Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days Review

23 08 2010

Introduction

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is a gory and violent sequel to the 3rd person shooter Kane & Lynch. Like its predecessor Kane & Lynch 2 is developed by Square Enix owned Danish developer IO Interactive who is also known for their popular Hitman series. In Kane & Lynch 2 which was released on August 17th 2010 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC you control Lynch a psychopathic war criminal who along with Kane have the entire Shanghai underworld looking to kill them after a simple deal goes wrong. Your only bet is to escape China but not before you stop for a few revenge visits along the way.

Most gamers will agree that Kane & Lynch had many fundamental problems that plagued the title, can Kane & Lynch 2 diagnose and solve those problems or is the series still in critical condition? Continue reading to find out.

Single Player

It’s apparent from the moment you start the game the goal of Kane & Lynch 2 is to showcase its raw visual style instead of providing a magnitude of content. The entire game from the loading screens to the cut scenes and even the gameplay look and function as if it were shot from a hand held camera and you were watching online. Its intent is to provide an added layer of intensity and realism and fundamentally it works but is inconsistent. At times the graphics look superb yet other times it appears as if all of the visual effects like lens flare, frame rate dips, shaky cam and wild camera angles are present only to hide the real unfinished product.

This visual theme adds grit to an already violent, explicit and gory visual. While this didn’t necessary bother me I did find the language and content to be excessive since it was thrown in my face however that is reminisce of the Hitman series. I also would have bought into the effect a lot more if there were a reason story related or not to explain the visual style.

Now speaking of content and depth of content Kane & Lynch 2 severely lacks in multiple areas as well. For instance game length, I don’t want to debate the price versus game length argument here but I think most can agree that 4 hours for a full retail game is not enough despite the inclusion of multiplayer. Not to mention the lack of depth doesn’t stop there the story also lacks any considerable immersion or encouragement to progress. Take Kane & Lynch as an example, the two main characters of the game had little to no interaction despite their history.

Even though the story was only 4 hours long I constantly repeated the same monotonous tasks to the point where it felt the game carried on way too long only to abruptly end. Not to mention the bland environments that existed to simply funnel the player to the next room of enemies didn’t help that feeling.

As far as gameplay goes Kane & Lynch 2 is a traditional 3rd person cover based shooter with a heavy emphasis on cover. Your actions throughout the entire game is simple, press a button to take cover, lean out to kill enemies who are also in cover then rinse and repeat for 4 hours. Wait, the occasional propane tank or fire extinguisher can be thrown and exploded by you which is actually done quite well. But move out of cover at your own peril as you will be quickly gunned down by enemies with militia trained aim. If you choose to fire back you will struggle due to the inaccurate controls and on the rare occasion you do strike your opponent they simply soak up bullets before dying. Thus making what could be a mindless and visually distinctive shooter into a laborious task.

Not all can be considered negative the entire single player campaign can be played cooperatively which is the much better way to play considering the lack of intelligent AI. Also despite the lack of depth I did feel a connection with Lynch and his actions throughout the game. The story was so basic that it felt more believable than other more grandiose stories. Ultimately Kane & Lynch were attempting to escape instead of standing and fighting against the odds which a lot more people can relate to.

Due to the realism IO Interactive wanted to portray there are no collectibles in the game, nor is there any reason to attempt a higher difficulty setting since IO Interactive’s solution is to just throw more enemies at you. Therefore the campaign doesn’t offer any sort of replayability which is unfortunate.  In addition the trophies for Kane & Lynch 2 are just as lackluster and generic as the overall game again leaving you under whelmed.

Multiplayer

The multiplayer has four different game modes; arcade which is basically a practice mode for Fragile Alliance with computer AI, Fragile Alliance which is like the mode in the original Kane & Lynch where you attempt a heist with others online against computer AI however if you die you respawn as a cop and attempt to stop the traitor. The other two modes are a variation of Fragile Alliance, Undercover Cop is set up like Fragile Alliance except at the beginning of the match one person is notified they are the undercover cop and must stop the others from completing the heist. Lastly there is Cop and Robbers, again it is like traditional Fragile Alliance yet everyone is player controlled and is the closest to the conventional team deathmatch. Based on your performance in these modes you can level up and buy new guns as well as earn a label based on your actions if you are a traitor, faithful, travel with the pack, or like to be a lone dog.

In general I had a lot of fun with the multiplayer yet again the depth of content was just not present as it only had these 4 similar modes and cycled through just six maps. In addition there was no variation within those limited maps, for instance the AI placement was static making some of the modes tedious. But multiplayer was definitely a step above the single player campaign however my only concern is that the multiplayer is contingent on others not only purchasing this title but also sticking with what is ultimately a team based online feature when there are others who do that much better. My general consensus is that the multiplayer feature has refreshing game modes mixed with interesting concepts but is constrained by the same awful shooting mechanics as the single player.

Overall

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is a traditional generic third person cover based shooter with bad shooting mechanics and no other interesting component to pull you through or engage you with an otherwise lackluster story. While it does have a unique visual style that adds some realism to the title along with a multiplayer feature that can be fun as well as introduces some interesting concepts despite being slightly team dependent the simple lack of content both in the amount of gameplay and depth of gameplay severely hinders this title. IO Interactive establishes some great building blocks that if refined may eventually develop into a successful title, but so did the original Kane & Lynch.

Due to these issues I can not recommend purchasing Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days at full retail price. However due to the summer let-up in releases and since you can easily complete this game in one sitting or more casually over a weekend I suggest renting this title to experience the distinctive visuals, raw story and innovative multiplayer for your self.

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days for the PlayStation 3 was provided to me for reviewing purposes by IO Interactive. The games single player campaign was completed on the medium setting in 4.25 hours. I subsequently spent another 5 hours playing the multiplayer while obtaining 19 of the available 52 trophies. Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days was developed by IO Interactive and published by Eidos Interactive and is available for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC systems.

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One response

24 08 2010
GregHorrorShow

That’s a shame, I was looking forward to this and enjoyed the demo. Will probably still give it a go in co-op and have a mess around with multiplayer. My worry now is that IO will mess up with the forthcoming Hitman game – which would be pretty sad.

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