This is a hard game to give an opinion on. It’s beautiful and a slightly deeper combat system then most 2D scrollers have to offer but it also has things that are really annoying (*cough*Boss Fights*cough*) The story is well constructed as well as being in the graphically beautiful category for a side scroller.
Overall Score : 80/100
If you like 2D side scroller’s that are beautiful in style and animation then this game is one to pick up. This game would probably be a lot easier with a controller as is suggested in the first 5 seconds of the game launching. I know my hands and wrists were screaming “Carpal Tunnel!” after a few hours of this game.
It’s easier just to watch the cinematic opening to get the start of the story. For this case, I’m going to talk more about the story as a whole.
Shank is a story that is one we have seen before; it’s a story of violence, betrayal and revenge. Shank may not be the most picturesque good guy that some may be used to, but he is most certainly the lesser of the evils. The first scene shows the seedy and violent world Shank is a part of, where the people are drunk, fighting or dying at any one point of the day. Having been almost killed, Shank is out to show everyone that they should have finished the job.
This game took 3 hours of time to complete for me and seems to have some legs to stand on for replay value, offering things like costumes and a Hard Mode where there is no checkpoints and fewer health pickups.
The bosses are fairly interesting, but after a few of them they become more or less the same. There are subtle differences between them but other than the second boss which is never again emulated by others, there isn’t much for differences.
Defaults and Customizability-
The fact that I was able to change the default controls (which for a keyboard were terribly mapped in my opinion.) to something that was useable made this game easier to play without a controller although it did hurt my hands either way after a while of play time.
My suggestion to anyone that will play this on the PC without a controller, map the attacks to say the W,A,S,D,F for attacks , shift for dodge/block and Enter for grenades. It will make your hand less spread out all over the keyboard and manageable.
There isn’t much in the way of items that aren’t weapons so these categories have been put together this time. The only item that ISN’T a weapon in the game is the one that heals you, it’s some sort of drink that drops off of the bigger guys, is found in the occasional box or is just put in the level.
Some of the weapons are quite useful while others are ones that I hardly used. The melee weapons you unlock throughout the course of the game are, Machete’s, Katana’s, Chain Wrapped Fists and the weapon you start with, the almighty Chainsaw.
Guns you can unlock are Shotgun, Uzi and the ones you start with, Handguns. In a few levels you get to play with a Mini Chain Gun which is always fun just wrecking everyone that comes close to you.
The graphics that you will be playing with are VERY graphic novel inspired. While being a 2D side scroller still, this game has pretty impressive graphics for staying fully 2D. For this style you either have to love it or hate it I guess, I think it is a really clean looking graphic and animation.
The animated cut-scenes are really well done, still staying within the graphic novel style and doing it fully animated. The story flows well with the animation and is all very clean and graphic novel style.
The Bad and Annoying
-The game is REALLY short only being 3 hours-ish of play for one go through for the price it is. (~ $15.00). While there is some replay value for costumes and Hard Mode, I can’t say that it would be completely worth the money.