SHANK 2 / Klei / PC

I dogged the first Shank for its relentless Combo Whoresmanship and uneven difficulty jags, but I did feel it had some potential. In the meantime Klei won me back with Mark of the Ninja, but now they've kind of lost me again with Shank 2: Shank Harder. At least for action-oriented games. They seem content to hold pat with the original Shank engine and formula, doing more of the same with just some very small tweaks to the way Shank moves.

To be fair to Klei, the small tweaks do improve the play experience a small bit. One niggling problem in the original game was that Shank's transition between animations was just too slow sometimes to keep up with the mob of enemies constantly swarming him, and that does feel faster and smoother here. But more of a problem was that every Mook was preposterously durable and required some insane 300-hit combo to defeat. Not only is that still true, but this game goes even harder in making you memorize the approximately 1937 moves available to you and use the right ones for each enemy type, even though enemies are constantly dumped on your head five or six at a time in a mixed mob.

I get that (or I at least ASSUME that) the intent of the Shank 2: Electric Shankaloo is that the player map all these different moves and combos to muscle memory through sheer repetition. My question to games that demand this sort of thing is always "Why?" Why should I dump time into replaying the same level segments over and over? To watch more of these crummy-looking Newgrounds Flash cutscenes? To drink in the sub-Robert Rodriguez plot and over-the-top gore? To get into dick-waving competitions with insecure shut-in 12-year-olds on the Internet?

No thanks, Klei. Give me a jingle when you get back to making stealth platformers though.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video