STAFF REVIEW of Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 (Xbox One)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018.
by Chad Goodmurphy

Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 Box art More than three years ago, a neat little indie game with a unique take on zombies, apocalypses and the mafia was released. The game was Guns, Gore & Cannoli, a joint effort from Crazy Monkey Studios and Claeysbrothers. It was an old-fashioned affair that took us back to the heyday of organized crime, with an added twist.

At that time, I was working for a different website and got tasked with reviewing Guns, Gore & Cannoli. Hell, I’m pretty sure that I asked for it myself. The reason being was that it looked not only fun, but it was also looked unique and interesting. My want to review it ended up being a good decision, because the original game was a lot of fun and truly something original. For those reasons, it’s stuck in my mind ever since.

Although it’s my job to follow the gaming industry with a close eye, I somehow failed to learn about the sequel (Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2) until just recently. In fact, I stumbled upon it while looking at free wallpapers on the PlayStation Store. The surprise was a nice one, though, and led me to become excited for another dose of Mafioso and the undead.

Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2 picks up just over fifteen years after the events of its predecessor, meaning that it takes place in the mid-1940s. The year is 1944 in fact, and after surviving the Thugtown zombie massacre, our friend Vinnie gets caught up in more of the same. Someone, you see, has been working behind the scenes, preparing another attack via shambling, flesh-eating corpses, and only Vinnie can stop them. Well, he and a cast of palette swapped characters of both the male and female genders.

This approximately three hour long experience features a colourful tale that is chock full of guns, gore, zombies and humour. Our hero, and up to three online-based friends, will traverse through familiar haunts on American soil, then the game sends them overseas to where the Allies are fighting the Germans during World War II. Needless to say, it’s a unique affair, especially given that zombies play an integral role alongside enemy mafia members and shoot-first-ask-later Nazi soldiers.

The gameplay feels more vertical than ever before, and it achieves this through a nice assortment of varied stages. Not all of the locations are unique, but that’s because each area (the United States, France, etc.) gets its own set of levels as Vinnie powers through his unexpected journey. They all have something in common though, and that’s platforms. You’ll be jumping a lot, be it from ground level to higher platforms, or down into underground tunnels and things of that sort. Vinnie, or whichever other character you choose to play as, can double jump too.

Enemies are plentiful, and they’ll come from all levels and angles. As such, it’s important to always have an one eye in front and one eye in back of your character. In fact, as you make your way through Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2’s short but fun campaign, you’ll kill at least a thousand enemies, if not more. You’ll start off with members of an opposing mafia group, then find yourself dealing with police who’ve come to raid the members of organized crime before things get zombified. It’s later on when the Nazis start to factor in, as they appear about halfway into the game. Hell, there are even mutant rats of different sizes to contend with, in addition to hulking zombies with rocket launchers and more traditional heavy weaponry (like anti-air guns). Oh, there are traps too.

Weapons are plentiful, but ammo isn’t unlimited. As such, players will have to cycle through different death dealers using the provided weapon wheel, which doesn’t always work as intended and can be difficult to use under duress. Available weaponry includes a pistol, dual pistols, a magnum revolver, multiple types of submachine and Tommy guns, a rocket launcher, a grenade launcher, a shotgun and a flamethrower. Needless to say, there’s a lot to kill with.

Aiming is handled with the right joystick in a twin-stick shooter type of design. What’s nice too is that there’s a white sightline that shows you where your bullets will be headed. This control mechanic ties into a scheme that takes some time to get used to, because it has jumping linked to LT. As someone who’s used to pressing A to jump, it was weird at first. Truth be told, even after I got used to it, I’d still sometimes forget.

Once again, stages are broken up into sections, with each one having its own checkpoint. It’s at these checkpoints where you’ll always find a heart, which is the icon that represents both healing and cannoli, which happens to be what is used (or eaten) to regain health. There’s an achievement for eating a certain amount of them, but you’ll eat far more, especially on the more challenging difficulties. Start with normal, though, because it’s a decent challenge in and of itself. If it proves too difficult, it’s also easy to switch difficulties at any time.

Earlier in this review, I mentioned traps. Those come in the form of fire and spotlights that, when triggered, usher forth very damaging gunfire. It’s important to be careful around both. One can also look forward to some very, very light puzzling in order to get around some of them. It’s also important to make note of where cover is, because it can save your life, especially against Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2’s three colourful bosses.

At times, this game can be a bit cheap. It’s also somewhat repetitive, meaning that playing in small chunks may be the ideal choice. It’s quite fun, and offers some pretty intense co-op for those who wish to take part. Just to note, I went through the game solo.

When it comes to presentation, there’s a lot to like. Much like the original game, Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 features hand drawn characters, enemies, weapons and environments, and they all look great, thanks to both talent and a good amount of detail. The colour palette also befits the age in which the story takes place, as do the environments those hues cover. It’s very much the same on the sound front, too, with lots of wise guy talk and quirky writing befitting those types of caricatured characters. You can even look forward to some comical one-liners, as well as what I believe is a tongue-in-cheek take on the “Make America Great Again” slogan. This is a fully voice acted game, and a pretty good one at that.

Simply put, Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2 is a good sequel that is worthy of your time, especially if you played and enjoyed the first game. It’s more of the colourful, bullet-heavy fun that its predecessor offered, and stands out amongst the heap of available indies on modern day consoles. It is repetitive, however, and doesn’t take too long to 100%. Even then, there’s reason to go back through with friends.

Overall: 7.6 / 10
Gameplay: 7.7 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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