Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days
Reviewer: Soroush Smith
Release Date: 2010-08-17
Developer: IO Interactive
Mon 16 Aug 10
Throw in a couple of psychopaths with guns, Shanghai gang members and corrupt police and you have Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days, a game filled with brutal gun fights and camera perspectives that put you right in the action. Actually, a one line description couldn’t come close to doing this game justice. The battles are simply crazy with more time for panic and little time for thought.
Kane & Lynch 2 has been expanded beyond the its predecessor to include a story mode with single player, split-screen co-op and Xbox Live co-op campaigns as well as an offline single-player arcade version and three multiplayer game modes on Xbox Live.
The single or cooperative story mode is an intense action experience that moves you along 48 hours of hell after a simple deal goes wrong. Kane and Lynch wind up wanted by the entire criminal underworld of Shanghai along with several corrupt government agencies. The two mis-matched criminal try to escape Shanghai, creating devastation and mayhem along the way.
The most innovative and compelling feature of the first Kane & Lynch, Fragile Alliance, returns in a single player arcade mode and a bigger and badder classic multiplayer online mode.
The single player version of the Fragile Alliance mode is a good way to gain some experience, learn the maps and pick up some better weapons with the loot. On each round the pressure mounts with the cops coming at you harder and the escape vehicle waiting for less time but the payoff is huge. It's highly recommended that you spend some time here as everything will carry over into multiplayer mode which makes playing online a lot more enjoyable.
In the multiplayer Fragile Alliance mode you have four gut wrenching minutes to work together as a team up to eight players to escape with as much loot as possible. You'll have to move, think, loot and shoot fast if you want to make it out alive. If you decide to turn on team members and make off with their loot as well, you'll have to out-think, out-gun and out-run both cops and criminals. Working together as team here definitely has it rewards as downed team members respawn as cops, out for revenge; so the risks of treachery have to be carefully, and skillfully, considered.
Undercover Cop is played with up to eight players where one is chosen at random to infiltrate the alliance and stop the heist by preventing any criminals from escaping. You must strike a delicate balance - if you run too far ahead and the cops don't shoot at you, your cover is blown. Play too far behind and someone might suspect what you're up to. If you survive, you get to keep 10% of the recovered loot as a finder's fee.
With Cops & Robbers you play with a team of up to six criminals attempting to steal the loot and six cops trying to retrieve it. There are four rounds with the teams staying the same but swapping sides of the law, forcing you to adopt different strategies each time.
Square Enix had provided some early statistics from the demo in which more than 116,000 players were killed in the act of pulling-off a heist. More staggering is the fact that only 8,000 of those kills were made by undercover cops. If the demo was any indication of how untrustworthy other players are, you'll have to really watch your back.
If you played the first series you might be familiar with Kane and Lynch but, if you haven’t, then welcome to hell because that’s all these two guys deal with. One is a psychopath and the other is fighting for his life. Kane needed to pull one final job so he could pay for his daughter’s education and, of course, Lynch had to ruin everything and pull Kane in with him.
The story takes you through the visually stunning and scenic streets of Shanghai, not that you’ll have the time to notice. The plot unfolds using an unscripted, user-generated form of cinematic style which is unique in the fact that it leaves you with a feeling of having more control.
The visuals become even more intense through a feature that goes by the name of “shakey-cam’ which adds a great deal of realism. You can really feel a sense of being in the heat of the battle and the disorientation caused while sprinting with bullets flying over your head. If all this realism becomes too much for you, it can simply be turned off using the menu. It would be a shame, though, to disable something that the developers have obviously put an enormous amount of time and effort into to get just right.
Kane and Lynch 2 breaks away from the trend of the traditional third-person shooters. Although your perspective is third-person, the camera isn’t locked into any particular view which can be changed with the flick of the right stick. It may seem a little confusing at first but you’ll soon realize that having the ability to shoot sideways as you’re sprinting, looking up on the second floor for attackers and being able to peer around corners really opens up the environment and adds a unique aspect to the game.
Realize that you’re just a guy with a gun and no formal training so don’t expect to be spraying bullets everywhere and presume to be hitting all your targets. Small, precise bursts will find their mark better than emptying a clip in the general direction of the cops – this is definitely not an arcade game. While there’s nothing wrong with the occasional shower of suppressing fire, ammo isn’t limitless so make sure that you watch your usage and be sure to pick up any clips when you spot them. A short tap on the D-pad will show you what’s available.
The quicker that you learn to use the ‘cover button’ the more successful you will be. Move from cover to cover, peering around the corner to make sure the coast is clear. If there’s no obvious cover around, even hitting the ‘crouch button’ will increase your chances of survival by improving your aim and keeping you below the line of sight.
Study the weapons as the better ones are more accurate with a higher rate of fire allowing you to take down your enemies quicker. Be sure to purchase the best that you can afford in between rounds of battle. In the story mode you’ll want to pick up better weapons as you move around and don’t discount the shotgun for closed in encounters.
It’s obvious that an enormous amount of effort has been invested into the voice acting, scripting and noises and sounds of the city in the game. If you pay attention to the game audio you can pick up clues to what is going on around you and adjust your tactics.
There is some sloppiness in the way that the characters are animated. With the intense amount of detail applied to everything else I wouldn’t expect to see a character to look like they’re on roller blade shoes when they’re running. The feet look like they’re slipping, sliding and shuffling. You’ll be spending more time surviving anyway to really notice this.
Although the story mode is absorbing, it could have been longer. The online multiplayer mode compensates for this and will keep you engaged which is going to be crucial for the longevity of the game. Square Enix has already announced that a Multiplayer Mask Pack, Alliance Weapon Pack and Doggie Bag Pack will be available at the end of the month which will extend the Multiplayer modes by introducing more ‘tools of the trade’ and all-new heist locations. If the downloadable content keeps coming, you’ll be spending endless hours creating your own crime wave.