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Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days
PC, XBox 260, Playstation 3

Reviewed on: PC

Io Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix
Rated: "M" for Mature

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6

There are literally one million and three ways I could start off the review of Kane and Lynch: Dog Days. I could jump right in and address the elephant in the room by talking about how the original allegedly got Giant Bomb founder Jeff Gertsmann fired from GameSpot for giving it a negative score and angering the site’s marketing department. Allegedly. I could also talk about how much is riding on the failure or success of Dog Days, as there’s already a big budget Hollywood movie in the works starring Bruce Willis and Jaime Fox (don’t ask).

To make things easier on everyone - let’s just start off like this, I didn’t hate Kane and Lynch: Dog Days as much as I should have. Yes, it’s got some glaring issues on both the gameplay and technical side, but there are also some decent ideas at work here - until you get literally sick of them. Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days asks gamers to forgo any form of substance for a bit of style. Is it worth it?

For those new to the Kane and Lynch world, it’s best to think of the titular duo as the stars of a really messed up buddy movie - you know, Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours, but with a ton of violent killing and drugs. Meeting in the first game after breaking out of a convoy on the way to death row, Adam “Kane” Marcus and James Seth Lynch went on the world’s most violent road trip running against the clock in an effort to save Kane’s daughter Jenny from a mercenary group known as The 7. This time around, Kane and Lynch reunite in Shanghai to split a “mega deal” that involves an organization running guns to Africa. As you can probably guess, not everything goes as planned and you’re going to spend a lot of time running through alleyways and shooting.

"...the entirety of Dog Days is done as if you’re viewing it through a handheld camera."


The first thing you’ll notice in Kane and Lynch 2 is the unique visual style. Taking its cues from documentary films and viral videos, the entirety of Dog Days is done as if you’re viewing it through a handheld camera. The gonzo journalism approach is a unique one, and there are some pretty cool features here. During heavy action sequences, the camera shakes as if the person holding it is running frantically, and blood will also splatter on the lens. The shaky cam effect ca be turned off, but most of the other effects like the lens flare can not, and be warned - you may get queasy while playing (think of the feeling some got while watching The Blair Witch Project). One thing I didn’t get was why the shaky cam affected my aim while playing as Lynch. It’s established that a third person is holding the camera, how does that effect what someone not even near the camera is doing?

The handheld camera approach has its benefits though, but not where you’d expect them. In most aspects, Dog Days looks as impressive as you’d expect, but in certain areas, the visuals get pretty ugly, and frantic nature and intentional blurring do a great job shying away from these areas. Oh those objects aren’t rendered the best? There happens to be an intentional blur over a bit of carnage that took place there. That back alley looks a bit off? No problem, the camera man is about to wildly pan away anyways. It’s a neat trick, but you can’t help but get the feeling that it’s used a crutch too often during the game.

If you’ve played the first Kane and Lynch game, you’ll be quite at home with the sequel, enter a room, or a back alley, shoot pretty much anything that moves...drop a few F-bombs, move on then repeat. For what its worth, the folks at IO have done a great job in making Shanghai look authentic and if it wasn’t for the repetitive nature of the gameplay, the worlds may be a bit more interesting. Sure, there are a few varied mission types, but I never got that “holy crap” feeling I got in the first during missions like the bank heist.

Not only will you be shooting a lot in Dog Days, buy you’ll be getting shot...a lot. In many areas you’re going to be outnumbered heavily, and your enemies are impressively smart, preferring to take cover and flank you rather than most shooters, which see enemies charging at you with no concern for their own mortality. The game’s push button to attach cover system works more often than not - it’s just that you can never really rely on the cover you’re using. In Dog Days, objects deteriorate realistically, well - most of them do. While I fully expected to have limited time behind objects like wooden crates and barrels, I also figured I’d have a bit more time to shoot when I was behind concrete. It’s pretty laughable how fast solid concrete deteriorates in this game, but also quite frustrating at the same time.

"The worst part about the gameplay though is the aiming system."


The worst part about the gameplay though is the aiming system. Dog Days is presented in a much more frantic pace than its predecessor, and there will be a lot of enemies coming at you at once, and I never got the feeling that the game was able to handle so many enemies in a small confined space. The targeting was twitchy at best, and there’s sure to be a few instances where you fail because of it. When you do take on too much damage here, you won’t have to wait for a team mate to revive you like in the first game, as you’ll fall to the ground, but be able to crawl into cover (shooting the whole time) to restore health. This system definitely created more than its fair share of cool moments, as you’ll have to shoot frantically if you don’t want to die.

Clocking in at just over 5 hours for most, the main story of Kane and Lynch 2 is a pretty short one, but thankfully, the superb multiplayer suit from the first game returns here. At the heart of the multiplayer experience is the fragile alliance mode, which finds players competing to pull of a heist with the option to betray each other. There’s also a new lighter arcade mode, which tasks players with finishing the game with more money than anyone else.

Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days is miles ahead of its predecessor in most areas, but in others, it lags behind it. Being presented in the unique gonzo journalism style gives it a unique style and visual appeal that most others in the crowded shooter genre lack, but at just over 5 hours, it’s still a rather thin package. Those who loved the first Kane and Lynch game will find much to love here, but it won’t do much to sway the opinion of those who weren’t fans. 



CHEATS USED: Super Health, Unlimited Ammo, No Reload

I struggled with just what Cheat Factor score to give Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days. Yes, the cheats, including no reload, unlimited ammo and super health are incredibly helpful and they’re sure to help clear some of the game’s more difficult stages, but at what cost?

Some of the most fun I had with the game was when I was wounded, crawling on the ground and trying to shoot my way to cover. When using the super health cheat, you lose these moments, as you’re never going to be wounded. The unlimited ammo cheat also lessens the frantic nature of the game, as you’re no longer ducking from cover to cover in an effort to secure more ammo.



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