Shank 2

8.7 Overall Score
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 9/10
Replayability: 8/10

Great new 2 player on-line/off-line survival mode | Great new visuals | Replayability | Collectibles and character unlocks

Lack of on-line 2 player campaign co-op | Difficulty | Restrictive survival mode level layout

Shank 2

GAME NAME: Shank 2


PUBLISHER(S): Electronic Arts


GENRE(S): Action & Adventure, Fighting

RELEASE DATE(S): February 8, 2012

Klei Entertainment fails to disappoint with their latest release to the arcade franchise, Shank 2. Available on the marketplace for the console platform of your choice, the game packs a whole lot of action for 800 MS ($9.99). It is a 2D action brawler with great combat techniques and executions along with a distinguishable storyline.

Playing as the protagonist Shank, you follow-up on the story that you left behind in the first installment and now that a burly dictator has taken over your country, you must rise up and save your brothers and sisters from oppression. The game features excellent controls and responsiveness along with amazing weapon specific combat styles and executions. These take a while to get used to if you are a newcomer to the franchise like me but after the first chapter (which includes a little tutorial), you should swiftly become a master at the game.

The game only offers two difficulty options, normal and hard. For newcomers, I highly suggest taking the easier route which in all honesty, isn’t even all to “normal”. You will most certainly die several times along the way, especially against the bigger and more complicated bosses. However, the great feature included with the game allows you to respawn at the last save point which is usually less than a minute or two away. You essentially have an infinite number of lives so the game does not force you to restart the whole level if you fail a set amount of times. Instead, the developers have evolved the game to allow both casual and hardcore gamers to enjoy the game in their own manner. There is a score with leaderboard system within the game and you obviously get a ton of bonus points for keeping up combat combos and the like but you get quite a decent amount of points deducted for every death in the level. This way, those serious about the game can focus upon attaining a higher score to boast about on the leaderboards while casual gamers can simply lean back and enjoy the game to its finale without a sweat if they so choose.

The ‘Campaign’ mode itself isn’t all too long but is an impactful one at that. There are a lot of goodies to collect along the way, notably the intel. It gives you an insight into the game’s characters and other good tidbits that are quite appreciated. Apart from the intel, you can also unlock character skins along the way (through completing in-game challenges), and oh there are a ton of them! They vary between the original Shank from the first game to other more interesting figures, both male and female. Each of these characters add their own unique playstyle to the game with unique game changing attributes allowing you to pick your favourites. While the campaign is short but sweet, it doesn’t just stop right there. The game offers some amazing replay value by adding in a multiplayer component and building upon the original title.

The ‘Survival’ mode is a sort of  “horde mode” classic gametype with a few tweaks. You get to choose a level to play on (each with its own layout and hazards, etc.) and then pick your weapon loadout (quite a respectable list I must add). You are then placed on a 2D map but are restricted within the confines of an already zoomed out camera and barriers from left, right, top, and bottom. You cannot really explore the level any more and what you see is what you get. This can be quite a hindrance at times, as I’ve noticed from several playthroughs. Unlike in ‘Campaign’ mode, the camera being zoomed out makes the screen look like a cluster of action on every inch and it can get quite confusing and disorienting at times. The aim of the game is to simply last as long as possible while defending a couple bombsites from being detonated at the same time.

Apart from the frazzling viewpoint, ‘Survival’ mode allows two players (online or offline) to team up and attack waves of enemies. While in-game, you are also provided with a store to purchase items such as booze, decoys, savage boars, chain guns, etc. All of this requires coins which are earned by, you guessed it…..killing enemies. You can earn more by keeping your combo going and getting some sweet executions while you are at it. Overall, it is a very fun and engaging mode that will never get old. It is a great new addition and adds great new levels of replayability to the game.

Moving onto the graphical side of things, the game has excellent 2D environment design combined with special effects. Every little slice and dice shows blood spattering about and the animated cut scenes portray a fantastic gut spilling and dismemberment showcase. There is a nice variety of gore and action sequences within the game that really shine and stand out thanks to the visual department. There are moments in the game when all colour is gone and all you can see is the mere silhouettes of Shank and the enemies. It is a truly thrilling experience and the game environment and visual elements work like a symphony with the gameplay.

All in all, Shank 2 is a wonderful arcade release of 2012 and although it may have its own shortfalls such as lack of on-line campaign co-op, it brings new and improved gameplay chock full of features to the table and excels in the 2D action brawler genre. This game is definitely a must buy for any respectable arcade fanatic and well worth the purchase for just $9.99.

*Note: For those interested in a little story backdrop, make sure to check out the newly released, free comic!


Author: DntMessWitRohan View all posts by
I love all sorts of gaming but I truly admire the XBLA & XBLIG Marketplace. I'm a student at the moment but working towards bigger & better things!! Follow me on Twitter: @DntMessWitRohan :D