Shank’s back then, and if you thought he might’ve chilled out during his 18 month break then you’ve got a shock in store. Since the previous title that caught a few people off-guard with it’s fairly brutal style, Shank has seemingly sat back, thought about everything that has already happened, and got more and more pissed off. The militia who have captured all the people he cares about are still causing him some grief, and as you can probably guess by now it’s their heads on the block when Shank steps up to the plate.
Anyone who has seen a few screenshots of Shank 2 might be forgiven for thinking not much has changed since the last outing. The same gorgeous crisp artistic style is in place, but it’s seeing the game in motion where you’ll see the first differences. Animations are a bit smoother, and the action is as chaotic and mental as you’d hope for with the subject matter being what it is. There’s an occasional danger of things getting a bit too manic when everything really kicks off, and when there’s a lot going on it can be tough to keep track of where your guy is which leads to a few seconds of panicked button mashing until things calm down. Luckily Shank’s spent his short break wisely, and has come up with the ability to counter the attacks of enemies which is invaluable if you want to fight better, get further, and improve the score for the level.
And these scores are going to become a small obsession if you’ve got any friends with the game, as each level has a leaderboard to help you compare yourself to others. You’ll have to beat some pretty chunky bosses to get that far though, and some of them are incredibly difficult to beat. There’s some nice variety in how you need to beat them, but these fights are so tough and unforgiving that it’s only a matter of time before your controller ends up becoming a missile sent in the general direction of the cat. It’s a good job the rest of the game is such good fun, otherwise this could be enough to put off the less hardened of gamers.
The co-op campaign from the first game is sadly nowhere to be seen, but you can forgive that a little when you try out the new survival mode. Pitching yourself and A.N.Other against a horde of militia is great fun, and the simple premise of having to protect some supply crates turns into a frantic battle for survival (hence the name) with the added bonus of competing for points. That’s right, not only are you trying to stay alive, but you’re also trying to beat your co-op partner at the same time. This suffers again from occasional over-crowding, but it’s quite a lot of fun so it’s hard to care about that.
Fans of the first Shank game will undoubtedly love this, and probably won’t get put off by the overly bad-ass bosses. Everyone else will find a gorgeous looking game that plays well, gives that much needed dose of violence-induced adrenaline and gives other side-scrolling platformers quite a lot to think about. Remember to take a few deep breaths when things go wrong and your cat will be quite safe too. Splendid.
Reviewed on PS3