Watch Shadow Warrior 2's chainsaw katana liquify an army of monsters

The nineties are back in a big way at PAX West. Right after playing Strafe, a modern love letter to Quake, I walked 10 yards over to Shadow Warrior 2, and felt right at home. I was still killing waves of nondescript demonic enemies, but this time I had a chainsaw katana in hand. Let that image settle in for a moment.

What makes Shadow Warrior 2 stand out from the bulk of modern FPS games is its complete disregard for logic and taste. You dismember and shoot bad guys in seemingly endless waves, but you do it with an extra layer of style and progression found in modern design. Weapons drop as loot and there are a ton of them, each with mix-and-match status effects, swappable gem sockets, and overall play styles. Comparisons to Borderlands are valid. In one second, I was wielding the chainsaw katana and charging up spin attacks, and the very next I was dual wielding icy pistols. The sheer variety in weapon choice second-to-second makes Shadow Warrior 2 feel refreshing and expressive, no matter how many crass dick jokes it drops.

The real humor comes from the excessive comic gore. It’s procedural this time around, meaning wherever you slash an enemy is where the cut will form–not at a predetermined joint location. And even though it’s a twitchy, crowded shooter, it has hooks as deep as Diablo. Environments are randomized, assembled from handcrafted modules that feel different each time through. With loot, jokes, play style variety, and randomly generated levels, Shadow Warrior 2 feels like a game made for the mouse and keyboard. We’ll know for sure soon enough when it releases on October 13th

James Davenport

James is stuck in an endless loop, playing the Dark Souls games on repeat until Elden Ring and Silksong set him free. He's a truffle pig for indie horror and weird FPS games too, seeking out games that actively hurt to play. Otherwise he's wandering Austin, identifying mushrooms and doodling grackles.