Опубликовано: 26 февраля
- Satisfying hack'n'slash melee combo action
- Lovely comic style 2D animation
- Rodriguez/Tarantino style vengeance exploitation theme
- Short and sweet
- Controls take a little getting used to
- Seems really hard until you realise it's really easy
- Moving around is a bit awkward
- Doesn't really inspire replays
- Perhaps a little too short and sweet?
With its Mexican sets and pulp fiction vibe, Shank really digs into the Robert Rodriguez inspiration bucket, paying homage to films like Machete and El Mariachi. The thin story line is a vengeance tale where Shank fights wave after wave of nasty guys to get at the associates who had left him for dead. Really, I'd never ask for more from a hack'n'slash and I think it's quite a good fit for the game-play style. The artwork itself is really nice - they employ a clean line cartoon/comic style that looks a little bit like Bruce Timm or Genndy Tartakovsky coloured by Kyle Baker. (!!!)
The game-play itself is side-scrolling melee action. Stacks of bad dudes come at you and you grind your way through them to get to the bosses. It has a bit of a Mega Drive (Genesis) vibe with the three attack buttons for light, heavy and gun items. You're encouraged to be creative with combos and to explore using direction as well to get different effects. At first I found it a little confusing to play. With a bit of time, though, I was able to chain-up purposeful combos to destroy the hoards in a very satisfying way. It's actually quite fun. There is a difficulty setting and on normal I found the enemies to be difficult enough, up until I had beaten a few bosses. Beating the bosses requires you to master a couple of moves - block which makes you virtually impervious, dodge with the same effect, and grapple which again makes you virtually impervious and which the enemies usually won't break out of. Knowing these few moves, suddenly the difficulty of the game bottoms out and the rest of the game, bosses and all, becomes a cake-walk. At this point you have to ask yourself if you wanted to be challenged or if you just wanted to destroy waves of enemies. If it's the second, then you're in luck - as long as you don't mind finishing in 4 to 6 hours. It is a very short game. Without permadeath, the game turns into one of those where you see how quickly you can finish the stages with the least amount of deaths and to be honest, that never motivated me to replay a game.
Nevertheless, the makers do try to make Shank replayable. There is a hard mode which has less checkpoints and harder enemies which is largely uninspiring. There is also concept artwork and costumes for Shank, however it is never explicitly clear what you need to do to unlock this content. I think that moving around the scenery was a little flawed. Shank can parkour (in a limited fashion) through the scenery. There are a couple of sequences where you need to use a bit of platforming skills but Shank is a terrible platformer! All I wanted to do was kill bad guys but in a few limited sections I had to replay the awkward plaforming ten times over. I'd have rather just had extra bad guys to attack. Probably the only thing I was vocally upset about, though, was that despite clearly stating that the game is best played with a gamepad, the game never disables the mouse pointer which mocks you in the middle of the playfield until you stand up, walk over to the rig and swat the cursor out of the way. It's a small grievance, I know, but it's still a drag.
For what it is though, I found it to be an enjoyable return to the side-scrolling action games I used to love.