A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Shadow Warrior 2 is a downloadable violent, bloody action game. Players use swords, guns, a chain saw, and other weapons to kill people and monsters, resulting in a bloodbath of gore and severed body parts. The hero also makes tons of dumb jokes about sex and farting, as well as sex puns with his last name (Wang). He also uses his middle finger a lot. Not surprisingly, another character threatens his genitalia. While you do frequent a strip club, no one is shown drinking or dancing. Some characters are shown wearing thongs, and there's a hologram of a woman who's nude but covering herself. Game has co-op options, and communication is unmoderated.
What's it about?
In SHADOW WARRIOR 2, humans and demons live together like cats and dogs -- which means it's time once again for Wang to use extreme violence to slice, dice, and generally spread death and destruction in an attempt to save humanity. This is why you, as the player, have to use guns, swords, a bow and arrow, and even a chain saw to cut a bloody swath through an army of monsters and the people who love them.
Is it any good?
Like its predecessor, this first-person action game is both mindlessly fun and deeply flawed. Like the 1997 original and the remake that came out in 2013, Shadow Warrior 2 casts you as a smart-ass named Wang who uses a wide variety of guns, blades, and other weapons to cut a bloody swath through an army of demons, monsters, and their human friends. The kicker is that this isn't a shooter where you can smack people once in a while or a hack-and-slash game where you occasionally get a shotgun but rather a cross between the two. Though, admittedly, it's often more fun and effective to use your blades this time around. This also changes the structure of where you use all these weapons, setting its conflict on more open battlefields.
Unfortunately, the mindless fun of this action game is sometimes dulled by its deep flaws. Most notably, by making the battlefields more open and having a story that's inane, the developer ruined the solid progression of the original. Instead, this just feels like a loose collection of fights. The developer also, annoyingly, cut your ability to quickly smack someone with a sword while you were using a gun or nail someone with a throwing star while you were using a sword (all big advantages in the previous games). Lastly, while our talkative hero likes to make a lot of jokes, most of them are either tired, old, or just not clever. There are better mindless action games out there (we're looking at you Doom and the remake of Bulletstorm). But if you liked the original or its remake and don't mind the constant barrage of idiotic comments, the dialed-back abilities, or the awkward open-world feel, Shadow Warrior 2 may entertain you for a weekend.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games. In this game, you're trying to save the world again, but you use extreme violence to do so -- is this appropriate? Do you think there might be a better way to solve your problems?
Families also can talk about violence against people. Does it make you feel differently when you kill a person in this game, as opposed to when you kill a monster? What do you think that says about you?
Talk about crude humor. Do you think the dirty jokes and curse words make the game more fun?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $34.99
- Pricing structure: Free
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Devolver Digital
- Release date: May 18, 2017
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Sports and Martial Arts, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Suggestive Themes, Nudity, Drug Reference, Strong Language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.