Shank: Gorgeous animation, questionable narrative

Gamer Dude: Can I play Shank?
Me: No
Gamer Dude: Awww, why not?
Me: Because it’s a game called “shank,” I don’t think I need to elaborate.

As you can see from the clip above, it’s a beautifully animated game done in a dramatic comic book style. The story of Shank can be told from two different perspectives: single-player campaign and cooperative campaign. The protagonist, Shank, is a mobster hitman whose MO is avenging the death of his girlfriend, Eva.

Players control Shank and can choose from three different kinds of weapons: melee weapons (including a chainsaw — sigh), firearms (of course), and a pair of knives (to shank with, I imagine). The cooperative mode activates Shank’s able sidekick, Falcone. As in many multiplayer campaigns, this game requires players as the characters to collaborate and combine moves to complete “hits” and advance the story.

EA Games, who released Shank in 2010 calls the game “a side-scrolling beat ’em up” game and I say this is an accurate description. Designed by Klei Entertainment, the game is available for play on Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.

Some may call me hypocritical because, as you’ve seen in other reviews, I’ve allowed Gamer Dude to play similar storylines (eg. Assassin’s Creed). Maybe I am, but for me, it’s all about context for the violence. Also, Shank is no Assassin’s Creed. Case in point, the action of Shank seems to center exclusively on executing violent deaths as part of Shank’s revenge plot.

CONCLUSION:

Shank is a straightforward, one-dimensional game with graphic violence at the forefront. While I love the art and animation in Shank, I can see little benefit to having this game in my home, and no value in allowing my kid to play it.

VERDICT: NO DICE 

Ibb and Obb: on for the whole family

Looking for a game that will delight everyone in the house? I think you’ll find it in Ibb and Obb — the winner of Best Title at Develop’s Indie Showcase at the beginning of July. The game developers plan to release this game on PC through Steam, but at present are focusing on their PS3 version, which has been available since August 6 in North and South America. They have plans to release it in Europe too.

Ibb and Obb’s play is a cooperative two-player game requiring both players to work together to advance. Its graphics and the lines are simple and beautiful, though there’s nothing simple about the game’s design. One of the most interesting and elegant aspects of the game is its interplay with a world consisting of two sides — both from which gravity operates in differing directions. The parallel perspectives of the players is a point of interest, a game challenge and one of the most aesthetically pleasing features of the game.

Check out the trailer below:

Response to The Double Parent

In the comments section of yesterday’s Uniting the generations through COD The Double Parent asked:

I started writing a response in the comments, and then I realized that it was becoming a blog post. So here’s my response:

Personally, the shoot’em up style FPS games continue to make me uncomfortable. That said, I’m packing less testosterone than a lot of FPS fans. My intent isn’t to reinforce gender stereotypes re: boys are more aggressive than girls (or snakes, snails & puppy dog tails, which, as a little girl I always thought seemed much better than sugar, spice & all things nice!). But generally speaking, boys find violent and physical  play to be more cathartic — even therapeutic — than girls.

I used to be very strict with the no-violent-video-games rule in my house and you know what? At that time, my son was getting into playground fights at school. I allow some violent games now, and he hasn’t been in a playground fight in over two years.

Admittedly, there are a lot of factors that contributed to the playground fights, as well as to his current success in regulating and managing himself when he sees injustices on the playground — his MO has always been “defender of social justice”; fighting for what’s fair for himself and others. But he tells me that after a crappy and/or frustrating day, he finds respite in his violent video games. It’s a zone of total fantasy where he can take a break from civil society and be pure id for a spot of time.  And I don’t have a difficult time getting him to stop playing when I ask him to stop.

I think it’s also important to emphasize that violent video games represent a fraction of Gamer Boy’s collection of video games. He’s also quite outdoorsy and sporty.

The Verdict

Between us, I’m leaning toward a yes and I’ll elaborate on that in an actual review. I plan on keeping this from Gamer Boy though, otherwise I’ll never hear the end of it!

Games & Content Will Influence Success.

Cautious optimism. Currently inhaling news & info about Playstation 4. One thing I’ll say is the games look spectacular in this video (click!).

Edit: Just read JC Fletcher’s Joystiq report about Playstation 4’s backward compatibility — me likey! 

PlayStation 4 will stream PS1, PS2, PS3 games

 

 

Tech News Condensed

Hey folks,

Here are the highlights from Sony’s PlayStation event tonight. Probably will have more tomorrow in all the post-announcement buzz.

Enjoy!
Joshua

PlayStation 4:
– PC-like architecture. x86 CPU with an “enhanced PC GPU” for graphics
– 8 GB of RAM
– New Dual Shock 4 controller – more rounded with rubberized grip and “enhanced rumble capabilities”
– Controller has a touchpad on top in the middle, a share button, and a headphone jack.
– Controller also has a stereo camera that can track the 3D position of the controller through a light bar used to identify players.
– Users can download or update games in the background and digital titles are playable even as you download.
– Ability to live-stream your gameplay and friends can even help out by taking over the controller.
– Social network will use real photos of people, real names and mobile apps that…

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