Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days Review

Posted: September 23, 2010 by ryanlecocq in Reviews

This is a game I hate to hate.  Brice and I checked out the demo and were blown away by the gritty, youtube video style and Shanghai setting.  We reserved it and picked it up day one and immediately went to play the co-op story expecting a Micheal Mann inspired action thrillfest.  In many ways we weren’t disappointed.  The gunplay is greatly improved from the first game and although fairly primitive, is very competent.  The action takes place in the perfect combination of locations to give you a violent city tour feel.  You shoot guys through neon-lit streets, sweat shops, skyscrapers and an airport making for a great variety of action movie-ish scenes.  The dialogue is convincing and the pacing is tight.  If just shooting people was enough to make a good game, I would give this one the highest marks.

The reason I have to seriously knock the campaign is the story or lack thereof.  Your characters are interesting, but they don’t do anything interesting.  The game never really stops to ask why and with it’s flair and grit, I almost didn’t either.  But when the characters never really face conflict, go through change or fall from grace (kind of impossible here) as a fundamentalist I have to say this story blows.  Even when we get tortured and Lynch’s girlfriend meets an extremely grim fate, we just respond by going on a naked, bloody, cut-up unarmed rampage and killing more dudes.  I will grant that the naked, bloody rampage scene was one of the single most visceral and intense sections I have ever played, but it didn’t save the rest of the game.  Even the ending is completely abrupt and rewards you with a cinema that is fully 8 seconds long.  I can sum it up in 5 words: We get on some plane.  That isn’t even selling it short.  We decide we have to get out of town, so we get on a random plane with very little trouble and fly away.  The End.

The graphics and sound are the game’s biggest selling point.  The gritty hand-held camera style is so f-ing cool, people will stop just to watch you play.  I can’t believe that I’m saying the crappy sound and picture quality make this game almost great, but I am.  The picture gets blocks and motion artifacts when you turn fast.  It gets dirt, rain and blood on it.  When there are loud sounds like explosions they static out the sound like a real microphone.  The most amazing part is that when you die in this game, it’s you, the cameraman, that dies.  The characters remain there nursing their wounds while the camera drops to the ground.  Even at the end of the game it looks like you the cameraman get left behind and arrested.  All of it comes together to create a sense of realism and intensity I haven’t seen in a long while.  Such a shame it’s wrapped around such a soulless game.

The multiplayer I didn’t get into much.  Brice played it for a few days and traded it back to Gamestop.  The different heist and cops and robbers modes are fun, but extremely feature light compared to the modern standard.

Overall I have to say that this game was a huge disappointment.  I can’t rate it on a purely arbitrary scale, because I think what a game could and should have been is important.  This game is like a big mean looking biker with cool tattoos all over him walking up and giving you a limp handshake.  It’s too bad because there aren’t nearly enough audacious games out there.

5/10

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Comments
  1. lagunawsu2 says:

    Kane and Lynch was an ill conceived series, and as far as I can tell just came out to compete with other similar shooters like “Army of Two”.

    • ryanlecocq says:

      I think that’s half true, but Kane and Lynch was in development before Army of Two or Gears of War. It actually started waaaaay back as a PS2 game. Kane and Lynch is more trying to be a game Michael Mann movie. It just only hit some of the time.

      • lagunawsu2 says:

        Wow total miss for me on that, I saw Army of Two before Kane and Lynch (only the first one, mind you) and immediately made all these parallels, but that’s kind of what minds do.

  2. brice42 says:

    Hey, Brice here. Just an extremely late quick word about this game: the multiplayer experience for Dog Days was truly brilliant. There’s a mode where one of the players (or you) is an undercover cop. Your objective is to sabotage the rest of the criminals, but if you’re too obvious, they’ll spot you immediately, kill you, take your money, and then continue being criminals. If you actually use all the cunning and deception locked up tight in your heart of hearts, it’s totally possible to pull a fast one. In one shining match, I convinced a room full of other players that some other dude was the rat, and they blew him away. By attacking a fellow criminal, all the players who fell for my clever ruse were labeled as Traitors, which allowed me to blow them away with impunity while also maintaining my cover. Sadly, I never finished this match because those losers booted me out for outsmarting them…and by that I mean I straight lied through my teeth (and my headset) to save my ass and try to complete the objective…just like any decent undercover cop would.

    That brings me around to why I traded this game so soon. Most of the people on XBL play every game like it’s Halo, just running around lone-wolfin’ it all the time. Any time there’s any kind of strategy necessary to win, or really anything other than lining up a shot and pulling right trigger, people will never EVER do it. The masses will either continue playing in their idiotic Halo way, ruining the experience for gamers with the capacity for abstract thought, or just stop playing and go back to the regular games they’re comfortable with, leaving players like me waiting in lobbies for players who are long gone and who are never coming back. Same thing happened to me with Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and sometimes I still weep at night about that. These unusual multiplayer experiences are the only things that get my jaded shooter heart pumping anymore, and they are going totally unappreciated.

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