The first game, Guns, Gore & Cannoli, received a relatively warm reception across its release platforms. Its sequel, Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2, follows closely in its predecessor’s footsteps, but is it the superior title? Well, if you enjoyed the first game, there’s every reason that you’re going to enjoy this. That said, this is still very much the daft fest that it always has been, and although that’s bound to please fans of the series, the sequel doesn’t do quite enough to stand out as both unique and compelling. Fun indeed, but hardly revolutionary.
Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2’s campaign takes place after the first game and sees the story of Vinnie Cannoli taking a somewhat personal turn. Players new to the series can indeed slot into the campaign without needing to know much about the first outing, thanks largely to some sliding screens that fill in the gaps and story beats. That being said, you can play the entirety of Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2 without taking much notice of the plot, because if anything, really, it’s the gameplay that shines through as the most engaging aspect within.
Nevertheless, the game is based fifteen years post-Thugtown Massacre and it’s clear that some loose ends need tying up. Once the premise is out of the way, you’re instantly thrown into the thick of it and from here, you’ll be battling for survival against all manners of enemies. There’s gangsters, cops, German troops, zombies, mutated rats and even some obscure looking creatures standing between you and your goal to exact revenge. It’s a silly, forgettable plot at best, but one that sits nicely inline with the theme and mood of the trek.
In regards to the game’s length, I was able to mow through the entire campaign in little under three hours. Though, there’s some replay value to be had thanks to the game’s altering difficulties, as well as its co-op and online functionality. I played on the game’s easiest difficulty and still found quite a bit of challenge throughout. When switching it up to the higher difficulty, I have to admit, I felt way out of my depth. That’s not a negativity, on the contrary, I have the commend Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2 for its difficulty variation here.
Whether you’re dipping your toes in for the first time or are somewhat of a veteran, Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2 has you covered. The game is a 2D side-scrolling platform shooter. Taking on the role of the aforementioned Vinnie, you’ll start each level on the left and will need to make it to the far right, blasting anything that stands between you and that exit point. The controls are fluid, precise and easy to adapt to, lending the game a good degree of accessibility as a result. Even I managed to slot right in with little to no trouble whatsoever.
Whether you’re running, jumping, gunning or a mixture of all three, the game responds as it should. The crux of play typically consists of blasting countless variants of foes, occasionally interacting with the environment, and then moving onto the next level. There’s a small handful of boss fights to contend with, but I felt that these encounters lacked imagination and depth – more on that shortly. The game does a good job at feeding you into the experience at hand as well as serving up plenty of weaponry at a fair pace to keep it fresh.
Vinnie’s arsenal grows quite rapidly, ranging from a baseball bat, a chainsaw and dual pistols, right up to the tommy gun, the grenade launcher, a rocket launcher, and more. Outside of this, players can also utilize environmental objects and structures to bring even more carnage into the fields of play. See a German troop in a watchtower? Shoot the overlaying bell to crush his ass in an instant. See a hanging vent over a mob of zombies? Blast it down to create a bloody puddle. There’s plenty of things to get creative with.
I suspect this becomes much more fun when playing alongside up to three other gamers, but due to playing the game prior to release, I was unable to test out online functionality. I can say, however, that there’s a total of four characters to play as, each of which sporting their own design and presentation. Touching up on variety, I have to commend the game for its diverse levels and environments. Vinnie and crew are taken through a range of differing locations throughout the campaign, all of which are well detailed and well executed.
Specifically, I enjoyed seeing the level design for each new location. Whether I was situated in Thugtown, storming bunkers or kicking ass in the trenches, the game never failed to impress me on the visual front. Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2 remains stunning throughout, which can also be said about the game’s fun animated cutscenes and solid audio design. The voice acting can be a little bit hit and miss, but again, as alluded to above, the story or those that uphold it, don’t really collectively shine as brightly as Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2’s gameplay.
When all is said and done, Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2 is a passable sequel. It would have been nice to see more innovation and depth, but I’ll reiterate, this is more of the same rather than an evolution of the first journey – make of that what you will. If you enjoyed ploughing through hordes of enemies, leaving nothing but blood and guts in your path, you’re going to get on with this game just fine. If, however, you were expecting more than some additional refinements upon the first outing, you might be left somewhat disappointed as a result.
Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2 is a decent 2D platforming shooter when it wants to be. The game’s main issues sit with its short length, its dull boss encounters and its somewhat lack of evolution when comparing it to its predecessor. Still, its gorgeously detailed and diverse level variation, together with the sheer amount of carnage that players can unleash, collectively delivers a fairly fun experience nonetheless.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.