|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Klei Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 25, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Making matters worse are the games inconsistencies that serve to aggravate you, cause you to take unnecessary damage, or even lead to your immediate death. First off, Shank seems completely incapable of aiming a gun directly above his head. Later in the game, levels will have enemies positioned on platforms above your head that youre unable to reach, with gunfire being the only solution to this problem.
Rather than standing beneath the foe and shooting straight up, youll have to run across the screen and shoot diagonally in order to take them out. Another major headache comes for some of the games platforming. The jumping in Shank isnt forgiving, often failing you if you are anything more than just a bit off with your timing or positioning. This is further upsetting later in the game when youll be required to face a plethora of platforming challenges that have small windows of opportunity and even smaller margins for error.
Still, the worst offender in Shank is the wonky dodge maneuver. The game will often require you to dodge in order to take out specific enemies or even just to avoid taking otherwise inescapable damage. However, the problem with this is youll never know if it is actually going to work correctly. One time, you may successfully sidestep an incoming attack, the next, you may get plowed into as though you werent aware of it. Im not sure if it is a problem of distance, timing, technique, or a combination of these elements, all I know is I have attempted to dodge the same attacks the same way multiple times and the results are hit-and-miss. In fact, it frequently felt like the game just didnt want me to succeed, given that I had already successfully performed these dodges several times in the exact same situations before.
These issues aside, Shank is also a short title. The game has two different campaigns, a single-player and a co-op, but both experiences are over far too quickly. The single-player campaign tells the story of Shanks revenge and only takes about three hours to beat. On the other hand, the co-op campaign delivers the backstory of why Shank is seeking payback and is even shorter than the single-player adventure. While this is an interesting idea, playing both back to back (single-player first since that is the mode in which you can unlock the additional weapons) will probably take you less than five hours. Of course, if you grow as tired of the repetition and inconsistencies as I did, this shorter length may just be for the best.
While Shank has a great visual style, an interesting story to tell, and plenty of over-the-top violence, the gameplay is extremely repetitive, has some aggravating issues, and is over far too soon. Shanks experience isnt completely without merit, as hacking and blasting your way through hordes of nameless goons can be fun, but it gets stale rather quickly. If youre looking for a mindless beat em up, you could definitely do worse than Shank. However, if youre looking for a lengthy and varied brawler, you will want to look elsewhere.
CCC News Director