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E3 2016: Shadow Warrior 2 Delivers Extra Awesome Demon Killing

Shadow Warrior 2 feels like a deliberate sequel. It's more Shadow Warrior, but with a slightly larger berth and a handful of new features. 

Protagonist Lo Wang returns in all his obnoxious glory, spouting dick jokes and arguing with the spirit of a princess trapped in his head (it's complicated). He still carries a sword and an unbelievably large arsenal of weapons, and has a penchant for badassery and killing demons. 

But this time, he has the option of not going alone. Shadow Warrior 2 supports multiple players, allowing for it to be a cooperative experience. The number of monsters scales up or down depending on the number of players in the session, so it is genuinely possible to play all alone, should one want. It'sa smartapproach to accomodate people of both preferences. 

Much of Shadow Warrior 2 plays the same as it did in the 2013 reboot, with a handful of new changes. Traversal has been re-worked into allowing Lo Wang the options to double-jump and dash both on the ground and in the air. It seems like a minor adjustment, but it means everything in a game where levels have been built with verticality. Buildings tower above the ground and multiple paths provide options for players to take toward their next objective. 

Weapons have alternating firing modes to counter all-new enemies with more specific strengths and weaknesses. One mini boss was a source of frustration for me as he set himself aflame and began charging in my direction. Selecting the rifle, I engaged the weapon's icy bullet mode and began chipping away at the creature's health with more success than before. 

Shadow Warrior 2 now supports a more dynamic damage system on its enemies, meaning I could take a chainsaw and literally carve monsters into heaps of meaty gore. It was messed up, but not uotside of Shadow Warrior 2's brutal sense of humor and quirkiness. 

The Shadow Warrior reboot was a deeply flaed gem. Bugs, some awkward combat encounters, and a tight, linear path were difficult to ignore within this quirky, darkly comedic world. Shadow Warrior 2 is a smart response to this, and one that seems to understand what was so enjoyable about its predecessor. 

Shadow Warrior 2 releases sometime in 2016 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. 

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