Blueonic & King Baby Duck present a cross-exmaination of both versions of the new downloadable game Shank.

King Baby Duck: Checking Shank out at PAX East was one of the highlights at the gaming convention. Dozens of people were gathered around the Klei Entertainment booth to get a chance to play a level of this animated side-scroller. Needless to say a lot of buzz was generated for this title, but was the wait worth it? Eh, somewhat.

Players control Shank, a man seeking vengeance for the murder of his girlfriend. With a massive foray of weapons (from knives and guns to grenades and chainsaws) Shank mows down his enemies, running towards his goal of killing all those who betrayed him. He also uses various strategies to conquer bosses, battling them down until they are a bloody pulp. Will Shank massacre those who murdered the woman of his life?

Like Scott Pilgrim VS The World this game is a button-masher. The faster you push the buttons the better the chance you'll be given of surviving the level. For the most part the control scheme is easy, but from time-to-time I had an issue with grenade-throwing. Maybe it's because of where the button is located, or perhaps Shank has a response error, but it's resulted me in getting killed...a lot.

The cartoonish graphics really set the mood for Shank, giving it a sort of Venture Brothers texture to the game. Yes, our hero is a lot like Brock Sampson, but unlike him Shank has villains that can easily kill him if he doesn't take action. The soundtrack also sets the mood, bringing an El Mariachi/Machete charm to the world of Shank. In fact this might be the closest we get to a real Machete video game.

Now for the downside of Shank: the game length. It took Blueonic and I just a week to beat it. (It would've been even quicker if we had marathon it.) And for a price tag of $14.99 on the PSN it's a bit pricey. Granted there is the co-op mode, which Pink Taco and D-Rawk seemed to really enjoy, but there are some people who don't have the luxury of friends being able to come over and play this mode, which adds on to the griping that there isn't an online mode in Shank.

Despite the short length Shank is a pretty good game, but I have to recommend waiting for it to either drop in price or to keep an eye out for any special deals regarding it.

Blueonic: This has to be one of the most interesting side-scroller games that has come out in a while. The design of this awesome game -- with it shading effects and cartoon-style gaming -- made this even more amazing. I felt like I was playing the male version of Kill Bill, what the plot line dealing with the good guys vs bad guys. The game follows Shank, who lived the criminal life, but had a girlfriend on the side and got her pregnant. However the big boss Caesar sent Shank to go and kill her to show loyalty to the family. Shank finds out about his girl being pregnant, and see's the big picture. Yet before he could turn around to do anything about it the other bigwigs of the crime family come bursting through the doors to see Shank complete his mission.

He doesn't, of course, so they kill off Shank's woman, and then have him beaten up and left in a fire they set to the house. (You don't really figure this out until you play through the game, however. That is where the storyline gets interesting.) While I have given you the main plot of the story I didn't give really anything away, as you will need to find out the rest hack 'n' slash game.

This game is short, but if you want the long aspect of the game I say play the hard portion of it. The game really is longer that way because you have to beat each level with out dying. I felt that they should of designed it so if you got halfway or 3/4 of the way there'd be a save spot. This game can be really hard on the aspect of performing the killings for the specific bad guys. Expect to die a lot in the game, and I suggest learning how to pounce on the other guys. Along with that make sure you have an awesome controller so you're able to be fast on the hacking and slashing when the bigger characters come around. You'll need to jump at the right time, or else you'll find yourself getting killed off faster.

It's great to have a friend to play the second part of the game where you can do the prequel section of the game, although I think they should of had it set up so you could play it online with other friends. They could have had you play it alone, but the only thing is that you would probably get stuck with a stupid counterpart. I think there could've been an Army of Two option where you could play alone, but sometimes have the other character go off and do something on their own.

All in all I think it's a great game, but I feel that the game could have been longer. The graphics and the cartoonist art was absolutely beautiful. I would say wait for the game to go down in price before you go and purchase it on either one of the systems, but if you really need your hack 'n' slash gaming look no further drop the money down on Shank and enjoy. I really do believe that dealing with the online capabilities of downloadable games will make going to the store to buy the plastic stuff a thing of the past, yet we have a little way to wait for that to happen.

PROS:

  • Awesome Visuals
  • Easy control scheme
  • Lots of blood, guns, weapons
  • Fills the need of kicking ass and taking names
  • Pouncing is fun for endlessly hacking, stabbing, chainsawing the person to death
  • Fun achievements

CONS:

  • Controls sometimes don't respond fast enough
  • Too much gang-banging (you'll see)
  • Hard mode is, well, too hard
  • You will die...A LOT!!!
  • Some achievements need help from a friend

Play: Light/Medium

Shank is available now.

Shank
Console/Platform:  PSN, Xbox Live Arcade
Company: Klei Entertainment
Genre: Shooter, Hack 'n' Slash, 2D Side-Scroller
Official Site
klei-Entertainment
King Baby Duck: 7.0 (out of 10)
Blueonic: 8.0 (out of 10)

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