What was the last game you played that let you blow somebody's head off by jamming a grenade in their mouth? It's probably been done before, sure, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be paying attention. Because this ultraviolent beat ‘em up is definitely a game that should be on your radar.
The first thing anybody seeing Shank for the first time will notice is its amazingly clean animation. The main character (Shank) transitions in and out of combos with a grace rarely seen before in an XBLA game, let alone an independently developed one. The Dishwasher may have been the previous showcase for this kind of stylistic action, but Shank puts it to shame.
The developers like to describe Shank's gameplay as a modern version of the old Double Dragon games, but from what we've seen of the game we feel like "2D Devil May Cry" is a more apt description. Shank has a seemingly endless variety of combos with which to dispatch his would-be dispatchers. He moves in and out of combos using his knife, chainsaw, and pistols without hesitation, so combo creation is essentially up to the player.
Shank never stops surprising. Once you think you've got a handle on the combo system, you're introduced to grapples, throws, and grenades. Those may not sound all that exciting at first, but when a grapple can lead to pinning your enemy to the ground and forcing your chainsaw into his chest, it gets exciting. Fast.
All of this is done in a great 2D graphical engine that never stops piling on the gore. Though, to be fair, it would probably be a little unrealistic if Shank didn't send blood flying everywhere when he plunged his knives into an enemy's chest after a high-soaring leap. Thankfully they've provided this effect in copious amounts.
Don't take just our word for it, though. Shank was one of the most talked about games on the show floor at PAX East this year among gamers and press alike. And if this showing was any indication, it's also going to be one of the most talked about games when it releases on Xbox Live, PSN, and PC later this summer (no specific release date has been announced as of yet.)
Above: You really need to see Shank in motion. Check out the game's first trailer
Mar 30, 2010