You get to murder a lot of dudes, in many different ways.
I spent most of my time playing Shank 2’s cooperative survival mode. It plays like your typical survival mode as you have to slice, pummel, and shank (sorry) your way through waves of increasingly difficult enemies with a friend either on a couch or online. There are natural break points and boss fights, and there’s also a clever gimmick that requires more strategy than simply killing up all the bad dudes. On each of the three maps you have a cache that you have to protect from bomb-wielding enemies. This definitely throws a challenge into the mix as you must carefully disarm any bombs that are planted, all while continuing to murder everyone on screen. Gold dropped from enemies becomes cash that you can use to purchase various items that will aid your survival. Health-restoring booze, decoy allies, and my personal favorite - the pet boar that will punt away enemies close to your cache.
As you complete in-game challenges, such as countering 50 enemies, you unlock characters to use in survival mode. Keep in mind that both unlockables and achievements are earned separately. These unlocked characters amount to little more than new multiplayer skins, but it is nice to see Klei paying homage to various action characters such as Deathspank, Shaft, or the Bride from Kill Bill, as well as familiar faces from the first game. Like the campaign, you can make more than a superficial change in the weapon loadouts. Male and female characters each have their own variety of weapons and I really appreciated that I could equip myself with items that complimented my play style. Personally I went with chainsaw/pistols/proxy mines during my time with survival mode trying to emulate a Devil May Cry style. The survival mode definitely contains more of a game than the single player campaign, but I only ask why no co-op campaign this time around?
The game lacks a co-op campaign, but contains an addictive survival mode.
Shank 2 delivers a beautifully violent experience that relies on style to carry the game. It is a well-tuned, bloody spectacle that comes off as an old revenge flick with little to no payoff. It can be stunning at times, but halted by parts that are just downright frustrating. The campaign is short and uninspiring, and players will turn to the survival mode to get the most out of Shank 2. The game is well worth your ten dollars, but after my time with Shank 2 I wish Klei could have provided a little more substance to go along with their overwhelming amount of style.
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game, provided by publisher Electronic Arts.
The Co-Op Experience: Two players can play locally or online in Shank 2's Survival Mode.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.