Shank 2 Review
A short but satisfying follow-up.
When the original Shank came out we had a lot of fun with its bloody gameplay and cartoon-style presentation. But the game did have a few flaws that prevented it from really winning us over. So does Shank 2 offer any variations or improvements from the original? Read on to hear what we thought.
Shank 2 once again revolves around our brooding and decapitate-first-ask-later hero, Shank. He’s the kind of guy who answers to no one and probably uses whale blubber as deodorant. The story is just about passable, told through a series of brief cut scenes featuring our hero looking poignantly into the distance as fire and explosions rain around him. Shank 2 won’t win you over with the storyline given that the game itself is quite short, so it’s really the gameplay that you have to look out for. This time around things have been tweaked to provide a much more fluid experience as Shank brutally stabs and slices his way through enemies, and keeping up your combo chains are also easier this time around.
You start your mission choosing a heavy weapon and ranged attack – each weapon has its own pros and cons of course, but the downside is that once you’ve picked your weapons you can’t switch them around unless you die or start a new mission. You can also pick up alternative weapons during your missions, ranging from cleavers and baseball bats to flamethrowers and grenades. There are also instances where you can use your environment to finish off enemies – there’s no greater satisfaction than dropping a shipping container on a bunch of bad guys to reduce them to a pâté. There are also other weapons you can use such as machine guns and harpoons, but these suffer from requiring you to stand at a precise spot in order to activate them.
For most part Shank controls quite well – you can now roll away from enemy attacks with the right analogue stick, as apposed to the block option in the original game. You can also counter enemy attacks when you see a red exclamation mark above them – this results in a brutally satisfying finishing move that you can never get tired of. You can also pounce on enemies from afar with a simple tap of the L2 button, which is a great way to handle those annoying gunmen and for a bit of crowd control. Enemies in Shank 2 are of a decent variety – they wield guns, baseball bats, pipes, cleavers, and even spears. There are enemies that are bigger and much more challenging to defeat, as well as those who are smart enough to carry around a shield. The boss fights generally require a bit more time to work through, but once you’ve figured out their weak spots its relatively straightforward to take them down.
The campaign mode is fairly short, so this time there’s a survival mode included in the game, which can be played as local or online co-op. You simply pick your player and weapons, and then survive seemingly endless waves of enemies who are trying to blow up three supply crates. The camera is zoomed out to show the entire level so that players are free to move about unobtrusively, as the action can get really hectic during later levels. At the end of each wave you can access a quick shop to buy health or weapons such as a grenade launcher, automatic torrent, and even a wild boar (go figure). If one of you dies, then it’s up to the other player to quick revive you before they become completely overwhelmed by enemies. You may think that there isn’t much replay value here, but there honestly is – the more you play the more characters you unlock, and each character has a unique set of character and weapon attributes that work differently in each map, so experimenting until you find the right one to play with is crucial.
Shank 2 isn’t very different from the original, but it does help fix up a few of the original flaws. While the game is still quite short, the survival mode and the penchant for climbing leaderboards will have you playing for a bit longer. If you’re looking for a quick platformer that offers plenty of carnage, then this is the game for you.