An Offer You Can’t Refuse
Meet Vinnie Cannoli, mobster, hitman, overall jester and your best buddy for the next couple of hours of your life. This guy has got a problem. The fun he has in killing rival families and zombies alike requires some serious counseling, yet, it is as infectious as it can get! Follow Vinnie’s adventures as he traverses Thugtown, that’s got a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Experience this fictional town set back in the 1920’s, with a swarm of zombies and archenemies through a well-crafted storyline and a good dose of punchlines.
I love myself a solid platformer, having been nursed by the NES with some of the most renowned platformers in video game history, and I am always on the lookout for the next best thing in the genre. Hands down, this game is a masterpiece! I don’t say this lightly either, the way in which this game has been carefully crafted, from top to bottom is nothing short of brilliant and puts at display both the creative skills as well as the studious minds of the people behind this game. I rate Rayman Legends the Definitive Edition for the Nintendo Switch among some of the very best action platformers I have ever played, and Guns, Gore and Cannoli comes that close.
“Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold!”
Between the start and end, depending on your difficulty setting, it Is next to impossible to put this game down, one of the advantages of having a relatively short play-through of around 3-6 hours. On the flipside though, once finished, there are an immediate thirst and hunger for more. This game should have contained some more levels and extended the gameplay as such. But the levels which are there are absolutely wonderful. The checkpoint system works really well, as does the fact that it has loads of pickups, from throwing weapons to ammunition, and of course, cannoli, loads of it, to nurse yourself back to full health. I do feel a disconnect between the actual levels and the boss stages though, where the levels are a joy to play through, while the boss battles can really get under your skin as the difficulty ramps up tremendously.
As for straight-up platforming, it does a good job, nothing that has not been done yet, with some basic running and jumping, climbing, ducking, and – winking to Rayman – some floating too. I am, however, not too pleased with the jumping system. It is in my opinion too floaty, and that combined with the overall slow-moving bullets in the scenes made for situations where Vinnie got hit in mid-air, where a collision should have been avoided. It certainly wouldn’t have hurt putting in a crouch function either.
“Get Outta He’!”
The battle and weapon system work like a charm, mostly. I say mostly because the actual fighting system is very well flushed-out with 9 different kinds of weapons and hot-swaps between them. The reloading too is very well done, with some marvelous animations. Each individual weapon behaves in a way you expect them to behave – save for perhaps the missing kickback, which would be the cherry on top really. The gripe I have with the combat system is the animation used for kicking off your pursuers, which take more time than it should. When shoving someone off, and trying to quickly turn to face the other way, you will have to wait until the animation has completely played through, which takes about a full second. Though it may sound like a small issue, it can be the difference between life and death.
In terms of button layout and responsiveness, there is nothing to remark playing in single player mode as the button mapping feels very natural. In contrast, sharing a pair of Joy Cons for some coop or versus goodness, which is an absolute blast, pun intended, is overshadowed by perhaps the worst possible use of split Joy Cons I have ever seen, by utilizing the original shoulder buttons L/R & ZL/ZR for throwing grenades and Molotov cocktails respectively. Not only is it unnatural to press those buttons while holding them as advertised, but it renders the use of any Joy Con grip for said split sessions useless, something that, as a Switch port, should have been avoided, by perhaps opting for a single-way weapon cycling, freeing up a button for throwing your long-range weapons, while using the joystick button to alternate between the two.
“Get a Load of This!”
Speaking of multiplayer modes, the coop in story mode adds that much to the original single-player campaign and the versus mode is something the developer could easily have done without, but putting in this little mode can be a game changer for many potential buyers out there. It reminds me of one of my most cherished childhood games, Donkey Kong 64, which had a great single player campaign (nostalgia speaking), but also contained a fun multiplayer mode, which became the mode to play long after the solo mission had been completed. I see something similar happen to Guns, Gore and Cannoli as the versus mode is decently flushed out and runs smoothly. I did have some problem finding my player at times when I respawned though.
Of course, one of the first things which drew me to this game is its amazing art style. From A to Z, this game looks marvelous. The way in which the various levels are rendered, from character animations to death cycles, from interactive level elements to light & shadow settings, all the way through the pregnant cutscenes, this game deserves all the credit it can get. For good measure, the developer threw in some of the most to the point music I have recently come across. At times astoundingly contrasting, at others remarkably fitting, the music throughout this game is like music to my ears. Wait, what? The additional sound effects and voice acting too, are to the point and help establish this game as a masterpiece.
It comes as no surprise then, that I recommend this game and rate it among some of my most beloved action platformers I have played on the system. A must buy, a blast to play, and a future, perhaps not so hidden, gem on the Nintendo e-shop, “an offer you can’t refuse”.
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