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Shadow Warrior 3 Tips For Beginners

Learn Lo Wang’s latest tricks before jumping into Shadow Warrior 3.


Shadow Warrior 3 is an adrenaline-fueled romp through a violently chaotic world. Full of demons, wise-cracking gods, and a protagonist seemingly ripped from a bad grindhouse film, this juvenile but mostly entertaining shooter doesn’t pull its punches. Essentially, Shadow Warrior 3 offers a wild ride with a few challenging twists and turns.

Most of your time in Shadow Warrior 3 will be spent shooting and dodging projectiles in various arena like environments. As Lo Wang, you’ll need to know how to properly use an assortment of weapons while engaging in fast-paced combat akin to id Software's Doom. What makes this task difficult at times is the number and variety of enemies that spawn during a given encounter. Thankfully, Shadow Warrior 3 offers a range of tools built around new game mechanics that not only help in staving off death but also to brutally dispatch foes. Here are some of the ways you can utilize these tools early on.

Use your katana to reload

Shadow Warrior 3 features a revamped combat system. Gory kills, environmental hazards, highly kinetic firefights--it’s more akin to Doom Eternal than it is to previous Shadow Warrior games. That said, the devs over at Flying Wild Hog made sure to keep certain elements, like melee weapons, at the forefront. This includes Lo Wang’s trusty katana. This weapon can disembowel enemies in quick fashion. It even receives an elemental upgrade that allows it to do electric, fire, and ice damage. What makes the katana such a valuable tool though is its ability to reload your guns.

Shadow Warrior 3 allows players to quickly swap between the katana and whatever gun you’re currently holding by pressing a corresponding attack button. Hitting the Left Mouse Button/Right Trigger will fire weapons while pressing the Right Mouse Button/Right Bumper will swing your katana (on PC and consoles respectively). During that quick switch, from gun to katana and back, the game reloads your weapon.

Quick reloading with the katana are especially helpful during boss fights.
Quick reloading with the katana are especially helpful during boss fights.

This little mechanic is a superb way of managing ammo during a fight as it negates the sometimes lengthy reloading animation; instead of waiting for Lo Want to slowly reload the Crimson Bull (grenade launcher), you can swap between it and the katana to instantly load the weapon while running about.

Prioritize your finishers

The new finisher system adds an interesting wrinkle. At first glance, they’re similar to the gory executions found in the recent Doom games. Fill up a finishing charge by collecting orbs (found in the environment or dropped by enemies) to eventually execute foes for health and ammo. In Shadow Warrior 3, however, this mechanic is taken a step further with the introduction of Gore items.

Whenever you execute an enemy in this game, you’ll be rewarded with either a Gore Tool, Weapon or some sort of buff. Each one has a wildly different effect. For instance, executing an ice-based enemy will allow you use their brain as a freeze bomb. It’s a cool effect that can give you a bit of breathing room during a fight, but was it the best choice given the situation? Well, it depends.

The Swarm Launcher shoots a barrage of fireworks at unlucky enemies.
The Swarm Launcher shoots a barrage of fireworks at unlucky enemies.

Some enemies can be executed using one charge. Others might take two or more, meaning you’ll have to collect more orbs before you can finish them. But just because they took more power to topple doesn’t mean that you’ll be rewarded with the best tool. Executing a Hattori demon will provide you with the Blade of Hattori--a powerful sword that can quickly take out a room full of enemies--for a few seconds. On the other hand, you’ll get a Brain Tonic for taking down a Shogai grunt. This item not only gives you 200 HP but also makes you immune to damage for five seconds.

You can use your finishers to take out hard to defeat enemies, use them to briefly wield powerful weapons, or to keep yourself alive. Just make sure you choose the correct Gore tool for each encounter.

Claim your Challenge Rewards

Shadow Warrior 3’s leveling system is orb-based. Killing enemies won’t grant experience points. Instead, you’ll need to find silver and purple orbs to improve your weapons and Lo Wang respectively. Some can be found in the environment, either seen on your way through a level or just off the beaten path. Others are rewarded by completing challenges.

Claim those challenge rewards to level up.
Claim those challenge rewards to level up.

The challenges themselves are rather self-explanatory. Get several headshots with a weapon, use environmental traps to kill a certain number of enemies, and so on. Given the explosive nature of Shadow Warrior 3 however, it's easy to miss the prompts alerting you of their completion--there were times when my screen was so filled with blood and guts that I didn’t notice the small alert boxes that occasionally popped up. Make sure to check the challenge menu from time to time to make sure you aren’t missing out on a few upgrades.

Start with the right upgrades

Speaking of upgrades, there aren’t any wrong choices when it comes to leveling in Shadow Warrior 3. There are some that we’d recommend picking up sooner than later though. This is especially true if you’re looking to prepare for the game’s more harrowing encounters.

The Spawn Ammo and Spawn Health upgrades are a must. These two will bestow more health and ammo whenever you attack an enemy. I’d also grab all of the weapon ammo upgrades early on. Considering that whenever you pick up ammo in this game, it goes to every weapon in your inventory, these upgrades will keep you in the fight longer.

A powered up Lo Wang is a healthy...Wang?
A powered up Lo Wang is a healthy...Wang?

The elemental upgrades are great too. In Shadow Warrior 3, you aren’t hurt by your explosions, including the ones caused by shooting the barrels scattered about a level. They will hurt your enemies though. Upgrade the elemental damage or explosion radius to take down a group of demons with little effort. Lastly, grab the Health Boost upgrade (you’ll have to unlock the Last Stand Shockwave one first). This will boost your base health to 125.

Of course, there are other upgrades that are worth your time. But these are the ones I’d shoot for first.

Use the environment

This tip comes in two flavors. The first has to do with mobility; you’ll want to use the environment to escape tricky situations. Strafing left and right in hopes of dodging enemy attacks isn’t going to cut it. You have to be more mobile than that.

There are walls that you can free-run on and platforms to jump to. You can even swing around an area using Lo Wang’s new grappling hook. Our suggestion: Use them all. Don’t just stand in one area and fight. Keep moving. Not only will this help you when it comes to dodging attacks but it’s also the only way to quickly get health, ammo, and finisher orbs that spawn/are dropped by enemies.

Several enemies fall to their deaths after a well placed shot.
Several enemies fall to their deaths after a well placed shot.

The second has to do with Shadow Warrior 3’s environmental traps. Most of the arena-like areas will have traps that can be activated by shooting a button. Lure enemies into these hazards, shoot the corresponding button, and then use Lo Wang’s parkour skills to get out of harm's way. Rinse and repeat for maximum effectiveness.

Use the right weapon

One of the things that makes fighting tough is the game’s varied demon types. While it’s possible to use one or two weapons to take them all down--there’s never a wrong time to use the grenade launcher--some encounters will prove easier if you know your enemy.

For instance, the Hattori demons can deflect bullets with their swords. So, using the Sidekicks (machine guns) against them probably isn’t the best choice. At least, not until you’ve broken through their defenses with grenades, the katana, or some other high-powered weapon. The Sidekicks are perfect for the fast-moving Slinky Jakku though. The Seeking Shokera, on the other hand, are slow enemies that float in the air. This makes them easy to hit with the Basilisk, the chargeable railgun-like weapon.

Focus on the main enemies

Most of the encounters in Shadow Warrior 3 are anchored by a specific group of baddies. Whether they are a newly introduced foe or a collection of tough demons, the focus will be on them. What this means is that the weaker enemies should be mostly ignored.

Make sure to take out the big guys as soon as possible.
Make sure to take out the big guys as soon as possible.

Lower-tiered foes like the Shogai will continuously respawn during a fight. Ideally, they’re there to give you more ammo and health--remember the Brain Tonic? Killing them should be a means to an end. It’s the stronger enemies that you really have to worry about. Make sure to take them down as quickly as you can in order to stop a perpetual flood of enemies.


Lo Wang has a ton of tricks up his sleeve. Some are more readily noticeable than others. All of them can be combined to destroy your adversaries. Use Chi-Blast to push explosive barrels into enemies. Or better yet, use it to push enemies into traps. The grappling hook is great for escaping a tough spot. It can also be used to pull yourself up to a foe and blast them with the shotgun. I once used a Disco Grenade--an item I got after performing a finisher--to melt a group of demons. The lasers from the spinning ball of death inadvertently destroyed the ground it was above however, killing more enemies than I had intended. Basically, Shadow Warrior 3 rewards being creative. And violent. Creatively violent.

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