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Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days Review

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On 10/23/2010 at 02:10 PM by Stanton Daries

Kane & Lynch 2 was a game that should have never existed.

For teachers trying to show students how not to make a video game.

I never played Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, the first game in the Kane & Lynch series. Like most I was very familiar with it as being one of the worst games to be made available in this console generation. The game made more headlines for allegedly causing the firing of a GameSpot reviewer over a bad score, than for anything particular about the game itself. I assumed, incorrectly, with the tarnish of shady company ethics along with horrible story and production quality that the franchise was dead and gone, ready to be buried in the desert with E.T. for the Atari.

But alas, what did I find plopped on my desk from Nick but the game you are reading about now. Making some mumblings about me having fun, and maybe a cackle, he walked away leaving me tearfully opening the box and seeing it wasn’t a joke.

Kane & Lynch 2 takes us to the streets of Shanghai where Lynch is trying to straighten up his act. Apparently that means he wasn’t as crazy as he was in the first game, though based on the fact he is smuggling weapons and killing people I have to wonder what else he is reforming from. Did he used to drop kick nuns and not clean up after his dog?

He meets his on again/off again BFF Kane for one final job, an arms deal that will set them up for life. Obviously it all swirls down the toilet or else we wouldn’t be subjected to the rest of the game. This leaves the duo on the run from one of Shanghai’s most powerful men.

As mentioned earlier, I’ve never played Dead Men, but I can’t imagine it being any worse than this game. The single player campaign, running four to five hours at most, is uninspired and predictable with little attempt made to encourage players to do anything more with the game. The characters are never fleshed out and pretty much run from one repetitive scene to the other. Almost like the people, well mammals, writing the script got stuck in some sort of logic loop. “And then they get into a fight with crooks… and then they get into a fight with crooks…”

The gameplay itself is a travesty as well. A standard rule of gameplay design would be to include a working element of what genre the game falls in. If you make a cover based shooter, then it would stand to reason that you will have, at the minimum, a good cover system and a reliable shooting mechanic. Also a base of some kind I guess. Now don’t think there isn’t cover or shooting in this game, that’s all there is, but it is broken to such an extent that I would honestly believe if the programmers told me they were going for something so Avante Garde that I couldn’t understand the vision.

You are going to spend a very short time playing this game doing nothing but hiding behind cover as wave after wave of opponents come streaming from clearly defined paths. They will completely ignore the fact that you are wishing to use one of the various barriers to hide against and avoid getting shot, as they have somehow evolved bullet-resistant skin, allowing each of them absorb more damage than any single weapon clip could hope to provide. They have also gained the ability to not only ignore the cover with their bullets, somehow sending the projectiles through your cover but sometimes even clipping through it themselves as they steadily march towards you.

Add to this the fact that your reticule is so ridiculously large that there is absolutely zero chance for a precision hit on the target; you literally will find yourself spraying and praying with everything from a handgun to a shotgun that one of your shots will somehow hit. Maybe this is why your opponents have no fear of charging you? Was Lynch more accurate when he was crazy? Stop taking the meds man!

A side note on this game, if and when you die be prepared to just restart the chapter sometimes as the checkpoints love to deposit you in the middle of the room, surrounded by salivating AI.

Now, on to something even worse than the gameplay: the presentation. I don’t know if they just realized how bad undistorted graphics would be or if the artistic director has some sort of Fetish for Michael Mann films or he is Mr. Magoo but this game is presented as if was it being filmed by some sort of invisible hand-cam operator with ADHD. The camera shakes and jitters and everything is pushed through some sort of visual distortion / artifact creator / broken video card filter. Within an hour you will find yourself with a headache and motion sickness. Maybe this is some revolutionary new vision of letting the players feel what Lynch must feel in his diseased mind.

The multiplayer offering features three modes, all pretty much tied to the same faulty issues as the single player, except here you force others to join in on your punishment. There is also an arcade mode, but it’s just the multiplayer mode for a single player.

Post mortem: Kane & Lynch 2 was a game that should have never existed.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.




10/23/2010 at 02:50 PM

Hmmm, nice review, I might have to pick it up

Jason Ross Senior Editor

10/23/2010 at 06:17 PM

Looks like you and I have different impressions of this series.


Nick DiMola Director

10/24/2010 at 02:58 AM

Man am I glad I didn't have to review this crapfest...


10/25/2010 at 02:30 AM

I couldn't even finish the demo.

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