Shank : Bloody retribution in waves of bloody repetition

This little summer bloodfest made a small blip on the radar and then disappeared. Other sites gave it decent reviews so where did this fantastically stylized side scroller go wrong? Let’s look at it, shall we.

Shank is a hell bent dude, avenging the murder of his girlfriend, well you assume a murder. Along the way you meet the Kill Bill rejects in typical boss fashion, all the way up to the final boss. You have the muscle testosterone guys, the chick with a sword, wanna be crime lords, etc., none of them stand out as a true nemesis. Each boss has a pattern. Once learned it is fairly easy to beat. Hit detection gets a little woppy but doesn’t deter from the gameplay.

The entire time I played, I thought that there were chunks of the story missing. Little flashbacks for cut scenes made me think that there was a deeper history between the characters. None of it is really developed. But you really are not playing this game for the story line anyway. You are playing because it looks cool. REALLY COOL!

The animation is fresh and up to speed with all movements, weapons, and kills. So smooth it feels like silk. The controls, on the other hand, are more like flannel. You will experience “I was aiming that way!” moments and frustration will build. Frustration in ways that will have you remembering classic Double Dragon or Bad Dudes games. You will play through the frustration, just like you did with those games. It turns into a “I have beaten this before and it will never get the best of me” attitude.

The great thing is that you can play with a frustrated friend in Shank’s co-op. Same idea of the game, just a little off story.

Keep in mind that the level design and basic gameplay screams NES/SNES. Move a little bit, fight a swarm of people, move a little bit more, more waves of baddies, now enter bigger dudes with battering rams, move a little bit, more waves of the same characters, cutscene, and boss fight. It is this repetition that killed the game for me. I got bored way too fast for such a visually awesome game. I guess that is why I wasn’t upset when I realized that 4 hours later it was over.

I chalked it up to eating an awesome $14 burger with a beer. The first initial bite is wonderful, but by the last bite you are so full of that burger you just want it to be over.

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Medal of Honor : DICE Multiplayer Beta = not Battlefield : Bad Company 2

I was able to pre-order Medal of Honor through Gamestop the other day. With a pre-order I was given a key code to try the multiplayer beta. The Beta is going on from June 21st-July 18th. I am also a part of the EA Gun Club so I got to get in before June 21st. Sometimes it pays to be part of every side group with a game.

Anyway . . .

DICE is trying some different things with MOH’s multiplayer. Some of it is concerning. They did such a wonderful job with Battlefield : Bad Company 2. I almost want to shake them and tell them to stop changing the wheel!

The first thing that is different is the controls. Now, I know this is a BETA and that nothing is final, but why have different controls for something that the bulk of your players are still on another game (BFBC2) and use to that scheme? If it offered something different, I would say sure. But not in this case.

I did not see any actual team play. Mainly just people running around and shooting. Very COD if you ask me. I like the team work aspect that they did in BFBC2. I hate to keep bringing up Bad Company, but it is a great multiplayer system!

The graphics are sharp. The ragdoll animations are a little stiff. The weapons , though few offered, looked great. There is some learning curve to the use of them. The strength of a light machine gun feels almost the same as a AK. That does not make sense and needs to be fixed. Grenades need more power. I also, want to say this about all FPS – IF YOU GET HIT BY A .50, IT SHOULD BE A ONE HIT DEAL. I am so tired of shooting guys with tank guns/heavy machine guns and them running away.

Bottom line is that DICE really needs to use these next few months to implement ideas from their successful Battlefield Bad Company and make this the game that would make any Call of Duty fan weep. They have a lot of work in front of them.

Also, if you are running a PS3, it crashes and freezes a lot. DICE knows that and are working on it.