A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
This is an over-the-top action game that doesn't appear to have any messages for players. It's meant to be a fun and silly – and quite gratuitously gory – first person shooter and slasher, and nothing more.
Positive Role Models
The game stars Lo Wang, a merciless warrior in neo-feudal Japan, who survives an apocalypse and vows to destroy an ancient dragon accidentally awakened, as well many other evil creatures that stand in his way. Using all kinds of weapons and a katana for close-quarter combat, Lo Wang kills thousands of enemies and clearly enjoys it with his comments or songs he sings while destroying demons. While saving the world, he's not an ideal role model.
There aren't many human characters in this game as you're mostly interacting with deadly demons, big and small, but the humans you do interact with are Asian, including Zilla, as well as a sorceress named Motoko and masked spirit helper, Hoji. Zilla is older, so there's some diversity in age.
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Ease of Play
Shadow Warrior 3 is simple to control, especially for those familiar with first-person shooters, plus there's also melee play, platforming elements, and a little puzzle-solving, too. The mouse and keyboard combination works well, as does a game controller.
Violence & Scariness
This is extremely violent, bloody, and gory. Absurd amounts of blood spray out of creatures you kill, plus you can behead, dismember, and disembowel them. As finishing moves, you can rip off their head and crush their skull with your hands, rip out a spine, or break off a leg and use it to attack others. You'll use all kinds of weapons, including several guns, as well as a katana sword.
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Shadow Warrior 3 has extreme profanity all throughout the game, including phrases like "shut the f--k up," "f--king," "f--ker," "s—t," "a—hole," and "son of a bitch."
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Products & Purchases
The game can be purchased as a pricier "deluxe" edition, with extra content. Console owners who pre-ordered the game also received Shadow Warrior and Shadow Warrior 2 for free.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There's a reference to drinking champagne.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Shadow Warrior 3 is a downloadable first-person action game for Windows PC, Xbox One and PS4. The game is extremely violent, bloody and gory, including the ability to behead, dismember, and disembowel creatures you kill. Finishing moves include crushing someone's skull with your bare hands, throwing an exploding skull, or ripping off body parts. You can also kill rabbits for a bonus. The game has very strong profanity (including all varieties of the word "f—k"). There's also a reference to drinking champagne during play.
Is It Any Good?
If you like absolutely ridiculous amounts of blood and gore, and cheesy one-liners, then you'll enjoy blasting away at demons in this fast-paced first-person adventure. Shadow Warrior 3's controls are easy to pick up, the graphics are colorful, and some of the boss fights are memorable. But it has some assorted issues, though, and it doesn't try anything new or interesting to push the genre forward. The lack of included multiplayer is also unfortunate. But for unadulterated fun, or as a means to blow off some steam at the end of a bad day with Lo Wang's six weapons and grappling hook mechanic, there are far worse games to play than this digital download.
The speed (including double-jumps and strafing) and platform-like elements are fun, and the demons are laughably crazy-looking. It's fun to play around with all the ways you can kill these creatures using a combination of guns and explosives, katana slices, and some magic abilities (like slowing down time). How they die is equally over-the-top, not to mention the cringy Mortal Kombat-like finishing moves – but from a first-person perspective. Those who like to explore to find hidden goodies will be disappointed in Shadow Warrior 3, as there are only a couple of ammo or upgrade boosts you can discover. That means you won't like be incentivized to look for these extras much. You'll kill a bunch of demons in an arena, make your way to the next area, and repeat the process (though the maps are mostly cleverly designed). On a related note, this game is also linear, which means you can't go back to collect items to bump up Lo Wang's arsenal. One last issue: the game is only about five hours long. But if you can get past its brevity, gameplay that doesn't push the envelope, and Lo Wang's repetitive jokes, you'll have a good time with Shadow Warrior 3. So long as you don't take it seriously – and you shouldn't – this mature-rated gorefest is fun... while it lasts.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.