Desperado meets Ninja Gaiden in the Second Dimension
Shank is a stunningly beautiful and bloody gorefest with few flaws...
- 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
- Gorgeous visuals
- Comic artstyle
- Top of class animations
- Deep and intuitive combat system
- Hard difficulty poses a real challenge for your combat skills
Cheap deaths due to...
- Subpar platforming
- Unfair enemy placements
Aerial Combat unattractive due to...
- Lack of aerial evade move
- 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.