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Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action
Developer: Crazy Monkey Studios
Release Date: March 2, 2018


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PC Review - 'Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2'

by Thomas Wilde on April 26, 2018 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 is an over-the-top, comical, fast-paced action game with hand drawn graphics, now with even MORE guns, MORE gore, and MORE Cannoli.

The original Guns, Gore & Cannoli was released roughly three years ago, and it was something of a hidden gem. The bright cartoon style and heavy mobster stereotypes were window dressing for what was a very solid and entertaining run-and-gun game. It even included co-op for up to four players, so fans of Contra, Metal Slug and the like had good reason to give this game a shot. Guns, Gore, and Cannoli 2 follows in its predecessor's footsteps in that it came out with relatively little fanfare. It also happens to be a much better title overall.

The game is set in 1944 at the height of World War II. Back home, we find hired mobster hitman Vinnie tied up to a chair in a basement, kidnapped by a pair of thugs working for someone calling himself The Dark Don. After recalling that Vinnie was the lone survivor of the Thugtown zombie massacre, both of the thugs get whacked by Vinnie, who escapes and travels all the way to Europe to take out The Dark Don and find out why he was targeted in the first place.

As with many games in this genre, the story doesn't matter too much. It acts more as a vehicle for getting Vinnie from one location to another, but the narrative is engaging enough. The characters are also a means to get Vinnie from action point to action point, but it's amusing to see everyone broken down into either the prototypical Nazi characterization or the old mafioso type. Vinnie remains memorable mostly because he can't stop letting quips fly, even in the heat of battle. The one-liners range from being hilarious to groan-worthy, but it fits his character well enough that few will mind.

The gameplay still sticks to the standard run-and-gun mechanic, with a variety of enemies to face off against. Zombies play a less prominent role this time around, but they're just as dangerous because some wield firearms and others are hulking behemoths that take loads of punishment before going down. Mobsters and cops make up a bulk of the enemies you'll fight, and they also vary based on body type and the weapons they carry. Nazis also get in on the action, and there are now vehicles to contend with, ranging from runaway cars to tanks.

To combat all of this, you're given a much wider variety of guns. Machine guns, pistols and shotguns are all back, but they're accompanied by more weapons, including rocket launchers and flamethrowers. Additionally, melee has been expanded greatly, so if you want to save your ammo, you can run around a stage with a baseball bat or chainsaw. Combined with the throwables, the game gives you enough weapons that you now have a weapon wheel to help you choose the right tool in case you don't like constantly hitting buttons to stumble upon the weapon you want.

The big change to the combat mechanics in GGC2 is 360-degree shooting. Using the right analog stick, you can aim in any direction you want, and you can even strafe a little by shooting in one direction and moving in a completely different one. It immediately solves one of the few issues the original had, as it eliminates the possibility of enemies escaping your fire due to your lack of aiming skills.

The first game came in at just the right length for the genre, and the sequel is no different. You can finish the campaign in about three hours or so, and with barely any secrets to uncover, your only reason to go back and play the game again solo is to try out the different difficulty levels. The time is well spent, since the gameplay is solid. The numbers game is initially challenging, as the game loves to throw loads of enemies your way, but the variety of enemies makes you change your strategies quite often. Bosses remain a challenge, but the unlimited lives even things out. Collision detection is tightened up this time around, so there are no instances of errant projectiles or enemies going through when they shouldn't. Overall, there's not much to complain about here.

Co-op play is back once more, with a much wider variety of characters to choose from. That's really for aesthetics, as Vinnie is still the only one with dialogue during gunfights and cut scenes. The co-op experience still supports four players locally, but there are some major changes this time around. For starters, the camera is pulled back more to give you a better view of the world at the expense of making everyone smaller. You can sometimes get lost trying to find your character, but it feels less claustrophobic. More importantly, the game does pick-ups in a friendlier way, as having one person grab something means that everyone gets it. For example, if a cannoli is picked up, then everyone in the party gets that health boost. The same goes for new weapons and ammo, so there are no instances of one person picking up everything even if they don't need it, blocking others from getting those benefits. Online play is now available, but with no one available to check it out with, it's tough to judge the quality of the online performance.

Compared to its predecessor, there's hardly a difference in the presentation. The same cel-shaded graphics are here, with loads of good effects and a stable frame rate even when there are tons of enemies on-screen. The different environments prevent the game from feeling monotonous, as the color scheme is constantly changing and the flying limbs and blood feel satisfying if you're using a high-powered weapon. The soundtrack still consists of a mix of period-specific music and a few movie-style adventure themes, and the effects are done about as well as the voicework is. What's amusing is that everyone has the same animation routine when speaking in cut scenes, so they mostly use the same hand gestures when talking.

Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2 is excellent. The classic side-scrolling shooting benefits greatly from the 360-degree aiming, giving you few to no limits in dealing carnage. The presentation is still solid, and the improved co-op mechanics make this a perfect game to play with friends. Shooting fans will have a blast with this one.

Score: 8.5/10

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