators often meddle in a legal gray area, it can be hard to find emulators that run classic games consistently.

Thankfully, there's one go-to emulator for most platforms. In addition to RetroArch, which covers a large range of retro consoles, there are also several standalone emulators that can fake more recent hardware -- even the Nintendo Switch.
One to rule them all: RetroArch

Read more
The best Xbox Series X headsets
Controls on the SteelSeries Acris Nova Pro headset.

There’s nothing that can enhance your gaming experience quite like a good headset. In addition to bringing the game right to your ears, a good headset will offer spatial audio — allowing you to pinpoint sounds around you — a solid microphone, and excellent comfort, especially for long gaming sessions. Whether you're rocking the newest single-player experience or fighting for your life in multiplayer, our six best Xbox Series X headsets satisfy all these conditions and more.

Read more