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Mindless Review: Shank

August 30, 2010 1 comment

If my time playing Shank has taught me anything it’s you don’t mess with a guy who’s named after a prison knife.  Shank is a downloadable title for PSN and XBLA that has you playing as the titular character on his quest for revenge, after your former boss betrays you and leaves you for dead.

The gameplay in Shank plays a lot like a 2D version of Devil May Cry, mixed with a few platforming sections in between.  You move Shank with the control stick, which is an odd choice for a 2D game.  It feels a bit odd at first but once you get used to it, it’s fine.

You have your standard set of light and heavy attacks as well as the ability to fire guns at any time.  The combat is very fun and fluid, it’s great to take out a bunch of enemies with a chainsaw, launch one up in the air and keep them afloat with a barrage of bullets.

The bosses can be pretty entertaining from the usual fights you find yourself in, but really all beating them comes down to is dodging them until the right opportunity arrives for you to deal major damage.

At the beginning of the game you start of with some knives, a chainsaw and duel pistols but you get more weapons as you progress through the game.  Each weapon actually has a different feel to them so you’ll benefit form using different weapons for different situations.

The look for Shank is very stylized, it looks like your playing a very violent HD Saturday morning cartoon in the vein of Samurai Jack.  The characters are all clean and crisp with a lot of detail, and the animations are very fluid.

The sound for Shank takes on a bit of a Mexican-Western feel to it and goes well with the game setting style and tone.  But the voice acting isn’t as good, as a lot of the time I found myself rolling my eyes at the delivery of some of the dialogue.

The story of Shank isn’t really all that good or creative either.  It’s your typical revenge story with no real twists, but the gameplay is solid enough that you’ll want to see it through till the end.  The main story for Shank is also very short, clocking in only at about 3 or 4 hours.

I personally don’t have a problem with the game’s length because it’s an enjoyable experience. But I know the length of a game can be a factor for some people.

Also included in Shank is a separate co-op story mode that serves as a prequel to the game’s main story. It’s local co-op only thought so if you want to play this you’ll have to get a friend to play it with.

While gameplay is more the same as the single player mode, you’ll really need to work together to take down the bosses.  It’s a very satisfying feeling when you work together with a friend to take down a boss twice your size.

It’s weird that they didn’t make an option to play the full campaign with co-op though since a lot of the levels in co-op look like the levels found in the main campaign.

There are a few problems with Shank however the biggest one is how you go about picking up health.  All you do is push the light attack button and Shank picks up nearby health.  This is fine when there aren’t any enemies around but in the heat of battle I found my self picking up health when I didn’t want to.  This can prove frustrating when your fighting a wave of enemies, than you accidently pick up health leaving you with no way of recovering when you really need it.

Also the load times at the start of the game and in between levels can be pretty long at times, which really hurts the pacing and flow of gameplay.

None of these complaints are really game breakers, they’re just some things that should have been tweaked or changed to make the game better.  Considering the game was made by a very small team it’s easy to overlook a few small problems.

Overall Shank is a really fun experience although a short one.  And though it does have some problems none of them really bring the game down at all.  So if your looking for a good action game in the vain of Devil May Cry, but with a 2D twist give Shank a shot.

Shank: 8/10

Categories: PSN, Review, Shank, Video Games

Secret of the T-shirts reveled.

August 29, 2010 Leave a comment

I like to think of myself as a bit of a t-shirt connoisseur. Many a time when I’m among my friends or if I’m at a party I’ll get comments on my t-shirts and asked where I get them, to which I usually reply “the Internets”.

Since I’m a nice guy I’ve decided to reveal the mystery locations of the places where I get my shirts.  The following list I will provid are all places I’ve either gotten shirts from or where I’ve seen some shirts that are on my “to buy list”.

Stylin Online:  This is the place where I’ve gotten the majority of my t-shirts from over the years.  Pretty much if your a nerd or your into pop culture your bound to find at least one shirt that will appeal to you. From video games, movies tv shows and more, Stylin Online has a lot to choose from.

Snorg Tees: Snorg Tees is a place to go if your looking for something a bit more comical.  Featuring shirts with original designs based mostly based on some sort of play on word, or everyday saying but adding a comedic twist to them.

Split Reason: Split Reason is kind of a combination of the first two sites.  It’s largely video game related shirts, but every shirt is an original design that have a more comical tone to them.

Low Rez: This site features shirts based on more retro games form the Atari days.  The stand outs are the minimalist takes on games such as Dig Dug and Donkey Kong.

Categories: Movies, T-shirts, Tv, Video Games

What Am I Playing This Week? Vol 5

August 25, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s another week so that mean it’s another installment of WAIPTW?

I’m still playing through Mother 3, and I’m very close to the end.  I’m considering if I should do a review on it, but not sure if I will.  For one it came out in 2006, but on the other hand it’s a game that hasn’t been released in North America. I have some other games to review coming up, so if I have a slow week I may end up doing one.

For this week the new game on the block is Shank.  Shank is a downloadable title for PSN and XBLA.  It’s a side scrolling beat em’ up that plays a lot like a 2D version of Devil May Cry, with a bit of Prince of Persia platforming thrown in.  I’ve only played a little bit of it, but so far I’m really liking it.

I’ve gotta say August has been a really good month for beat em’ ups.  Scott Pilgrim game out a few weeks ago, Shank this week and than PS3 finally gets Castle Crashers next week.

And speaking of Scott Pilgrim I saw the movie last week.  I plan on doing a review for it but I’ve been having a lot of trouble just sitting down and getting it started.  But if I could describe it in one word it would be disappointing.  I hope I can muster up some sort of work ethic and have a multi worded review up sometime this week.

That is all.

Categories: Video Games, WAIPTW?

Gamescom 2010 News

August 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Well Gamescom happened this week and if you haven’t been paying attention to any of it, you missed out on a bunch of big news, for the PS3 anyways.

First and probably the biggest news of Gamescom.  Mass Effect 2 is coming to PS3.  This is one of the few games I really wanted to play on 360, so it coming to PS3 is a big deal for me.  Mass Effect 2 is set to come out sometime next January,

Resistance 3 was finally announced and along with it a cool live action teaser trailer. From what I can tell from the trailer there’s a definite Left 4 Dead vibe coming off it.  Could this be a new direction for the franchise?  Also note that there’s a character in the trailer with a strong resemblance to Capelli (the dude with the scar on his cheek) from Resistance 2. Could this mean that Capelli is the new protagonist for Resistance 3?  Seeing how Resistance 2 ended, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise.

The world finally got its first look at New Old Cole from inFamous 2.  His new old redesign is a huge improvement over the “douche” Cole, that was first shown.  There’s also a new, really cool trailer for it set to ‘The House of the Rising Sun.’

Portal 2 got a release date, unfortunately it’s a bit later than original expected.  You can once again rome the halls of Aperture Science on February 9, 2011.

There was also a new Ratchet game announced.  Ratchet and Clank All 4 One, sees Ratchet and Clank joined by Captain Qwark and Dr. Nefarious in 4 player co-op adventure.

And last of all, Castle Crashers for PS3 finally got a release date.  You can play the highly anticipated  beat em’ up August 31 of this year.

Thats all the news that caught my attention this week, there’s a lot of good coming to the house of Playstation in next year or so.

What Am I Playing This Week? Vol 4

August 18, 2010 Leave a comment

For this week, I’m still playing a lot of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game.  So far I’ve beaten it with both Scott and Stephen Stills, and am currently playing through with Kim on the hardest difficulty.  I’m still having a good time with it but Scotty P isn’t the big item of the week.

After years of waiting for Nintendo to bring Mother 3 (or Earthound 2) stateside, I’ve realized that since the game came out in 2006 in Japan, and Nintendo has made no real remark about bringing the game over here, I’ve decided to find a way to play it.

I could have imported the game but since I don’t know any Japanese that would have defeated the purpose.  So the other option available was play this game on an emulator, but that didn’t fix the language problem.

But the Internet can be a marvelous thing, as someone out there took it upon themselves to translate Mother 3 into english so everyone would be able to enjoy the game.

Now normally I don’t condone piracy but Nintendo left me with no other option. If the day comes and Nintendo does decide to release this in North America I’ll buy it for sure.  But untill then this is my only option.

So I got the English translation of Mother 3 and have been enjoying it for the past few days now.  The look and feel of Earthbound remains with a few added changes to the gameplay.  And so far the translation is very well done.  All the wit and quirkiness that made Earthbound great remains intact.

For the most part combat looks the same as in Earthbound, you have a static image of an enemy with some psychedelic images going on in the background.  The biggest change to the fighting is the combo system.  If you listen to the music that plays and get the beat down you can extend you attack by following the rhythm.  It essential combines a rhythm game within the combat and it’s a bit tricky to get a hang of at first, but once you get it down it’s very rewarding.

Thats all I got for this week, so happy gaming.

Mindless Review: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game

August 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game is a downloadable title thats a love letter not only to fans of the comics, but to fans of old school beat em’ ups such as River City Ransom and Final Fight.

Based on the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World roughly follows the plot of the books.  All you get in terms of story is that Scott Pilgrim is in love with Ramona Flowers and you must defeat her seven ‘evil exes’ in order to be with her.

Thats really the only piece of exposition your given in the game, but with beat em’ ups, story isn’t really that important it’s the gameplay.  You don’t need any knowledge of the graphic novels, or the movie to follow along, but having some definitely does add some bonus enjoyment to the experience.

You have the choice of choosing between four characters to play as: Scott PilgrimRamona FlowersKim Pine and Stephen Stills.  Each character plays the same for the most part.  Each has light and strong attacks that you can string together for combos.  Each character has their own unique special attack, and the ability to call in a ‘Striker‘, or an assistant character that comes in to lend a hand.

As you fight you’ll level up and learn new moves to beef up your character.  Taking a big influence from River City Ransom you’ll also go to shops to buy food and items that will increase your base stats.

You’ll fight your way across seven stages, with the option of going solo, or fighting with three friends through local co-op.  The levels are actually quite lengthy, and they sport a lot of variation.  You’ll go from snowy Toronto streets, to fighting on top of busses, across movie sets and more.

The game isn’t to long, roughly only five hours or so.  If your a fan of the series you’ll want to play through as each character since they each have their own endings.  The fact that I’ve beaten it twice and going through it a third time is testement to not only it’s replay value, but also to how fun the game is.

The game sports a great retro 16-bit style look, that perfectly captures the look of the graphic novels in moving pixel form.  The sprites look great sporting a lot of detail, colour and personality.  Each of the main characters has their own uniques attack animations, alternate colour schemes and end stage sequence that references other classic games.  There are tons of visual nods to other classic games littered within Scott Pilgrim.  The map screen for example is a through back to the map screens of Mario Bros 3.

The best part of this game is easily the music.  Chip tune band Anamanaguhi provides the music for the game and they did an excellent job with it.  This is easily one of the best soundtracks for a game I can think of.  Sure you have all the classics like Mario and Zelda, but Scott Pilgrim is the first game I’ve played where I wanted to play just so I could listen to the music.

The biggest downside to Scott Pilgrim is that there is no online co-op.  While this doesn’t ruin the experience since you can still call three friends over and play co-op locally, it just seems like a huge misstep in this day in age not to have online co-op.

Aside from having no online co-op, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World: The Game is a great old school beat em’ up, that even people who aren’t fans of Scott Pilgrim can enjoy.  Boasting a great 16-bit look, a sold combat system and one of the greatest game soundtracks I’ve heard in recent memory, for only $10 you’d be a fool not to pick this one up.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game: 9/10

What Am I Playing This Week? Vol 3

August 11, 2010 Leave a comment

For this week I’ve still been playing a good amount of Super Street Fighter 4.  I’ve finally been able to finish Arcade mode with every fighter, so put that on my list of accomplishments that don’t really mean anything.

But I’ve but SSF4 aside for now as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game is out now, and exclusive to the PSN for about week or 2.  So 360 owners are going to have to wait a bit longer.

This game is everything I hoped it would be, it’s got a great retro look to it and there’s a big River City Ransom feel to it.

And the music!!! Oh my GOD!!! The music is fantastic!!!

Anamanaguchi really out did themselves for this.  I’ve never once before wanted to play a game just so I could hear the music.  I really hope they put a soundtrack for this game out cause I’d buy it in a second.

Thats all I got for this week, so happy gaming.

Categories: Video Games, WAIPTW?
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