I was a big fan of the original Shadow Warrior 3 when it dropped last year, so when we got early access to the definitive edition, I had to take a look and poke around the game and see what’s different in this “Definitive Edition” of the game.
Game Name: Shadow Warrior 3 Definitive Edition Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), Xbox Series S|X, PS5 Publisher(s): Devolver Digital
Developer(s): Flying Wild Hog
Release Date: March 1st, 2022
Price: $39.99, or free if you already own Shadow Warrior 3.
Upon firing up Shadow Warrior 3 Definitive Edition, things started feeling new as soon as you log in to your save file with a great pop-up saying, “You have unlocked New Game + and unlocked chapter select.” That is a very good first start to this new version.
Chapter select lets you select what level you get to go back to and shows you how many upgrade points you were missing in that level. Upgrade points are the game’s main collectibles and affect your character’s or the gun’s abilities. My only big complaint with chapter selection is if you choose chapter one, it doesn’t play the first cinematic in the game, it plays a few cinematics afterward right before you start the level. I may be in the minority with this, but I would have preferred if you got to see the opening cutscene again without having to start another new save file.
One big glow-up I noticed with the Definitive Edition that I had complaints with on the patch 1 build of Shadow Warrior 3 is the cinematics. They no longer stutter or have issues with blurring in motion. There is one moment that still has a bit of a blur, but otherwise, the game cinematics are solid and are synced up a lot better. There is also more content to go through in this version which is interesting!
Welcome to the Arena
Those who thought there needed more content in Shadow Warrior 3 will be pleased to know that a new mode can give you countless hours of fun and engagement; Survival Mode. This is certainly something that the game needed! You start off with your default pistol and Katana, and you then get a choice between three different weapons/upgrades. Once you make your choice, the wave starts where demons try to kill you, and you have to slaughter them all. Once you slaughter the entire wave, another choice between three weapons/upgrades hits, and you then have to do the whole thing over again with more enemies.
In this new Survival Mode, you have three maps to choose from, which offers various villains and weapons. Honestly, this mode takes the best aspect of this game and is carried by its combat. Running fast, using your grapple to move around the arena, and just shooting demons is the thrill this mode provides.
With Arena, you can choose a variety of difficulties that will affect the damage multipliers of the demons. Easy, Normal, Hard, and Hardcore. That is also a change in the main game—hardcore mode. The hardcore mode makes demons a lot more difficult, and basically, you want to just not be hit at all. It increases the stakes and, with it, the pace of the fights. You have to kill more demons so as not to get surrounded. It makes it extremely difficult and adds a new layer of depth to the fighting, almost making it uncomfortable trying to use the katana as often. Without using the Katana, it means you will have less ammo overall.
What else is new around here
Another new change with Shadow Warrior 3 Definitive Edition is the Hero Mode for the story playthrough. Hero mode makes it, so you have a limited amount of lives in a playthrough. If you lose those lives, you’ll have to restart the entire story mode again. It is a good test to see how well you remember the game and some of the tricks for each arena.
I actually tested a lot of these new features on the Steam Deck, and I got to say, overall, the game runs well, but using an analog stick makes the fast-paced gameplay feel sluggish. I should have gone in and changed sensitivity, but without using a mouse and keyboard, it made it feel like shooting and running took longer than it actually was. The Steam Deck would basically stick within the 40-60FPS range on Medium Settings in Shadow Warrior 3. I would recommend medium settings at 720p for the best results.
Shadow Warrior 3 Definitive Edition comes out February 16th, 2023, for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series S|X. The upgrade for the definitive edition will be free for those who own Shadow Warrior 3 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.