Shank 2 is every action lover’s wet dream. The sequel isn’t just an improvement, it’s an almost completely different game. I can’t think of a better title that makes you feel like a bad ass Chuck Norris. Maybe its cause our hero loves killing just about anyone that comes in his path. Lucky enough, he has a justice side to him, and therefore Shank 2 actually has a story.
The plot, however, is really just a nuisance. Some dictator’s heart is about to give out, and he’s looking for someone to replace it so he can continue his reign. Shank isn’t concerned obviously, minding his own business until someone interjects. When that finally happens, all hell breaks loose. This time around, there is a multitude of weapons and new combat techniques that Shank can use at his disposal, and this is where the game really shines. The choices at which to kill your enemies are pretty high. Shank can pounce, throw molotovs, shoot enemies, grab victims, and even counter attacks. And that’s just to name a few. While the diversity of moves is superb, you might find yourself confused at how to use the new combat system, but you’re never really unfairly tested. Save for boss battles, which include animated death sequences, you’ll find yourself dying a bit, but sharpening your skills in return. The checkpoints help as well, and they’re spread out well enough to encourage you to keep going.
Presentation is another strong point for the game. The animation is top notch and reminiscent of the other titles, such as Castle Crashers, that use great artwork and style. Once you master the controls, everything becomes smooth as butter. I loved the character designs and the gritty feel of the settings, even if it was 2D. The cut-scenes are also a nice touch. Although short, they manage to get the job done, and I’m glad they opted for real animated scenes rather than stills like other titles use.
The multiplayer is a bit of a mixed bag. It isn’t necessarily tacked on, it’s just that survival mode doesn’t really match the feel of the campaign. Perhaps it’s the confined space, or the lack of levels, but it certainly isn’t the games strongest point. You’ll probably take a dig at it with a friend, but I doubt you’d be returning to the mode again. Shank 2 just simply works best as a single-player game.
For a downloadable title, you’ll definitely be getting your money’s worth here. Games of this category are usually repetitive, but Shank 2 really tries to go the extra mile. Most downloadable games lack the production value, let alone the diversity of gameplay options as this title. The team at Klei Entertainment could have easily just addressed the problems that plagued the original. Instead, they crafted a much more improved game that dwarfs its predecessor and a shinning example at how to do 2D action titles right.