Review: Shank 2 (XBLA)

Review: Shank 2 (XBLA)

Shank shank shank. Shank shank shank. Shank your Xbox. Shank your Xbox! As a disclaimer, I hold absolutely no responsibility or liability for you actually shanking your Xbox. I don’t recommend it in any way whatsoever. What I do recommend, however, is Shank 2, Klei Entertainment’s sequel to its well received side scrolling gorefest, Shank. I love that word, and I warn you that I may end up severely overusing it in this review. Proceed with caution, and at your own risk.

Shank, the titular hero of Shank and Shank 2, shanks his way through the ranks of his former mob in search of vengeance for his deceased girlfriend Eva in the events of Shank. Shank 2 throws Shank into the shanktivities shank-first, with little regard to why he’s shanking. Shank gotta shank, I guess. In a fairly similar tale, Shank 2 sees Shank shanking his way through the military of a freedom fighter turned dictator as he rushes to the rescue of an old friend, kidnapped by said dictator. Much shanklarity ensues.

Just like the original Shank, Shank 2’s campaign mode is a single player experience filled with shanking, shanking, and the occasional shanking. The story doesn’t really get in the way of the gameplay, you’re ripping your way through people who deserve a severe shanking, and you’re the one distributing them with stonefaced glee. Shank is pure machismo as he shanks his way through the shankable ranks of…well, it doesn’t really matter who. There are some great gameplay updates in Shank 2, first and foremost of which is the ability to counter enemy attacks. When an enemy is preparing an attack, you will see a red exclamation mark above their head, which means that they’re open for a devastating counter. Additionally, blocking has been replaced with roll dodging, which helps keep the gameplay fluid.

Shank 2 also sees improvement over Shank with the inclusion of a multiplayer mode beyond the limited co-op level of the first title. Survival mode places you and one friend (locally or online) into a small level, reminiscent of the level design for a classic Super Smash Bros. level, and throws waves of shankable enemies at you. The goal of Survival mode, beyond simple survival (as long as one of you lives, the other can be revived), is to protect certain supply stations from bomb wielding enemies. These enemies will make their way to your supply stations and begin planting bombs. Kill them before they arrive, interrupt their planting efforts, or kill them after they plant and rush to disarm the bomb in order to keep your supply stations safe. Once both players die or all supply stations are destroyed, Survival mode ends.

The stylistic graphics and animations remain the same, and retain a great fluidity from the first Shank. Transitioning from silhouettes to full squelchy color, Shank 2 doesn’t move too far from the successful visual implementation of Shank, and manages to retain its somewhat distinctive style.

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Both Shank and Shank 2 are available for 800MSP. If you’ve already played Shank, Shank 2 is a better version of Shank. The original Shank was torn apart and reconstructed to create Shank 2, so you’ll definitely get a familiar, yet improved experience. If you haven’t played the first Shank, it’s worth the 800MSP, and worth the time before playing Shank 2. You most likely won’t want to play Shank 2 then go back to Shank because of the improved experience that Shank 2 provides. Shank shank shank shank shank shank SHANK SHANK SHANK SHANK SHANK.


Stylistic graphics and animations
Solid gameplay improvements over first Shank
Multiplayer Survival mode
Still no real multiplayer campaign
Occasionally frustrating difficulty
90 out of 100


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