Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days Review
Man, people hated Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. They hated it. And so I ignored it for a while. (I wasn’t getting paid to play games back then.) Then I discovered it in the clearance bin at Toys R Us one day, and my roommate and I rampaged all over its ass. Sure, it was clunky as hell to play and ugly to look at, but it had a great story, and it featured some quite inventive set pieces as it pulled you through this wild adventure adventure that was equal parts Heat, Collateral and Bad Boys II.
Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days (XBox360 [Reviewed], PS3, PC)
Developer: Io Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix / Eidos Interactive
Release Date: August 17, 2010
Kane & Lynch 2, on the other hand, features a unique cell phone camera visual style that perfectly masks the still-ugly textures. It also handles considerably less clunkily, though it’s still pretty awkward at times due to an absurdly finicky cover system. So that’s an improvement, and it makes the competitive multiplayer side of things considerably more enjoyable this time around, and that part of the game is also helped by the addition of a couple new online modes to supplement Fragile Alliance.
But the hook of the Kane & Lynch franchise is not the multiplayer. The hook is the co-operative campaign. The hook is Kane and Lynch, which, presumably, is why the franchise is named the way it is. But whereas the campaign in the first game was long and engaging and inventive, the campaign in this game is short and by the numbers. And I don’t mean run-of-the-mill short; I sat down with a friend at 5:15 pm to start the campaign, and we were done with it at 8:30 pm.
The ridiculously short length could conceivably be forgiven if it were interesting enough to play more than once. But it mostly consists of walking into a room, shooting everyone and moving on. Yes, our protagonists are naked in one segment, and yes, some areas feature civilians running around. But at no point does IO show off any brains in putting it together, and nothing in this game compares to the bank robbery or the night club or the dump truck boss fight in the first game. It’s all mindless shooting, and it’s 100% boring.
So the campaign sucks, and the other modes can’t save the game. There are three online modes — Cops and Robbers, Undercover Cop and Fragile Alliance, but they all use the same six maps, and they’re all just slight variations on Fragile Alliance. In Fragile Alliance, you work with a team of other players to steal a bunch of stuff and get to the getaway vehicle, and you can screw over your compatriots by killing them outright or leaving without them.
In Undercover cop, you do the same thing, except one player is a cop who is trying to sabotage the heist. These modes have the potential to be quite nuanced, but the act of taking out any teammate immediately alerts all others that you are a traitor, and from then on all other players can see your location no matter what. It is, essentially, pandering to the Xbox Live cretins.
And then the third mode, Cops and Robbers, just puts half the players as cops in the same scenarios you’ll find in the other modes. It’s basic team deathmatch, and it’s easily the highlight of the game, which is very sad. On top of all this, there’s a single player version of Fragile Alliance called Arcade Mode, which is as boring as you could imagine, because it has you play the same map over and over again until you die three times.
Being such a fan of the first game, Kane & Lynch 2 was one of my most anticipated titles of the year, because I assumed that IO would fix the control issues from the first game and then deliver a campaign as thoughtful as that of the first, and I assumed that expanded multiplayer would only further increase the game’s time in my Xbox. But while they managed to improve the basic gameplay, every other aspect of this title is a gigantic disappointment. This game is utterly irredeemable, and I hated it.
Wonderful visual style
Ludicrously short, boring, unimaginative campaign
Annoying, broken cover system
Arcade Mode is just dumb
Gimped online multiplayer