T.A.O. of Shadow Warrior

So, when I first heard this game was getting a reboot, I must admit that I rolled my eyes a bit and thought “Oh goodie, another 90’s reboot that will probably fail miserably but still be a kind of guilty pleasure”. Much like my other post regarding the Wolfenstien reboot, my last experience with this game was less than serious. Here’s a quick clip of how I remember Shadow Warrior:

Not exactly breakthrough story telling here, nor a terribly immersive environment. But then again, this was the 90’s and few games had the depth that they do today. Shadow Warrior didn’t break through with any major advances in technology or gameplay. It’s main focal points were Lo Wang and his many euphemisms and how many Asian Stereotype one-liners could be made in a single level. So again, my initial gut reaction was less than enthusiastic.

These are actually the reasons why it’s taken me so long to even look up it’s trailer for this blog in the first place. I really did not have much expectations for this game, but I figured “Why not? Lets see what they did with this.” And to my delight, here’s the trailer posted for the game:

In a sudden surge of mature sophistication, this seems to be much more than a simple reboot! Typically, I’m a fan of having a series staying true to it’s roots, especially if that’s what made it successful, as I have previously discussed in my Assassin’s Creed post. But this is something much different.

THE ANALYSIS

The trailer opens up with a swanky instrumental. This is the first thing that raised my eyebrow. Going back to the original game, I would have expecting something more intense and rocking, given it’s low-brow appeal. But as the music picks up, we are shown a beautiful cherry blossom hanging from a tree, gently bobbing in a breeze. As the camera pans away, a lens flare accents the border of the view and a single petal breaks away to float off to an unseen wind.

A brief white fade transition and we’re passing through a decorative oriental garden seen, with a Buddha in the Abhaya Mudra position. Interesting choice, given level of violence that I am sure we will encounter in this game.

As we pass by Buddha and another Lion statue, our ears are continuously graced with the soft vocals of an Asian song, which I am sad to admit I have not the slightest clue of what she sings. At 0:22, we get a glimpse of a black coupe, letting us know that this game will be taking place in the modern day, or at least somewhat close.

0:26, we glide by the coupe and the camera ushers us up a grand stair case entrance of Oriental elegance.

Another fade transition, and we are looking top down on supposedly the same staircase. At 0:34, we see the shoes of a man lying down on the stone work. At 0:35, we see his otherwise clean white shirt and tie splattered with blood, which probably came from his decapitated head.

Passing up the stairs and in to a courtyard, we pass through a door with 4 Shurikens embedded in the wood and in the distance see another 3 men strewn about with similar amounts of blood on the ground. What’s noteworthy about this scene and the previous is that amount of calm in the atmosphere. There is no sign of a struggle, no knocked over vases or gouged doors or columns, and the bodies do not seem to be harmed in anyway other than the, well, detached head part or other fatal blow. Even the men in the courtyard do not seem to have been involved in an extended battle. Simply put, our protagonist walks up, SLICE, and moves on.

0:42 we get our first glimpse of our protagonist. Dressed casually, he walks with a smooth gait armed with a Katana and a pistol. Mental Note: the Katana returns as a Melee Weapon.

One more dead guard, and at 0:50 we enter a much different scene. Here, we are in a dimly lit room with a multitude of low lit candles. A lone figure waits for us on the far side, head hung low in quiet contemplation. The figure is dressed in some sort of armor with a red sash across it’s body.

At 0:56 we drift closer to the figure, who then looks up at us with blackened eyes. The lettering on her armor glows, and an electric guitar strikes a chord. At 1:00 she looks up along with countless pairs of red glowing eyes that awaken from the darkness. Note that we can see vertical slits for pupils in a few of them. So whatever they are behind her, they are not human.

Cut to logo, with a splash of blood and bullet shells for good measure!

Show the studios involved, Devolver Digital, Flying Wild Hog, and 3D Realms, and plug the social media site Facebook.com/ShadowWarriorGame.

WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR

Judging by this trailer, we will be having quite the departure from the original tongue-in-cheek humor of the original. As for the gore, we saw enough of it from each individual slain body, but what about the carnage in general? After a quick visit to the Facebook page, the one piece of concept art displaying an exploded view of all the way the bits and pieces of the body can be dissected, it’s looking like there will be plenty of opportunity to pick apart your enemies, and definitely in the literal sense!

As I’ve referenced before, we’ll have our handy katana at our side and Shurikens in our pockets to enforce the Asian flavor. I can’t get a handle on the “chaos” level of the combat, but I guessing that it will be a much more controlled flow than all out bullet-fest style. Again citing the facebook page, there is a reference to a Quad Shotgun so there will be times to justify an increased intensity level.

Another thing to note: at the end of the trailer there was no mention of gaming platform. As per this trailer, we do not know if this will be making it’s way to either current or next-gen consoles, or if it will be a PC exclusive.

WHAT TO EXPECT

  1. Lone protagonist, Lo Wang
  2. Weapons of traditional guns, Katana, Shurikens. There will obviously be supernatural elements, but it was not shown if these elements will make their way in to our arsenal
  3. Antagonist with supernatural powers
  4. Antagonist to have a legion of demons as her personal army
  5. Scenic environments
  6. Plenty of dismemberment
  7. From the facebook page, These sons of bitches are Crawlers and will absolutely ruin a pleasant day under the cherry blossoms if you don’t separate their head and limbs from their body with the katana. Again with the dismemberment, but this quote suggests that these Crawlers will keep coming at you even with severe damage done to them. Possibly keep “crawling” towards you even after loss of limb? BRING IT!

Final Thought: After this trailer and the one for Wolfenstien, Thief, are we at the beginning of an era of rebooting 90’s games? What’s next? Shadowrun?

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