It is a tough job to take a game that was not so well received and be brave enough to make the decision to try a sequel. The original Kane and Lynch: Dead Men was plagued with issues, everything from control problems to bad aiming and cover mechanics. I must say after picking up Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days on release day I am pleasantly surprised. The game still does have its share of issues but it is nowhere near a “pain to play” like the original. The story is a big part especially if you made it through the original. The surprises continue upon starting the game. There are many ideas that although could use a bit more polishing are a welcome change.
One of these mechanics is the camera. It is really set up to make it feel like Kane and Lynch are being followed around by a personal camera man. As you begin to sprint the camera starts to shake just a bit to make it seem like the camera man is trying to keep up. Its a really cool idea but personally I had to go into the options and turn it off. The camera itself would begin auto focusing, which although it added to the realism of what they were looking for it just ended up giving me a bit of a headache. Thankfully they allow you to play without it.
The story is set in the Chinese underworld. You follow Kane and Lynch through the streets and back alleys of Shanghai as they run for their lives from both Chinese gangsters and the police. After a job gone bad you are hunted by members of the Chinese mob. Much blood and many bullets later, your goal is just to survive long enough to get out. The story is by far the best part of the experience. I must warn that the game definitely earns its mature rating. A single player campaign filled with adult themed language and content set a tone of the story line. It all fits together very well and has a nice flow. There was never really a point where I felt there was a breakdown of any kind. The only downfall of the story is the length. At five hours the campaign is definitely to short.
Graphics wise the game looked very good. As mentioned earlier the “Blair Witch” style camera usage was a welcome change and with a bit of tweaking could have added to the overall feel of the game. The game had no really noticeable frame drops or rate issues but did not really do anything amazing. It all fit well for the game being a dark over the shoulder shooter but in order to be named with some of the better games of the day you have to take that extra step. Unfortunately Dog Days just seems like another third person shooter.
The game play is much tighter than the original. I am glad we actually have a cover system that works and the combat is much faster paced and more enjoyable. Considering I finished the game in two sittings really speaks well for the flow of the game. The controls felt good which is a big part of a game. If the controls are hard to use it takes away from the immersion of the game. Unfortunately, as of writing this I have yet to be able to play the multi player. Upon logging into Xbox live and trying to join a lobby a connection screen appears. After twenty to thirty minuets watching the game trying to connect to a game I gave up. The game also does not allow for a party system in ranked matches. If you want to play with your friends you must create a private match. Unfortunately the one time I was able to join a multi-player lobby I spend a good while as the only person in the room. Considering the single player campaign was so short these multi-player problems are unacceptable.
Overall I enjoyed Kane and Lynch 2. The game was exponentially better than the original. Personally, I want a longer single player campaign and multi-player that actually works especially for the cost of games these days. I do recommend it for the story but beware if you are sensitive to certain content. It should be a game for dark, gritty action fans to try at least once.
[starreview tpl=46 size=’30’]