You can never have enough games that require you to simply beat the hell out of your enemy and Klei Entertainment’s latest game, Shank, does exactly that.
Shank is a 2D side-scrolling beat ‘em up and sees you taking the role of Shank, who is part of a gang which deals with typical gang related activities; collecting money, beating people up and so on. One day, Shank’s girlfriend is taken away by his boss’s lackeys and killed while Shank is left for dead. With only revenge on his mind, Shank sets out to kill anyone who is connected with the murder of his girlfriend and this is the story of Shank.
There are two different modes to choose from in Shank, single player and multiplayer. In single player you work through the story that was described above on either normal or hard difficulties and in multiplayer you team up with friend and play a prelude to the main story. Sadly, you are only able to have fun with the multiplayer mode locally and not online, which would have been a nice addition.
The aim of the game is to get from boss-to-boss while killing the waves of enemies that come at you along the way. If you don’t kill fast enough there are times in both modes where you can be overwhelmed very easily, as a friend and I found out the hard way! Thankfully, you are given a nice collection of weapons in order to get yourself through this brutal game. Starting out with only a dagger, chainsaw and pistols you are still able to do some serious damage to your enemies, but once you acquire the shotgun things become a lot easier. I found myself using this throughout the entire game once I unlocked it, as it hits multiple targets and allows you to crowd control without much effort. Other weapons that you can get your hands on are the Uzi, machete, some chains and a katana.
Combos are visually satisfying in Shank while playing the single player but really shine when with a friend. One of my favourite things to do was throw an enemy to my friend while he uppercut him into the air and then jumped up to bring him down with his katana. Awesome! To do some combos you must grapple that enemy, which can be done by pressing the right shoulder button. When you have the enemy on the floor you can beat him senseless with whatever weapon you choose and pass him to your friend for a final blow - or just do what I did most of the time and shove a chainsaw down his throat. I honestly could keep writing for hours about the number of combos there are in this game, but I’ll let you find the rest out for yourself.
The cut scenes in the game look like you are reading a comic book at times but this isn’t a bad thing. The way bosses are defeated and confrontations between Shank and his enemies are really well drawn and I couldn’t imagine seeing the game any other way. Speaking of bosses being defeated, the way they are taken out is highly entertaining … in a violent kind of way. One in particular had Shank shoving his chainsaw in the guys back and then stuffing a grenade in his mouth, after which Shank jumps off shoots and grenade and walks off in style. While all this carnage is going on, the game has a noteworthy soundtrack along with decent voice acting and sound effects.
If you are looking for a high action, blood splattering, combo driven game that you can enjoy alone or with friends, Shank is definitely the game for you. Although the title costs 1200 Microsoft Points, I think it is worth every one of them. If you are willing to spend this amount of points go get it now!