Anything other than the basic combat with regular cannon fodder foes is poorly implemented and mostly unnecessary to begin with – not everything from the past is good. Just look at slavery and Victorian medicine, for instance.
That's not to say Shank is bad, just that it has an uncanny knack of outstaying its welcome. And considering you can polish it off in just shy of three hours, that's saying something. Mindless entertainment is all well and good but, at its worst, Shank's gameplay is as ugly as the underworld of thugs, drunks and violence that make up the game's universe.