by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
He’s back...and he’s angry
Shank 2 is a side-scrolling (well, there is some vertical scrolling too) platforming action fighting game in the vein of games of yesteryear. Like the original Shank, the sequel is reminiscent of the old arcade style games such as Double Dragon or Golden Axe where your thumb and hands went numb as you button mashed your way to the conclusion.
Shank 2 begins with a bus trip taken by the title character, which is intercepted by a number of guerrillas. Of course, they have picked on the wrong guy. And like the Incredible Hulk, you shouldn’t get Shank angry, because that is the cue for thorough destruction. When coupled with the fact that his foster mother has been kidnapped by the same group of terrorists, that is just sparking trouble. It is then up to you, as Shank (and his female friend Corina at one point) to deal with the revolutionaries in the way only Shank knows how… with excessive violence, in an effort to recover his kidnapped friend.
Prior to each mission, gamers get the option of outfitting Shank with a range of weaponry. A ranged weapon, a heavy weapon and an explosive weapon (grenades, mines or Molotov) along with Shank’s melee knives are all selected for Shank to carve up his foes. During the missions though, he can pick up a wide range of armaments from fallen adversaries. There are just so many things that Shank can pick up and use to attack with. Metal pipes, baseball bats, flaming torches and long handled scythes are just a few. He can throw everything at the opposition; including the kitchen sink… literally. I kid you not. There is even an achievement linked to it. Other weapons, such as a chainsaw and pistols must be unlocked throughout the campaign.
Let’s be honest, there isn’t much strategy involved when playing Shank 2. The game is all about fast paced action. Shank will encounter bands of enemy guerrillas and will need to take all of them out in his quest for revenge. After loading Shank with your selection of weapons in the various classes, he gets to work in killing those who stand in his way. The only real strategy involved is working out the patterns of the Bosses, which is not too difficult a task. Having said that, for a number of the levels, getting to the bosses was more of a challenge than the end boss fights. The challenge was there, but the overwhelming numbers during parts of the mission caused me more grief than the boss fights themselves. There are also some non-fighting platforming sections involving Prince of Persia-like spikes, or timed events that I found were more difficult (well, I died more often) than some of the fighting scenes.
Comic book visuals and audio fit the feel of the game superbly. Action is fast and furious.
Do not use the keyboard/mouse combo, unless you want endless frustration.