Shadow Warrior 2 has been a long time coming. First appearing on PC in 1997, the first Shadow Warrior finally came to PS4 as an HD remake in 2014. With humor, style, and gore galore, Shadow Warrior was a love letter to a bygone age of hardcore first-person shooters. Thanks to a positive reception, the way has been paved for Lo Wang’s return in the first truly new Shadow Warrior adventure in decades. And with that comes our first meaty look at the new Shadow Warrior 2 weapons.
Shadow Warrior 1 was indeed good--our review noted the satisfying gunplay, high difficulty, and confident narrative as high points. But Shadow Warrior 2 wants you to share that experience: the entire game is playable in 4-player co-op, and procedurally generated levels with fresh weapons, enemies, terrain, and weather.
From hands-on time at E3, we can attest that Shadow Warrior 2 is an absolute blast. The tight controls and aiming mix with awesome moves like forward dashes and spin attacks to make you and your friends feel powerful. It’s a chaotic contest for stylish kills, and it’s aided by some cool, inventive weaponry -- over 70 different weapons, across all manner of guns and blades.
Put it this way: if you have a blast with games like Borderlands and don’t mind some genuinely funny, adult-oriented humor, you’re going to dig Shadow Warrior 2. To whet our appetites for the game (the Shadow Warrior 2 release date is described as “Early 2017”), developer Flying Wild Hog shared concept art and renders for some of the weapons you’ll get to play with.
Shadow Warrior 2 Weapons
We start with the Triad, “a mighty hand-cannon with three barrels.” Every great shooter needs a satisfying pistol, right? “This here is one of many iterations for that weapon,” says FWH. “Currently, it looks way more ancient.”
We love the organic, visceral look to the above two weapons. The first, Talon’s Claw, is literally the claw of Talon, a monster you fight in the game. The second is also self-explanatory. “We have different versions of weapons for different environments,” says FWH. “These ancient claws are inspired by branches piercing through some animal’s skull.”
The Overseer is similar, as it resembles a particular demon, the Juggernaut. “We wanted something organic and intimidating. Surprisingly, the head of the monster served as a great template for this weapon.”
The Victorian look of the Blunderbass calls to mind The Order: 1886. It’s an elegant weapon that’s also “pretty goddamn lethal.”
The running theme with Shadow Warrior 2’s weapons is they draw inspiration from things that are simply cool. Without much pretense given toward historical accuracy or a deep lore, you get creative guns that are great simply because they’ve never been seen.
This futuristic Gauss gun, in particular, is modeled after the Lambda Class Imperial Shuttle from the Star Wars universe. You know. This thing:
The same can be said of the Plasma Cutters. They pay homage both to Dead Space, from which the name is derived, and Vin Diesel / Riddick’s iconic combat knives.
Similarly, the Shredder is a callout to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ archnemesis. Appropriately, it’s about as futuristic of a claw as anything we’ve seen.
We don’t even know, with this one. FWH says it’s like ancient scuba gear meets Emperor Palpatine’s lightning. We see a power glove that would look right at home in a gritty Ratchet & Clank reboot.
Of course, handheld weapons get plenty of love. Depending on personal preference and enemy weakness, they can be more effective than guns at slicing through demon hordes. See the below three images. The first render, the Blades of Zaibatsu, can be dual-wielded to strike enemies from a distance. The second, a play on the ancient Seven-Branched Sword, is especially good at removing enemy limbs. Finally, the sword above is pure fan-service. “It was inspired by epic swords seen in Xenoblade Chronicles and World of Warcraft,” says FWH.
And even when we move past the silly or irreverent, Shadow Warrior 2’s historical and cultural influences are really just about adding something grounded and recognizable to an awesomely destructive weapon. Peep the World War II, Arabic, and Japanese influences, respectively, in the three guns below.
Mixing the design of an old-school World War II machine gun with what a far-future hand cannon could look like, the Stakegun “shoots stakes and pins enemies to the wall. Need we say more?”
With this rifle, FWH tried to use the exact design of old Arabic rifles “as a base for something way more lethal and complicated.”
“Here you see different iterations of our ancient Minigun,” says FWH. “We wanted it to look like it was molded after a traditional Japanese bell.”
But the spirit of Shadow Warrior 2’s weapons might be perfectly encapsulated in the Moonblades. These tri-tipped, dual-wielded, handheld daggers boast serrated edges and a design inspired by Mythical King Gidorah, the three-headed dragon seen in Godzilla movies. Intricate, referential, and needlessly deadly, the Moonblades are pure Shadow Warrior 2. When the game launches on PS4 early next year, we expect slick, polished, gory nonsense and a bevy of weapons to make it all happen.
Which Shadow Warrior 2 weapons are you liking best?