Shaolin monks, lightning-like shadows punching the soul out of each other, ninja weapons, old and wise grey-bearded Kung Fu mentors and groans of agonizing pain… This is Shadow Fight 2 – prepare your katanas, nunchaku, and knuckles (or at least a pepper spray). The blows are going to be painful.
Visuals – 8/10
The graphics of the game are quite a spectacle. I don’t know how much blood, sweat and tears it takes to have something like that designed, modeled and animated but the moves, acrobatic stunts and punch/kick animations are strikingly realistic. And to be honest, it’s one the weakest spots of this adorable fighter.
It looks like the fighting animations have been reconstructed after the moves that real people do (in a carefully rehearsed “brawl”). It’s BAD and here’s why: overly humanized moves dramatically lack dynamics that every fighting game desperately needs. Compare it to Tekken, Street Fighter, and Mortal Kombat, and you’ll see why I find it so deplorable. You fight as a mysterious silhouette against other silhouettes (hello Noob Saibot) beating their ephemeral dark flesh to a ghostly pulp.
I’m not sure either it’s a groundbreaking artistic decision or the authors love pretending to be sloths, but the fight eventually turns into a massive, chaotically moving blob of ink. It’d be much better if your avatar was a shadow only and other characters received at least some detalization.
The core of Shadow Fighting 2 – 7/10
In the beginning, a short, decently made cartoon informs us of some ancient evil released into the world, the protagonist losing his body and turning in a shadow-like entity and blah-blah-blah. The game has no plotline at all – too bad they could’ve squeezed a couple of interesting stories out of it.
Instead, it has a number of modes which include:
- Tournament – smth similar to a campaign mode with 24 arenas.
- Survival – 10 rounds of bone-breaking CQC.
- Boss fights – dispose of 5 bodyguards before beating the hell out of demon entities (they aren’t that tough if they need security I guess).
- Old Wounds – you play as the acrimonious Sensei who likes mocking the protagonist.
And many others. All that fierce fist action is illustrated by a kaleidoscope of picturesque backgrounds and some bland, insipid music that tries just too hard to sound epic and tough.
Btw, before launching S.F. 2 you should prepare for a tangible nuisance: the in-game hit-meter shows a consistent tendency not to register some of the deadly blows that you gratify your adversaries with. Meanwhile, your AI-controlled opponent invariably seems to inflict the biggest damage possible upon you, every time they produce a critical strike. Foul play.
The energy meter runs dry after 4-5 fights, and its regeneration pace is slower than a crippled turtle fed with sedatives. To replenish it you can watch the ads (2 mins of your life) or buy gold and gems (up to $55). All proceeds go to a ninja retirement fund.
Controls – 4/10
The game has one of the worst controls I’ve ever come across. The microscopic action buttons, the small & narrow directional pad and their tendency to get frozen every now and then will make you sour and life-hating. (Because you’ll collect more hits than a funny Youtube kitty-cat video compilation). Only a physical controller can remove that bloody curse.
Shadow Fight 2 is one of the most beautiful and gaudy fighters out there in the mobile market. But I choose mobile Tekken instead – it captures the spirit of a fighting game much better.
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