Gamersmint Review : Shank – Good Ol Arcade action
I usually get bored with arcade games, but Shank was something different. Highly addictive while packing quiet a challenge and having a great pacing to it, Shank demanded my attention like few other arcade games have ever managed to. It does have its faults which I will mention later in the review but the bottomline is, that Shank is pure fun, whether you play solo or coop, it does its job. However, Is Shank worth the money? Is this 2D scroller a refreshing change than your usual bunch of arcade games in the market today? Let’s shank our way and find out!
Shank is your typical 2D side scroller, with cartoony graphics and a over the top combat system. The first thing you realize as you start playing is that the game is incredibly gory, which is a good thing or bad depending on what kind of guy you are. For me it just increased the gaming experience a lot, nothing seemed more satisfying than hacking and slashing your enemies with an occasional grenade thrown in from time to time as Shank tries to get his revenge.
Another thing you need to know is that Shank is incredibly challenging and you will die a lot of cheap deaths. The game throws waves of enemies at you as you move ahead gaining weapons and you face more formidable foes in the latter chapters. This is the biggest drawback about Shank, tall and strong men with guns mixed with little annoying guys make it incredibly hard to breeze through a level. But the levels themselves are fun to play as your arsenal of weapons is diverse and with a few retries and trial and error you can clear each chapter without much frustration.
As usual you face bosses at the end of each chapter, some of them are funny, others are plainly annoying. You need to exploit some of the stuff available during the fight to inflict massive damage, otherwise they go down really slow. I felt most bosses were well done and the death animations were hilarious. When I say annoying, an example would be the boss ( Jeep with enemies ) at the start which required precise grenade throws to take down, I certainly felt the developers could have provided different options for taking it down. But once you got the hang of it, it went down pretty fast.
Coming to animations, well itâ€™s a hit and a miss, character animations are well done as they react very well but loading animations are terrible. As far as combat mechanics goes, you will find yourself ganged up once you start recovering from that chainsaw attack, which might result in a cheap death. Overall if you use proper weapons depending on the scenario, deaths will be lesser. The amount of weapons available are just brilliant, from shotguns to uzi, chainsaw, katana, etc, Shank gives you plenty of options to slaughter your enemies in style. Also the main character performs a so called “Dance” when using some of the weapons especially the shotgun, it’s just pleasing as well as hilariously funny to kill your enemies that way.
The levels are well designed butÂ extremelyÂ linear, you jump, run, face waves of enemies, climb walls, pipes, face waves of enemies, do the the occasional dodge till you reach the final boss. Some variety could have been good, but it being an arcade game I couldnâ€™t ask for much, I was definitely pleased with the levels.
The pacing is great and the game is pretty fluid when you are in the â€œzoneâ€, fast switching of weapons with the D-pad, grenades padded to the LB and slow mo takedown moves to the RB, everything was easy to adjust to. The controls are a charm, thatâ€™s one of the factors why surviving waves of enemies is easier in this game. Dodging is well implemented but I found myself using that only in the boss fights, as my trusty shotgun and katana made a small work of the average goons as I strolled through a chapter.
The plot is insignificant, all you need to know is that Shankâ€™s girlfriend has been kidnapped/ killed / ?? maybe and you need to get revenge. Off you go angry young man and slaughter shitloads of enemies who have their own unique names. Could a better plot have made Shank more fun, immersive? I felt that was not required since the game is all about hardcore, gory action and the plot serves its purpose well to keep you glued in. Although there are chances you might be frustrated with cheap deaths and hurl your controller at the TV or the wall at times but it all gels well with the overall mood of the game RIGHT?
It took me 3 hours and 30 mins to finish the game, since it costs a bit more than your average PSN or XBL title, I felt 3 hours was very less. If you check the leaderboards, some people have finished it in less than an hour, speed run or not that’s very less content for the price charged,Â but I still recommend this game purely on the basis that it is fun.
The strong point of Shank is coop. Yes you and your buddy can â€œshankâ€ enemies together although the mode is only for offline. If you have a friend over, grab an extra controller and have a blast. Hacking and slashing has never been so much fun before. Special mention is the soundtrack, absolutely sublime, sets you in the mood to play through the game.
I was pleased with the enemy variety in the campaign, and annoyed with those pesky dogs although a few shotgun blasts in style and they were history. Shank is also the perfect example of the few arcade games we get that actually requires skill and strategy. The latter half of the game became very tough to handle as soon as they introduced enemies with machine guns. The graphics really sets the mood along with funny yet gorgeous cutscenes and hilarious expressions really grab your attention as you try to complete it solo or in coop.