Published By: Electronic Arts, Developer: Klei Entertainment, Genre: Action, Release Date: Feb 8, 2012, Rating: M, Systems: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360.
Shank 2 is a 2D beat 'em up arcade downloadable game. It pays homage of sorts to movies I grew up watching during the 80's like Commando, Rambo and Missing in Action. Shank 2 is a bro-man game starring the duel wielding shank man, Shank! I was able to play through Shank 2 for free (its free for PlayStation Plus members at the moment). When analyzing Shank 2's presentation there is more bad than good clearly. I'll discus everything during this review so keep reading. I'll start with the menus on the title screen which includes: Campaign Mode, Survival Mode, Rebel Intel, Leaderboard, Player Stats and Help & Options. No problem navigating in Shank 2, everything is laid out in a nice ergonomic fashion.
Robert "Shank" Torres is the protagonist and ex mob hitman. Shank 2 is a story about redemption regarding Shank. He takes down a corrupted President Magnus while rescuing Elena (his mother figure). Working along side with Resistance leader Corina Shank takes down the corrupt Cartel. As far as the overall story goes it was cheesy and cliche. It was never interesting because it seems like every villain and bad guy in the game was copied from either a movie I saw or a video game I have played. It was suppose to be funny however the bad gameplay and controls kept me from laughing during my entire playthrough.
Visually Shank 2 gets a high score. The art style and animations just exude a visceral and compelling atmosphere. Shank rampages through South American villiges, resorts, ruined temples and swamps. The textures and colors pop out of the screen and every setting was rendered wonderfully. The animations makes Shank appear like a real badass reminding me of heroes like Rambo.
Shank 2 is a 2D beat 'em up that features gunplay, grenade lobbing, pouncing and grabbing enemies. There are different types of weapons that work differently in effectiveness regarding certain enemies. You have Heavy Weapons like the Chainsaw, Machete and Sledgehammer. Ranged Weapons include Throwing Knives, Pistols and a Shotgun. Munitions include Grenades, Molotovs and Mines. The latter is part of the problem. The game's controls and structure makes it near too impossible to use all weapons and items on the different enemies effectively at any given moment. The gameplay became cluttered up and by the time I tried to throw my grenade or use my heavy weapon to break a grunt's shield I was dead.
The single player campaign was ridiculously short to say the least. But lucky for me was the fact that this game has multiplayer (online and off). Its called Survival Mode and is clearly the best thing Shank 2 has going for it. The menu screen for Survival Mode featured: Local Match, Online Match, Invite A Friend, View Invitations and How to Survive. The last option shows a voiced video tutorial for Survival Mode. Survival Mode is a wave type game ala Horde mode via Gears of war 3. Shank 2 is 2D so things are different obviously. Your goal along with another player is to defend supply stations around the map. Bombers are grunts that target your supply stations and blows them up.
I rarely tell gamers to buy a game based on multiplayer. For Shank 2 I have no choice since the single player campaign was ridiculously short and problematic from a gameplay and control perspective.