Ah, the twisted duo that filled the screens with virtual blood when the first Kane and Lynch game was launched (and also apparently got a Gamespot editor fired) is back this year in Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days which, despite massive amounts of criticism received from certain blogs who can’t seem to be able to forget about the past, is a GREAT game! Not a perfect one, but neither a lazy shooter that deserves a 1 star rating!
As soon as you load up Kane & Lynch 2 and you hit the play button, you will be impressed: the short cinematic is brutal and thrilling: you see the two protagonists tied onto chairs, full of blood, and a person with a cutter in his hand filling their bodies with scars. Quick, intense, edited to look like the intro of the movie and BAM! you’re traveling back in time (2 days actually) to see what happened and why did Kane and Lynch ended up naked in a torture chamber.
Actually, the entire game is made to look like a well done action movie (and I’m talking about the gameplay here as well!), with a camera that “follows” the action as if a real person was carrying it: something that makes you think that you’re watching the coolest reality show on TV, with the cameraman trying to follow Lynch (the main character this time) no matter what. Which is amazing at first, but eventually becomes a bit of the pest for your eyes and dizziness might occur if you spend too much time playing without taking a break. But probably that’s what you’ll end up doing anyway since the game is quite addictive!
The gameplay in Kane & Lynch 2 also seems to have been improved when compared to the original game: aiming and shooting is a lot smoother (even though, every now and then, the main characters seem like complete beginners when it comes to gun handling and aiming), the explosions and visual effects have gone bigger and more impressive and the AI has also been improved – probably too much for higher levels of difficulty where they seem to be all using snipers all the time.
Unfortunately though, the game is a really static one, meaning that 99% of the fighting will be done from cover: you hide behind a wall and try to take out the enemies one by one – and they’re also hiding behind various objects, many of them destructible, which adds another goodie into play. However, the AI seems to have some preset paths in mind and even though they are smart enough to change cover or move from the left side of a wall to its right side when spotted, they are also stupid enough to start sprinting towards you – with or without friendly cover – or try to move from a place to another turning them into sitting ducks. But since there are so many enemies actually, this might turn into a bonus in the end since it helps you progress through the game.
The co-op mode adds some extra flavor to the game and a bit of extra accuracy to Kane (at least if your pal knows how to play a shooter), but there’s not a huge change in terms of gameplay and there are just very few areas in the single player campaign where you can add some strategic play in the game and not simply shoot on sight until the entire area is free. Add to that a way too short campaign – around 6 hours of actual play time and you might get a bit disappointed.
The disappointment might blur out a little when you get into the multiplayer modes of Kane & Lynch 2 with the return of the Fragile Alliance game mode which is indeed a lot more fun than completing the single player campaign over and over again. And since you have an Arcade option (single player), even if you can’t play the game online, you will still have some extra fun to compensate for the really short campaign.
Even though great, especially in terms of graphics and storytelling, the game is far from perfect. Except for the problems mentioned above, I have often managed to get Lynch stuck inside a crate or a street post – or anything – and it was a real challenge to get him out of there and keep moving. Also, there are some rare graphical problems here and there – but nothing to become a deal breaker and you can say that it’s actually the cameraman’s fault, right?
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is a really nice game with a great story that can really blow you away (including the catchy level when the two protagonists go on a naked run&shoot session), but it’s far from perfect thanks to some strange AI behavior and bugs, plus the really short campaign. However, it is an improvement compared to the original Kane and Lynch (which I also loved playing), so I would certainly recommend the game to every fan of a solid shooter title!