seppli's Shank (PlayStation Network (PS3)) review

Desperado meets Ninja Gaiden in the Second Dimension

Shank is a stunningly beautiful and bloody gorefest with few flaws...

 

 Cassandra - showing off more than just Shank's sexy artstyle...

Premise:


 
  • Shank is about stabbin' and shootin' dudes in the face in a gory and elegantly over the top manner
  • Shank is about its comic artstyle presentation with supersmoothly animated combat choreography
  • Shank is about hip pulp fiction story à la Desperado and Machete
 

Pros:


 
  • Gorgeous visuals
  • Comic artstyle
  • Top of class animations
  • Deep and intuitive combat system
  • Hard difficulty poses a real challenge for your combat skills
 

Cons:


 

Cheap deaths due to...

  • Subpar platforming
  • Unfair enemy placements

Aerial Combat unattractive due to...

  • Lack of aerial evade move

Also...

  • Short (3+ hours for normal playthrough)
  • No online matchmaking (as far as I can tell)
 
 

On a Personal Note:

 
The first playthrough felt to me like watching Desperado for the first time. It was like playing the hero of a 3+ hours long action flick penned and realized by Robert Rodriguez. Only it's a game looking like a modern day cartoon. And it felt like Ninja Gaiden in 2D. Only not as hard. I spent a very satisfying 3h 30m on it. I was thoroughly entertained all the way. The final bossfight felt somewhat off at first, since it's built around me mastering the basic controls, rather than figuering out an attack pattern. Once I got to the place skillwise, where the developers wanted me at, it was a cakewalk.
 
Encouraged by my success, I began a hard playthrough. Again, combat is great and 100% skill based. There is a lot of room for getting better and skill makes a world of difference. Too bad platforming is subpar and there are quite a few other non-combat related deaths waiting later in the game. While combat is great fun on Hard mode (which hasn't gotten any mid-level checkpoints), I don't see me completing Shank on Hard mode, because of said flaws in the context of not having any mid-level checkpoints. That's just a bit too oldschool for me.
 
Anybody who enjoys good combat as seen in Ninja Gaiden and God of War and Dishwasher will enjoy Shank a lot. Graphics whores will be deeply satisfyied too. Sissies and players with a low tolerance for unfair gamedesign (random deaths while platforming and unfair enemy placement) should steer clear. In any case, play Shank on normal diffculty first. Then go on and play hard mode, if you are up for a Battletoads like challenge. Definite purchase for non-sissy action game afficionados and Desperado/Machete/Robert Rodriguez fans.
 
 
  
Completing Shank on Hard diffculty is akin to the experience you had completing Battletoads on the NES. It's a classic for a reason. The reason's called Torture. Some love an impossible challenge even more than a fair challenge. If you are such a person, you will love playing Shank on Hard mode. A lot.
12 Comments
Posted by Yummylee

The coop any fun? That's the main pulling point for me. And how's the game in the way of unlockables? Read that Shank can unlock a fair few alt costumes.

Posted by Ghostiet

Nice structure, I liked it.

Also, thanks for reminding me what an awesome soundtrack Battletoads had.

Posted by Redbullet685
@Abyssfull said:
" The coop any fun? That's the main pulling point for me. And how's the game in the way of unlockables? Read that Shank can unlock a fair few alt costumes. "
11 costumes, 10 to unlock. 5 pieces of concept art. I think thats it.
Posted by Yummylee
@Redbullet685 said:
" @Abyssfull said:
" The coop any fun? That's the main pulling point for me. And how's the game in the way of unlockables? Read that Shank can unlock a fair few alt costumes. "
11 costumes, 10 to unlock. 5 pieces of concept art. I think thats it. "
Cheers. No extra costumes for the Danny Trejo double, though?
Edited by Redbullet685
@Abyssfull:
You may have to wait for shanks sequel, Machete. Comes out this Friday along with the movie. Man do developers make games fast these days.
Posted by Yummylee
@Redbullet685 said:
" @Abyssfull: You may have to wait for shanks sequel, Machete. Comes out this Friday along with the movie. Man do developers make games fast these days. "
lol....are you serious???
Posted by Marmaladebrat

Good well written review

Posted by Shuborno

I have heard some complaints about the platforming, and it didn't really seem that involved to me.  There isn't much demand put on your timing. 
 
I actually love the boss fights that relied on skill with the basic mechanics.  Most games wouldn't have the depth to stand up to a rigorous exercise in the basics, but Shank does it and keeps it remaining fun. I felt like it was quite the accomplishment when I downed a couple of the bosses, and it really prepared me for Hard mode (which I'm working through now).

Edited by Vao

Good review overall, more or less hits all the points and issues i had with the game.  
 
The bad placement of enemies were annoying until i figured out you can shoot them off the screen. Haven't touched hard because the fact of no checkpoints just annoys me, specially when their were some deaths just just were unavoidable.  Looking forward to seeing the Co-op Story sometime this week when I'm at a friends, from what I could tell it is only local with no online coop available.   

Posted by ch3burashka

Desperado is a shitty movie when compared to The Mariachi, its inspiration. Banderas really hams it up. 
 
Good review. Proper grammar use is sometimes underappreciated by GB reviewers; I'm glad you're not among them.

Posted by azhang

I played the demo the other day and I liked it, but I have a feeling that the combat will get pretty repetitive quite quick.

Posted by papercut

NIce review, I thought the length was good though. Anymore and I think I would have burned out on it.

Other reviews for Shank (PlayStation Network (PS3))

    To Brandish a Shiv 0

    Let us clarify matters first and foremost.  Shank is an awesome game.  And in this case, by 'awesome,' what I really mean is 'could have been amazing except...'  There are quite a few flaws in the overall product that is Shank, however they are by no means show-stoppers.  The game is absolutely worth your time (of which it won't take an awful lot) and money.  By now it is probably safe to assume that everyone has seen plenty of Shank in still shots and in motion.  It really is a beautifully craf...

    7 out of 7 found this review helpful.

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