Shadow Warrior isn’t an old-school FPS. It comes from a different branch of evolution compared to other modern shooters. It’s made by the same developers who made Painkiller, a shooter which at the time was compared to Quake, but really wasn’t. Then they made Hard Reset, which twisted and evolved the Painkiller formula to something new, and now with Shadow Warrior, they’ve transformed it again. This is more like Devil May Cry crossed with Serious Sam, not resembling the original Shadow Warrior at all.
It’s a great game. Like Serious Sam at its best, the game feels like a dance. By listening to the sound cues, you create a mental map of each scene by instinct. You know when to move left when to dodge back when to charge, based not just on what’s in front of you, but what’s behind, to your sides, or above. It’s constant movement, of a kind where different combinations of enemies call for different patterns of evasion. I love this kind of FPS, and there aren’t that many of them. Serious Sam 3, Hard Reset and now Shadow Warrior are the best at it.
Unfortunately, the middle of the game drags a bit, and the boss fights are disappointing. I also wish there was more enemy variety. Just one or two more enemy types might have been enough to mix things up toward the end. But even with those problems, this is easily one of the best shooters ever made. Not that there’s much competition anymore. As a fan of FPS games that rely on skill, Call of Duty and Gears of War has made things dull. I don’t want to sit behind cover all the time, I want to dance. And I’m glad that with Shadow Warrior I’m still given opportunities to do so.