Shank 2 Preview

Shank you very much for the sequel.

Shank 2 is a sequel to the XBLA and PSN side-scrolling beat ‘em up released in 2010. The original didn’t bring anything ground-breaking to the table, but made up for it with a crisp, cartoony visual art style, and some of the most satisfying beat ‘em up style gameplay since Double Dragon. Klei Entertainment and EA have teamed up yet again to bring create a sequel that embodies everything that made the original a blast to play, but have added to an already strong foundation.

Shank was all about the single-player experience. It was an absolutely blast to play, but ultimately users agreed that one special ingredient was missing: co-op. Klei has answered the call by implementing a part Super Smash Bros., part Gears of War Horde co-op "survival" mode in Shank 2.

Everything about the new co-op “survival mode” feels old. Not grandpa’s favorite chair type old, but inspired by some of my favorite classic games. The stage is laid out in three tiers of platforms, and at first will seem confined to a small space. Any bigger, though, things could get too chaotic. Wave after wave of enemies, and I mean a shitload of enemies, will attack you. Each one with a different style of attack, some may not even go after you or your partner, instead opting to set bombs all over the stage—bombs that you must diffuse, while still managing to kick everyone’s ass.

The combat gets hectic, but in the best way possible. When things get too out of hand, you can use points to buy special weapons, replenish health, or call for air strikes. Or save the points and pick up things dropped all over the stage, like beer, which fills your health meter. Just like in real life.

Attacks are the most enjoyable aspect of the game. You’ve got your heavy weapons—a chainsaw; your projectiles—either daggers or a pair of pistols; and your shanks—to stab a bitch. You can use enemies’ own weapons against them, too. A couple of stabs to the gut, followed by a well-timed chainsaw uppercut, and a few pistol shot juggles will bring a sinister smile to anyone’s face.

It all comes together to make for a helluva good time, filled with stabbing, explosions, beer, missiles, chainsaws and blood. Did I mention beer? If that doesn’t scream awesome, then… I will have to scream awesome for it... Because it is.

Shank 2 is planned for a 2012 release on Xbox LIVE and PlayStation Network.