Shank Game Review | “Decent”
Review by IGN 7.0/10 Decent
Ever since I saw Shank in a hotel room at PAX last year, I’ve been optimistic. With visuals that cross the grittiness of graphic novels with the strong design sense of cartoons like Genndy Tartakovsky’s Samurai Jack, Shank makes a hell of a first impression. Developers Klei have made some pretty big promises (whether inadvertently or otherwise), and expectations were built up pretty high. Now that Shank is here on PSN and XBLA courtesy of a deal with EA’s Partners program, Shank lives up to some of that promise, but stumbles where it counts most.
Shank gets up in your face right away and stays there with huge helpings of profanity, violence, style, and dare I say it, loving craftsmanship. From Shank’s public debut last year on, developers Klei have stressed that Shank was created and animated not by veteran game personnel but by traditional animators and artists, and, honestly, it shows.
Review by Joystiq 4.5/5 Stars
You’ve probably noticed that critics often employ flowery language when they’re trying to describe hyper-violence, whether it’s a “bullet ballet” or a “symphony of destruction.” Never one to use my evolved human intellect to mask primal urges, I’m going to try to explain the appeal of Klei’s side-scrolling kill-’em-up Shank in the most basic, honest terms possible. If the game’s not employing the slightest bit of nuance, I don’t see why I should have to.
Shank is a lot of fun because it lets you murder a lot of different people in a lot of different ways, and I think you should buy it.
You’re Shank, a former gang member and all-around bad ass who’s taking revenge on the crime family that offed his lady. He does this by killing, well, like a thousand dudes. In retrospect, it seems karmically imbalanced, but they killed the girlfriend of a guy who is (1) the lead character of a video game and (2) named after a prison knife, so I’m not sure what else they expected.
Review by Games Radar 6/10 Decent
Shank has the makings of a great beat-em-up – most importantly it has lots of cool attacks and lots of cool weapons. There are three basic attacks: melee (your namesake shank), heavy attack (chainsaw, among other weapons), and guns (unlimited ammo). You can also throw grenades (limited quantity) and combine attacks with grapple moves or jumps. All of these moves and abilities can be linked together into seemingly endless combos, and when you get going against a bunch of enemies, much clever multi-button-mashing pleasure can be had.
Small control annoyances often sully the experience though, and in this genre, even a small misstep in the controls can become a deal breaker. For some unfathomable reason, the same button used for your main melee attack is also mapped to the item pick up action. Enemies often drop items when you defeat them, so often in the heat of battle this leads to accidentally wasting a health drink, which is especially annoying in multiplayer when you need a health drink and your partner with full health accidentally drinks one through no fault of his own.
Enemies also drop weapons you can use temporarily, like heavy machine guns, and when the area you’re fighting on is littered with machine gun drops on the ground, you’re forced to refrain from using your melee attack, because you’ll end up picking up and dropping the gun over and over instead of attacking, which quickly leads to death.
Video Review by IGN