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 Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days

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Posts : 2467
Join date : 2010-10-09
Location : London, England

PostSubject: Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days   Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:20 am

Game: Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days

Genre: Shooter

System: Xbox 360

Price: £39.99

The original “Kane and Lynch: Dead Men” was a third person shooter released a couple of years ago to lukewarm reception from both critics and the general public. Telling the tale of two criminals and hitmen who get caught up with and double crossed by various members of a criminal gang, and through that into numerous gun-fights, it was one of those times where you knew there was a decent game in there somewhere desperately trying to escape. The trouble was that it was held back by its flaws – namely an inaccurate control and shooting system, and some flawed game mechanics. The duck and cover system didn’t work particularly well, and in a game which relied on the co-operation of your computer controlled buddy (you switched between playing as Kane or Lynch as the game progressed) the AI was a problem.

The sequel picks up some time after the original, and moves the action to Shanghai. You play most of the game as Lynch, a borderline psychotic with hair loss issues, who is meeting his ex-partner Kane in order for them to work together on a drug deal. Pretty soon it all starts to unravel, and you need to start dragging the hardware out.

Lets start with the look of the thing. The game looks very good, Environments are well drawn and well detailed, animations are smooth, characters pretty realistic. Its not quite Gears of War level, but its pretty good. There are neat visual touches as well, like the way neon glows and reflects, lens flare on the viewpoint, that sort of thing. The whole game has the intensity of something seen on news footage or Youtube, helped by the fact that the viewpoint moves as though its been filmed on a hand-held by a cameraman who was following behind. The makers have even added occasional tricks like pixelating particularly gruesome injuries (shtogun to the face at point blank range), all of which give the visuals a raw edge which works well.

Something else that helps with the atmosphere is the sound. The game has no soundtrack music (praise the lord!) and every sound in the game is incidental to the environment. If you hear music its coming from a stereo or radio in a building. When it rains you hear the rain hit the roof tops, you can hear enemies coming. It works exceedingly well.

Of course, the look means nothing if the game mechanics problems that plagued the first game aren’t cured. Happily, for the most part, they are. The control system works a lot better this time. Getting in and out of cover or around obstacles works now with a simple button press, and the game actually does what you ask it to do. I liked that most cover is destructible as well, so you can’t simply stay in one place for ever. The shooting system is also a lot more accurate – though fully automatic weapons still appropriately lack some accuracy as oppose to pistols. The game actually plays very well, and is a lot of fun.

The storyline progresses well and ups the ante from level to level, at times barely giving you a moment to think before you are shoved into the next hail of bullets. There’s an old school feel to level designs (especially the conclusion) but that’s no bad thing. You’ll enjoy the experience.

If I have a complaint about the main story mode its that its too short. Over the weekend it took me less than 6 hours to complete it on normal difficulty, which isn’t long enough in my opinion. However, the single player experience is expanded through “Arcade Mode”. Here you complete a number of smash and grab raids and have to survive to escape. You can choose whether to share the spoils, escape on your own, or kill your buddies and steal their share. Each level gets harder. Its not a full trade off for a short storyline, but it’s a nice addition.

So in all what we have is a nice-looking and nice-playing third person shooter. Its not revolutionary and it’s a bit too short, but its well worth picking up when the price drops a bit.

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