Shank 2

Shank 2 is the bomb, quite literally.

By Daavpuke, Posted 13 Feb 2012

Man, do some games pump you up! Shank 2 might not reach far from its predecessor, but why should it have to? It reconstructs and adds to the formula that once worked and that’s more than enough for it to shine once more. Why fix what isn’t broken, when you can simply build on it? The swift, fluid animations coexisting with powerful rock guitars infused in classical music drive this action packed title like a rocket powered engine. Shank 2 is the business, so strap in and feel the adrenaline!

Here’s the story pitch: Some evil goons mess with Shank’s day and advance on his woman, so they all need to be eviscerated! It’s like a good old fashioned action movie in style of Predator, Rambo and more. Shank is a one man army on a mission for bad guy genocide. The rich color schemes that fill the screen with blood and explosions create the sparks for the murky jungles, laboratories and worn down factories where evil lurks. By adding smoke and shadows, the game slips from one contrast to the next, creating a masquerade of silhouettes, like a gory puppet theater. The drawn panels and characters with heavy outlines and sharp colors further embrace the comic book style come to life. But perhaps all this excess does go a little overboard on itself from time; especially when blood splatters and explosions obscure the view from the action at hand. But who doesn’t enjoy some excessive carnage? Michael Bay is welling up right now.

Did we mention Shank likes cutting people up? In order to do so, he has a few tricks up his sleeves. A standard knife attack in each hand makes for short attack bursts, while a heavier equipped weapon trounces through abdomens faster than teens pound their way through prom night.  When melee doesn’t suffice, he can also use a ranged weapon, as well as explosives. And all of the above can be strung together for huge, satisfying combos. But when he really needs to go up close and personal, Shank can grab fools or even straight up pounce on people like a lion. The latter focuses the camera, locking on to the blurred action for more gratification, as the grabs can get combined with a variety of finishers. It’s also a great way to do crowd control, by throwing an opponent away or sticking a grenade down their throat.

SHANK 2 - NoobFeed Review

It’s a rough world out there and the jungles are packed with tons of different goons. Big guys, small guys, guys with guns, dudes with grenades; evil holds many faces and all of them need to die. In order to overcome some major obstacles, such as a machete to the face, Shank can strike precisely at the right time by triggering a counter kill. This zooms in at the brutal finisher, as the screen fills with blood and screams. In summation, this game takes all the best 2D side-scrolling action from classics like Metal Slug or Rush ‘n Attack and molds them in an animated bloodbath.

There are a few things to be mindful of however. For instance, while the controls are tight and responsive, it can take a while to get used to the fast pace. Also, sticking to the walls comes a little too naturally and can breed some confusion, but it’s just a matter of learning to run on walls instead of jumping. Stringing combos together and keeping them going is a tricky skill, but once learned it will be as if it’s always been there.

SHANK 2 - NoobFeed Review
Sin City, anyone?

It will however sometimes be hard to keep up with everything all at once. The fast pace, all the action, the many different goons; several sections fill the screen with all these elements and trap the player inside. It serves the game well, but it can cause some aggravation. There will be some teeth-grinding sections to muster through, but none will ever detract from wanting to continue and kick more ass. Each level also gets rounded out with a boss confrontation with an equally steep challenge. Again, this is less of a flaw as it is a learning curve. The game doesn’t revert to cheap shots and there is a noticeable pattern that just requires vigilance at all times. And while the game is relatively short, it is a damnable sweet ride with zero downtime. By unlocking a bunch of weapons, characters, medals, info and so on, Shank 2 also raises the replay value beyond just wanting to ride it again purely for thrills.

If that’s not enough to draw players back, the added Survival mode also offers cooperative play in a set of maps. Players team up against waves of enemies with rising difficulty, while trying to protect areas from getting bombed. To aid them, a store can be accessed in between waves to buy helpful items. Each map also has a trap that can be activated to dispatch enemies more efficiently. The same swift action, but with a friend, guarantees more bang for the proverbial buck. The Survival mode is built on replay value and will have players locked in long after the campaign has been gutted, cleaned and cooked.

SHANK 2 Multiplayer
Multiplayer is just as fun, but even more condensed.

Shank 2 is the bomb, quite literally. It’s an action packed title, filled to the brim with tons of gratification, a beautiful outline, tight controls and great replay value. Cynics can argue that it doesn’t offer a ton more than the first game, but it’s still just as appealing as it ever was, now with more stuff. If that’s a downside to the game, it is in fact the only downside and that speaks volumes. If people pay an obscene amount of money just to see a thrilling action movie in cinemas, then Shank 2 is more than worth its admission price. It will also last a lot longer and will stay fresh thanks to some clever multiplayer options. Now let’s all go get wasted!


Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed. (@Daavpuke)

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General Information

Shank 2


Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher(s): EA
Developer(s): Klei Entertainment
Genres: Beat-'Em-Up
Themes: 2D Side-Scrolling
Release Date: 2012-02-07

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