Shank 2 Hands-On Preview

Shank makes his return in 2012, and we got to see a bit of what his future holds.

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When Klei Entertainment produced Shank, it was applauded for its wonderful art style and fantastic audio. But it was also criticized for its weak controls, repetitive gameplay, and lack of any real multiplayer. With Shank 2 announced and expected to be released in early 2012, these issues should be addressed. We had the opportunity to sample both its single-player campaign and the new survival multiplayer mode.

Shank 2 builds upon what made the first game so enjoyable; thus, fans should expect a much larger and engaging story with new characters and environments. It still retains the same wonderful art style of the first game, which combines the gritty southwest with '70s actions films. Shank looks and feels the same, but the way in which he plays has been improved. His arsenal of weapons has opened up, and gamers should expect a lot of surprises along the way while not having to rely on the same mechanics to progress through a given area. Controls have also been addressed by allowing more freedom with your shooting, specifically angled shots. In the first game, it was sometimes difficult to pull off shots that required Shank to angle his firearm toward a leaping or diving foe. With the new analog control setup, situations where an enemy is coming down from above should equal a devastating kill.

But the one real standout in combat is the new counter system. If you time it correctly, Shank can literally turn the tables and use an enemy's gun to kill him. The best part is that he does it with the enemy still holding onto the weapon, and these animations can be quite gruesome. Counters work throughout as even boss fights will offer the opportunity to turn the tables. You might not be able to kill a foe completely, but being able to counter a boss and do a significant amount of damage will make these situations much more enjoyable.

Another aspect that the team over at Klei is looking to address is multiplayer. Though the first game did offer a cooperative prequel, it was only playable locally, and many people wanted more content that specifically allowed for online play. So far, Shank 2 will include both a local and online multiplayer mode, currently titled Survival. Shank 2's Survival mode plays out in a similar fashion to other games. You and a partner will have to work together and fight off waves of enemies on a number of different maps. The map in which we played also had a secondary objective where foes were trying to plant bombs and destroy two key crate areas. While trying to kill all incoming foes, we also had to make sure that no explosives were placed, and if one was placed, we had to defuse it before it was too late.

After every five rounds, a boss enemy would come into play, and these characters require a lot of teamwork to take down. As you play, your kills earn you cash that can then be spent on additional items to help stay alive longer. In situations where a boss appears, using the moment beforehand to prep an area with turrets or landmines can be very helpful in keeping your team alive. Although we managed to stay alive for about eight minutes or so in our first attempt with the game, there is no limit to how long a pair of players can last. At the time, the record the team at Klei was able to achieve was about 15 minutes.

Teamwork will be key in multiplayer

Our early sample of Shank 2 was brief but certainly enjoyable. The fact that the game is building upon its successes and addressing what fans wanted in the first game is a good thing. Hopefully, as we approach 2012, we'll hear details regarding the game's single-player story and what other features we can expect. Shank 2 is scheduled for release in early 2012 on Xbox Live Arcade, the PlayStation Network, and the PC.

Discussion

13 comments
luncHb0X84
luncHb0X84

i loved the first one so i cant wait for this s**t!!!

stonhengehill
stonhengehill

this is one of the best thing that i hear in this week waw

fang_proxy
fang_proxy

good news,executing perfect combos was difficult, hope to see some improvement in shank 2.

BoboSmrad97
BoboSmrad97

this looks realy good and the teamwork is great

chimpanchu
chimpanchu

The first Shank game's control was terrible. The character just skids and slides all over the place like Shank is skating on ice! Control was unresponsive, it is virtually impossible to make Shank do what you want him to do in the thick of the battle. Game developer also INSIST all animations to be completed before moving on to next move. They never heard of animation interruption which commonly being employed in games such as Street Fighter. Hopefully Shank 2 address all of the above's issues.

sammyekek
sammyekek

Love the first Shank despite some control issues and the lack of online coop.

G_gglypuff
G_gglypuff

I wonder if the counter-system is a good idea.

ProjektInsanity
ProjektInsanity

So is there a proper multiplayer campaign, or is the only multiplayer the survival mode? I hope both, as with my increasingly limited gaming time, the only games I tend to play are ones which I can rope my fiancee into playing.

smoman5000
smoman5000

Looks great, i look forward to seeing more teamwork oriented play

M-S-M-S
M-S-M-S

So, are we going to see it on Steam, or EA is just lying when they tell us that they are in favor of free, competitive market?

MEDzZ3RO
MEDzZ3RO

Nice, loved the original and am still a fan of 2D side scrolling beat em ups such as Streets Of Rage 2.