Where does the line get drawn between something being an endearing parody of real life or an obnoxious stereotype dunked on for laughs? Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 rides that line harder than any game I have ever played, and I think manages to stay on the positive side through some great gameplay and sheer force of will. Barely though. Just barely.
Vinnie Cannoli, our protagonist, is your stereotypical mafioso goomba; loud-mouthed, brash, and good with a baseball bat. During the events of the first Guns, Gore and Cannoli, we also find out that he has a preternatural knack for survival, as well as the antibodies necessary to fight off a zombie infection. Yeah, that game went places. GGaC2 opens with Vinnie kidnapped and thrown in a basement, being taunted by some other goombas that work for “The Dark Don.”
Of course, the goons don’t know how to tie a knot, per Vinnie, and he quickly breaks free and proceeds to clean house through the use of said baseball bat, a conveniently placed chain saw, and whatever guns Mr. Cannoli can get his hands on. Vinnie gets around his 2.5d world by running, rolling and double jumping, which helps with not only traversal, but also dodging the myriad of bodies, bullets, and bosses that come his way.
Combat feels good, and with a wide selection of guns that all feel different and varied, even between machine guns that work the same way. Based on my habits, which default to plain dumping with machine guns, and the ammo present to resupply, I was forced to play with different guns, which led to approaching various situations differently. Outside of the standard run and gun combat style, the game also presents arena encounters, where Vinnie is placed in a cordoned off area and thrown waves of enemies at. These encounters are harrowing and thankfully, not overused.
While the game clocks in at around three hours, there’s a ton of variety to the levels you play through. Set in the early ‘40s, Vinnie travels through a New York-esque area, a zombie-filled slum called Thugtown, and even travels by map to war-torn Europe to fight some Nazis, because everybody, even Goombas, know that Nazis need to get put down.
While GGaC2 does a fantastic job with its environment, the few times it breaks into story cinematics is where it looses me completely. I get that Vinnie is your working-joe-mafia-meathead, but EVERYONE is some form of this same character. They all use the same hand gestures, share the same vocal qualities, and never go beyond this caricature of the italian criminal underworld. Except for one joke that happens as a credit closing stinger, the whole thing falls flat and made me seriously consider just skipping the little story bits. As a plus, that is an option.
Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 also features an online multiplayer mode, and while some may choose to only play this way, which is totally an option, I found it difficult to keep track of my character, leading to less enjoyment. To be fair, that kind of multiplayer has never been my kind of thing, so I implore you to check it out to see if that adds any value. Also, the game allows for skipping between chapters, if you would like to go for a achievement hunt or just replay a portion of the story.
While the actual story felt like it was trying to drive me away from the action, Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 kept me in by being a really stellar side-scroller. The shooting felt great, the environments were well-designed and chock full of enemies to beat, and the arenas were challenging without being cheap. Certainly not as sweet as its namesake overall, but you’d be crazy to turn down this cannoli without giving it a chance.
Reviewer and Editor for Darkstation by day, probably not the best superhero by night. I mean, look at that costume. EEK!