There’s nothing more gamers love than battling zombies, even if the famous monster has become a tired trend in every media. Even in gaming, zombies feel overly used as an enemy type but often enough, there are games which make them so damn fun to fight. The original Guns, Gore and Cannoli was a surprise hit, with a high level of artistic detail, highly intense action and balls to the walls fun that could be shared with three other friends. Logan’s review back in 2015 highly praised the title and I also found the game to be a massive amount of fun. Now its sequel has been released and I am eager to see what Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 has to offer.
Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 follows the same design of the original game, a quirky and action-packed 2D side-scroller that injects heavy doses of guns, gore, and of course cannoli, plus zombies and Nazis. The story takes place 16 years after the events of the first game, with our gangster anti-hero Vinnie Cannoli doing what he does best, killing folk and spewing one-liners. His simple tastes land him in trouble and he draws the attention of a masked figure known as the Dark Don, who wants him for a sinister plan. Vinnie decides to track down the Dark Don which leads him through crime-ridden Chicago, revisiting the zombie-infested Thug Town and even to Europe during The Second World War.
The story is very simple, nothing too complex to follow but injects some interesting ideas, such as taking Vinnie to Europe during World War Two and even allows him to battle through events such as the D-Day Landing. What is a major setback for the story (and most of the game) is the lack of any other new ideas, interesting twists or any surprises. The plot follows through as a first draft and plays out like any hum-drum side-scroller. Even the main villain is *spoiler alert* the same guy from the first game! He just happens to survive a 100ft drop into poison gas and never explains how he survived or shows any deformities or mutations as a result. He’s just the same, annoying, wisecracking douche. Even Vinnie is a bore, he spews the same lines as before and while he has an excellent moment killing off a couple of the antagonizing leads, he’s just very bland.
Now I know all this doesn’t matter if the gameplay is fun and exciting. Guns, Gore and Cannoli was refreshing, fun and very energetic. The Sequel is pretty much the same, having all the same elements that made the first game so much fun. The controls are easy to grasp, the action is highly immense and the artistic detail is fantastic. What really makes Guns, gore and Cannoli 2 such an enthralling game is the high level of polish in the destruction, environments and the relentless number of enemies with the long line-up of brutal weaponry. Single or multiplayer grants an excellent display of carnage with plenty of NPCs to mow down, in tightly design levels that offer a variety of hazards, simple lateral elements, and challenges. This is all great stuff and overall, Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 is just as much fun as the original.
But there is a massive problem.
There’s nothing new to the formula and it all feels way too similar to the original game. It’s a shame the developers couldn’t add any new dynamics or simple evolve the ones they had already. While this is a fun sequel it’s one that borrows and repeats many of the same beats. There’s the same main villain as before, same enemies as before with a couple of new additions that really aren’t inventive, and the line-up of weaponry is just boring. You have your standard mix of Tommy guns, shotguns, and RPGs with no new additions to spice things up. While it’s not a major setback as the flamethrower, heavy machinegun, and the overly powered Lugar are fun to use; the other weapons aren’t so much and feel like pea-shooters in comparison. Also, the developers could’ve gone one step further and added new weapons that aren’t generic. Would it have killed them to design a Lighting Gun or just add something like the M1 Grand?
This issue with the weapons links up to the main problem with this sequel. Everything feels too safe and just a repeat of before. The only new enemies are giant rats and giant cyborg zombies which fire homing rockets (serious balancing issue here) and that’s it. The lack of new enemies is disappointing, especially when the bosses are so bland, including a dude inside a turret thingy, a tank, and a spaceship which is super easy to defeat. The sequel feels oddly reminiscing of the first game but without the exciting originality. Even the soundtrack is rehashed from the first game!
This was a chance for the developers to go further and really push the limits, introducing crazy new enemies, add new gameplay dynamics, or at least give us more interesting set pieces than fighting off enemies in a hoard mode segment while waiting for a dynamite charge to go off and reveal an exit to the level. This type of set piece is used a little too often for its own good. While there’s a lack of new ideas for Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2, it is still massively enjoyable. Despite the lack of new weapons, new enemy types, interesting story and the short length; it’s still a solid game. The level design is good, the action is amazing and the art style is so beautifully crafted that it’s difficult not to get sucked in and enjoy the madness on display. Yet I feel this will be shorted lived, considering there’s no extra content or unlockable stuff once completed. Lame.
Still, this is a sequel worth checking out if you liked the first game, but I hope Guns, Gore and Cannoli 3 adds much more next time and at least gives Vinnie more dialogue than “Hmm that’s some good Cannoli”. Seriously, what’s wrong with Tiramisu?
A PC Review Copy of Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 was provided by Crazy Monkey Studios for the Purpose of this Review.