Developed by:Klei Entertainment Published by:EA Genre(s):
  • Beat’em Up
  • Platform:
  • Microsoft
  • PC
  • Sony
  • Cost:$9.99 ESRB Rating:MATURE Players:1 (1-2 Online) Release date:February 8, 2012 Reviewed on:XBox 360

    Shank 2

    Man do I love a good Beat’em up! There is something about walking down a street, punching random thugs in the face, and eating chicken found in trash cans. Whether you’re playing as an unrelated twin brother or a pissed off retired wrestler turned mayor, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that someone wronged you so badly that, if you don’t drop kick at least fifteen bad guys in the face, you won’t be able to sleep at night. Of course, in Shank’s case, you won’t be pleased until you’ve totally decimated an entire army!

    Developed by Klei Entertainment, Shank 2 follows the story of our favorite ex-mob hit man. For those who don’t know, Shank used to work for a mob boss named Cesar. Because he didn’t go through with a planned hit, Cesar double crossed Shank and murdered his girlfriend. Of course, Shank went all “Kill Bill” on Cesar and the rest of the mob. After all the fighting from the first game, all Shank wants to do is down a couple of beers and relax. His R&R is interrupted when a dictator sends his goons after a rebel group sworn to over throw him. It just so happens that key members of this group are part of Shank’s foster family. This forces Shank out of retirement, and he isn’t too happy about it.

    Shank 2’s story isn’t as involved as the previous title in the series. It’s really just there to give gamers a reason to beat (or in this case shank) the crap out of a bunch of bad guys. This isn’t a bad thing mind you; this is a beat ‘em up after all. What is important is how Shank 2 plays. The first thing you’ll notice when playing Shank 2 is how much easier it is to defend yourself. Klei has taken into consideration the faults of their first title, fixed them, and added something new. The end result is a more polished game. For instance, take the roll maneuver. In the previous game, you had to hold one button and then click another to roll. In Shank 2, the roll is done by flicking the right analog, making it much easier to dodge attacks. Then there is the new counter feature. Each enemy has a signature attack that causes a lot of damage. If you take their life down a little bit, you’ll start to see a red exclamation mark pop up over their heads right before they launch said attack. Once the exclamation mark appears, pressing the right trigger will cause Shank to counter their attack, most likely killing the enemy in brutal fashion. They’re similar to the disarm move from Dead to Rights when the main character kills an enemy with his/her own weapon.

    Another thing you’ll notice is how easy it is to chain attacks together this time around. Like I said before, Klei made sure to address concerns from the previous title. It was nothing for me to stab a guy, launch in him into the air with a machete, and juggle him a couple of times with my shanks before blasting him to bits with my shotgun. The same level of control is given to all of Shank’s movements; you can even cancel a jump by hitting the roll move, to dodge an attack in midair. While the button configuration helps with this, the animations are what really make Shank 2 flow so well. You won’t find yourself stuck in a particular attack animation, having to worry about unresponsive actions. Don’t get me wrong, the first game was great. This one just plays better, which should be expected.

    Klei got rid of the co-op story mode in favor of a Horde-like mode that we’ve been seeing…well, everywhere. This Survival mode tasks two players with defending three weapon cases from being blown up by enemy demolitionists. While you’re fighting off waves of bad guys, you’ll collect coins that you can use to buy things; like heath, turrets, weapons, and a rampaging warthog. Yea…a warthog! These items can be bought during or in between attack waves. This is good since you’ll be fighting off large groups of enemies, bosses, and the undead. Oh, did I forget to mention that there were zombies thrown in just because? It’s safe to say that things can get a little crazy over the course of 30 waves. Since you have to protect something other than just each other, the tension rises each time a new wave starts. If someone does happen to go down, you can revive them. Of course, you’ll have to be quick as enemies won’t just wait for you to pick up your friend. And if an enemy does plant a bomb, you’ll have less than a minute to defuse it before it’s game over. This is why each map comes with its own traps set up to help you out in a jam. All of these components combined makes Survival mode worth playing.

    Shank 2 is a great game. The campaign isn’t very long but it does warrant multiple plays. Besides being fun, there are unlockables hidden around on each level. Some will give you some background story elements while others will unlock new characters to play as. There is also a point system, featuring a leaderboard that tracks you and your friends’ scores across each level. I found survival mode to be an extremely fun alternative to the main game. Adding to the entertainment is the inclusion of unlockable characters found in the main story. The difference here is that they’re not just cosmetic changes. Each character has unique attributes that directly effect how you will play the game. One might be quicker at defusing bombs but has weak ranged attacks, while another character can deal serious damage but has very low health. The game already warrants multiple plays, adding a little variety icing on the cake! The only thing I didn’t like is how the enemies seem to blend into one another. In other beat’em ups, when a group of enemies share the same plane and you attack them, you’ll end up hitting them all at once. It makes it impossible for anyone caught up in your attacks to strike you. In Shank 2, sometimes you’ll attack a group of enemies and one of the guys will still be able to hit you. This wouldn’t be an issue if the reason you got hit was because they used a powerful attack or you’re fighting a boss that can break through your attacks. As it stands, an enemy can get a lucky hit on you and successfully stop your combos; I experienced some cheap deaths due to this issue. It’s even worse in Survival mode due to the fact that the screen will quickly fill up with enemies. To be fair, this issue severely hurt the gameplay; it never bothered me enough to quit playing. It is something that Klei should look into before making Shank 3 though!



    Shank 2 is a great game to play. Even with the lost of the co-op campaign option, it's worth the download!



    I'm a big fan of the art style. It looks better than the original.



    Everything sounded pretty good.

    What's New:


    There wasn't really anything we haven't seen in other Beat'em Ups.

    Replay Value:


    The fun gameplay, the unlockables, the survival mode; they all are good reasons to keep playing!

    Final Score:


    © United Front Gaming. All rights reserved. Site design by: 801red