Shank screenshot
Shank screenshot

The connotations associated with protagonist Shank's nimble and deadly namesake betrays his true self: a lumbering, brute of a man hacking his way across an expanse of hapless mooks. Powered entirely by muscle and rage, he neatly packs both the primal force of Schwarzenegger and the lightning agility of Bruce Lee inside his chunky, bestial frame. Meanwhile, the game's aesthetic is equally prone to feeding off pop culture, its backdrop neatly riffing off Rodriguez's and Tarrantino's recent grindhouse revival.

He likes to kill things, basically. It's certainly a stylish undertaking, and the hand-drawn 2D art is beautifully animated with a visual style similar to how I would imagine a collaborative work between Genndy Tartakovsky and Quentin Tarrantino to look.

Carnage is loosely justified by the plot: Shank's mission is to get revenge on anyone who wronged him seven years ago in a preposterously uncalled for incident where his school teacher lover was brutally murdered, and he subsequently chose to wear a blood-soaked bandana for the rest of his days. I guess he couldn't afford to buy a new bandana, what with all the revenge and all. If you need more back-story then you can either check out Kill Bill or play the game's co-op prequel campaign, but it's not really the focus. See baddies, kill baddies.

Our hero is called Shank and his favourite weapon is a shank. Funny that. He's not actually that picky, though, and will merrily employ most weapons he comes across to help facilitate the game's indiscriminate killing spree. The shiv is always your light attack, but you can switch between your various heavy weapon and guns at any time. The idea is to seamlessly mix-up the death-dealing with deft use of Shank's hefty arsenal, but you'll be far more inclined to find a mix that suits you and never waver: shank, chains and shotgun were my weapons of choice.

We're safely within a comforting and familiar 2D brawler territory, albeit with a little spice added from modern action titles. There's plenty of violent ways to end your grizzled and unlikable foes: Shank can pounce across the screen and land on his foes, smashing their brains out on the pavement, or eviscerate enemies with a grapple attack from the katana – when he unlocks it, that is. Limited and lobbable grenades can be conventionally flung or, alternatively, deposited in the mouths of enemies. There's plenty of ways to dispatch your foes, basically.

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reynoldio's Avatar

reynoldio

I really enjoyed the demo and am looking forward to the game - totally understand your points Wido but I also see where Martin is coming from, I reckon it'll be a 7 in my eyes but that won't stop me purchasing it at all. I love a good ol' fashioned romp and this sounds like loads of fun! Repetitive and sometimes annoying fun, but definitely fun.

I look forward to downloading it sometime soon!
Posted 23:39 on 03 September 2010
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Oh dear. Totally disagree with you about Shank Mr Gaston. I loved Shank. Definitely not trying to be something it is not. Its just plain and simple. Kill whatever is in front of you and combine your weapons to stack up a nice healthy combo.

For a 2D Platformer, I liked the old style of gameplay re-earthing with a few modern implementation's to the game. I noticed you didn't say about the lunge on which Shank can perform. Wolverine/Kratos clone move, but certainly a satisfying move when you can dodge enemy attacks with it as well and land on a helpless henchman on the other side.

I too got impressions of Rodriguez and Tarrantino's kind of feel. Especially liked the music to Shank as well. Really made it to be Rodriguez and Tarrantino's work.

"But Shank's main failing is that it never incentivises its desire to encourage beautiful play"

Not being picky but it depends how you play the game. Like you said there is many ways of dispatching the henchman which are coming at you. Either shove a grenade down someone's throat, blast another behind you with the shotgun whilst pummelling some poor fellow on the floor, or blast the propane tank to cause a lovely spectacle, or just plain and simple slice & dice with the dual machete's, katana or Shank's trusty Shanks. ;)

I liked it. Obviously disagreed with you, but it was a good read none the less. I do agree on something's you have mentioned. I think 3hr to 4hr's gives the game justice. Any long than that, then it would definitely would of dragged on and I would of lost interest.
Posted 09:31 on 03 September 2010

Game Stats

Shank
6
Out of 10
Shank - No boxshot available.
  • Visually appealing
  • Solid selection of weaponry
  • Drags on
  • Some poor design choices
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 24/08/2010
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , PC
Developer: Klei Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Action
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 11,590 232
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