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Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days

 

Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days

Platform: Xbox 360
Category: Action Games
 
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Author:

Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix

Features:

Number of Players: 1-2

When Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days for the Xbox 360 landed at my home office, I must admit my expectations for the game were minimal. Why you ask? Well its predecessor, Kane and Lynch: Dead Men, didn’t exactly knock one out of the park with most reviews coming in the 6 or 7 out of 10 range. Certainly not horrible scores by any stretch, but not great ones either. A couple of years later, Kane and Lynch are back with a vengeance. So how does this sequel pan out? Well, Kane and Lynch 2 does not exactly hit one out of the park either. That being said, some of the game’s raw and uncut action is entertaining at times; unfortunately, some of the negatives outweigh the positives and in the end I can’t help but think this game could have been so much more.

Graphics

The visuals in Kane and Lynch 2 are more last generation than current. Granted, Kane and Lynch 2 aims for a more artistic style look and the game is played like you’re watching through a third party camcorder. It almost reminds me of the movie Cloverfield which employed a shaky camera and camcorder view. Kane and Lynch is nothing like Cloverfield but for those that have seen the movie and give Kane and Lynch 2 a spin you will know exactly what I mean. Nevertheless, the artistic style of the game can lead to some ugly looking visuals, not to mention the shaky camera is tiresome and provides more headaches than anything.

Another concern I had with the game’s visuals are the characters themselves. The enemies lack originality and the game’s main characters look unpolished. The characters simply do not hold a candle to other games already on the Xbox 360 console. Let's just say the level of detail is minimal. On a positive note, some of the game’s locales are slick and original. For instance, some of the cramped underground Shanghai environments are decent looking and create some intense moments. Even some of the main street shoot-out sequences look very good as well. In terms of frame rate issues, Kane and Lynch 2 does not suffer from any noticeable slowdowns and some of the game’s cut-scenes are well done. So all in all, Kane and Lynch 2 is not a bad looking game but it is not a great looking one either.

Sound

Overall the sound in Kane and Lynch 2 is a bit of mixed bag. On one hand, the sounds of the weapons simply kick-ass. They all seem to pack a punch and almost startle you at times since they sound incredibly loud in some of those close quarter areas. On the other hand, there is no in-game music to be had. Other than some tunes in the game’s menus, there is really no music at all in the game. I guess I have become accustomed to the in-game music but the absence really makes for an experience that feels a tad incomplete. Otherwise, the rest of the game’s sound package is satisfactory.

Gameplay

When Kane and Lynch busted on the scene a couple of years ago, many praised the game for its gritty gameplay and over-the-top violence. Yet many critics bashed the game for its lackluster storyline and sloppy mechanics. So along comes Kane and Lynch 2 that leaves many questioning whether the issues that plagued the first game have been sufficiently addressed this time around. Well, before I get into some of the game’s nuances, let me give you some background in terms of the storyline.

Since the previous game (Kane and Lynch: Dead Men), both Kane and Lynch have parted ways. Lynch attempts to start a new life in Shanghai with a girlfriend named Xiu. Yet in typical Lynch fashion, he cannot get completely out of the crime life. Lynch involves himself in a crime organization led by English-born Glazer. After Glazer tells Lynch about a high paying operation involving smuggling guns to Africa, Lynch calls upon Kane for assistance and of course a split in the deal. It would be the 'one last job' before the pair could ride off into the sunset.

Overall, Kane and Lynch 2 has a decent storyline and it is well told throughout the game’s many captivating cut-scenes. I found myself drawn to the characters and I did find something captivating about the pair of them and their relationship to one another. There are some gruesome moments in the game and there is certainly some shock value. So when it comes to Kane and Lynch 2's gameplay, the story itself is one of the more redeeming qualities of the game.

Kane and Lynch 2 is a linear affair where 'pray and spray' is the name of the game. To say there is a lot of shooting in Kane and Lynch 2 is an understatement. In fact, the game goes a tad overboard with the shootouts that are seemingly at every corner. You blow away hundreds if not thousands of enemies throughout the single player campaign mode. It gets repetitive and tedious. The stealth missions and heists from the first game are gone; however they are replaced with some relentless fire fights that are entertaining at first but quickly grow old after the first few levels.

The controls in Kane and Lynch 2 are very straight forward and for those who have played any shooters you will have no problems with the game's controls. Shooting on the other hand can be a bit troublesome at times as enemies do take quite a few shots and Kane is not as accurate as one would imagine. Not to mention there are times where I am unloading into an enemy but for some strange reason he is not going down. The shooting mechanics are much better than the first game but by no means are they on the same level as some other great shooters already on the Xbox 360.

Kane and Lynch 2 has a cover system that is finicky at the best of times and works nowhere near as efficiently as say Gears of War 2. The cover system is critical to your advancement in the game but far too often my player would not pop out of cover when I wanted him to and he simply did not do as I wanted at times. This aspect of the game could have used a few more months in the shop.

The single player experience is a short one. You could finish the game in 6-hours but many will likely complete the game in about 7 or 8 hours. This day in age, an 8-hour single player game is far too short. That said, I must admit I was happy to see this game come to an end when it did.

In addition to the single player experience, Kane and Lynch 2 does feature a pretty decent multiplayer component. Multiplayer consists of three modes: Fragile Alliance, Undercover Cop and Cops & Robbers. Fragile Alliance is back from the previous Kane and Lynch game and still has a group of players attempting to grab as much money as possible while escaping police forces and possible traitors. Undercover Cop plays very much the same way except a randomly chosen player must prevent the team from escaping. Finally, Cops & Robbers has a group of player controlled police officers going against the criminals who are attempting to make a heist and flee. By itself, Kane and Lynch 2's multiplayer component is enjoyable but compared to the Triple A games already on the market, this one falls short. I highly doubt we will see many gamers playing this one online once the likes of Call of Duty, Black Ops and Halo Reach arrive on the scene this fall and winter.


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