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Shadow Warrior's new magic system twists a straight shooter


Shadow Warrior from Hard Reset developer Flying Wild Hog isn't a remake – it's a new game, with a new Lo Wang. For starters, Wang is able to use magic after he befriends a masked spirit.

With magic, Wang can heal himself and attack his enemies from afar, throwing out blasts from his hands or his katana. His magic doesn't run out; there's no cool-down and it's not a mana system, Flying Wild Hog writer Pawel Kowalewski explained during a demo at E3. All magic comes with a price, and when Wang uses it the surrounding demon enemies become enraged, faster and stronger.

Shadow Warrior includes a few throwbacks to the original game, including secret caves in the old graphical style and bunny rabbits that hop around the forest and have their own AI to perform bunny-related acts. Wang's primary weapon is a katana, and the entire game can be won with just that weapon, Kowalewski said. It's also possible to dual-wield sub-machine guns, as in the first game.

The team was quick to reassure that Wang himself is still "a douchebag," but not an outright Asian stereotype anymore.

"We understand why Lo Wang was awesome and you can still see him and go, 'Look at that douchebag,' without participating in putting a culture in a box. That was a huge priority when we were first thinking about how to frame the game and how to frame that character," writer Scott Alexander said. "You can play around with stuff; you can be funny, you can be crass, you can make him a jerk. He's got a real arc though."

To those who may be disappointed: take solace in the fact that the violence in Shadow Warrior is absolutely ridiculous. By the end of one battle in the demo, a beautiful Japanese garden lay covered in severed limbs and pools of blood. "Maybe it's not funny, but it's not serious," is how Flying Wild Hog described Shadow Warrior's violence.

Shadow Warrior is due out in fall on PC, and Flying Wild Hog will wait for the dust to settle to decide on next-gen console releases.

Gallery: Shadow Warrior (E3 2013) | 12 Photos

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