Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days - PS3 Review
|19/8/2010||Namco Bandai||Eidos||Io Interactive||1-2||2-8|
If you're after an over the top, gritty, violent, crude action game then Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days would have been at, or very near to, the top of your 2010 shopping list - it certainly was for us so when the disc arrived in the letterbox we rushed it straight into our PS3. What we discovered though wasn't quite what we expected, and we suggest you read on for our full impressions...
|Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is out now on PS3.|
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days follows on from the original Kane & Lynch: Dead Men which released a couple of years ago and became a fairly big seller. This time events take place from Lynch's point of view and is set in the gangsters paradise of Shanghai. This is the perfect playground for expat criminals such as Lynch; seduction and corruption highlight the contrasts of the city as players fight through the seedy underbelly of Shanghai – a juxtaposition of old-world and new-world ideals ripe with black market opportunities for Kane and Lynch to exploit and reap rewards from. Things aren't all rosy however and Kane and Lynch face the consequences when a simple job gone wrong sets off a desperate and frantic struggle to escape the entire Shanghai underworld.
Developed by Io Interactive K&L2: Dog Days is again a third person shooter set in an extremely violent world where bodies pile up in the dozens (and hundreds by games end) and you will play one of two psychopaths. With a wide range of weapons, and the ability to pick up gas bottles, toss them and then shoot them to blow them up this game is quite a bit of fun. Now we must point out that this is an MA15+ rated game, and deservedly so, but I was quite surprise to see that some of the more extreme gore, and nudity, has been pixelated out. That suits the tone of the visuals, but it seems there was still stuff that even the developers thought too extreme to put into their game. Overall though this is a decent third person shooter on a technical level with solid controls (except the cover system - more soon), some fun weapons and good interactions between Kane and Lynch.
|Getting a gun pointed at you!|
No doubt about it, my biggest issue by far is the single player game length. I blasted through the game, without rushing, in under 5 hours which is criminally short, and probably even shorter then a certain Activision shooter franchise! Given that you'll be paying around $AU100 for this title that's a pretty expensive outing if you're not willing to play this game online (although the Arcade mode will provide some added time). In terms of the actual gameplay the cover system is pretty clunky, although it's not the worst ever seen while enemies have the uncanny ability to take a swag of bullet hits before going down, even Swiss Cheese would have less holes then these bodies!
|Kane & Lynch 2, developed by Io Interactive.|
As for the storyline it's good to see that there are some decent cut-scenes in the game, but the overall experience leaves much to be desired with a pretty paper thin plot, and an ending that just leaves you asking where the hell the rest of the game is. Seriously it's like the developers forgot to include the last couple of missions?! I won't give away the ending, but needless to say if the events unfolded in the real world as they do in the game, there is no way that the police would leave the two protagonists alone for long.
When you have a game which has two main characters the question always arises. Is there a co-op mode? We're sure you'll be pleased to hear that yes, there is a co-op mode, and it's pretty impressive although we found that with all the shakeyness to the video playing in split-screen mode was a bit annoying. Still, we played the game online in co-op and it's certainly a blast with two humans up against the AI opposition.
Looking beyond the main story K&L2: Dog Days includes an Arcade mode which sees you accumulating as much cash as possible while facing increasingly difficult enemy forces. While you start out with a gang of robbers (and this can be played either online or with AI controlled comrades) you must loot the vaults, and make it to the escape van without being killed by the cops and SWAT teams. After each round everyone that survived gets a cut while the next round ramps up the difficulty. Three deaths and it's all over for you. It's fun and frantic, but can get repetitive as you continually replay the same maps, albeit with increasing difficulty.
|Busting in through the door, guns at the ready.|
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days includes quite a few multi-player modes for up to 8-players and sees the return of the Fragile Alliance mode which sees teams attempting to grab as much money as possible while escaping the other team. Two other variations of this online mode are included called Undercover Cops and Cops & Robbers. Undercover Cops sees one player on the team trying to thwart the teams escape while Cops & Robbers sees a group of police facing off against the robbers.
We've played this game online quite a bit in a hope something could provide an option to Modern Warfare 2 but this title, while providing several modes still feels lightweight. Still a good experience and provide some thrills but most of the games we participated in were laggy and not quite the joyous experiences we were hoping for from the game.
Visually this game is very impressive with a gritty realism and a (deliberate) grainy and video-like look with distorted images, flickering and other video related artifacts. Indeed the developers were inspired by documentary filmmakers, as well as user-generated content seen on Youtube and similar sites, and it all runs pretty nicely thanks to the Glacier Engine. At one point in the game Kane and Lynch go through a mission having been cut up with knives by some gangsters, but as you play the mission (in the nude) you can see the cuts and blood streaming down the bodies. It just looks awesome.
|Dog Days is a brutal, violent game.|
Now we must say thought that others that have seen the game in action here weren't as impressed, they hated the shaky cam and rough nature and while there is an option to turn off the shake in-game, it remains in cut-scenes. Also interesting, as we have previously mentioned, is the decision to pixelate out any nudity or extreme violence - sure it may have seen the game banned in Australia for sure, but it's the same in overseas versions.
In terms of audio design this game is a cracker. Sure there's more swearing then a Tarantino movie, but from a technical standpoint this game hits all the right notes with some great sounding weapons and explosions, some good music, and accurate use of surround sound channels. As with the video the audio is occasionally glitchy, but it suits the tone of the game perfectly.
|The Cops & Robbers mode in K&L2.|
We certainly don't recommend this game to those who dislike violence, gore, swearing, shaky-cam, a short single player mode, average multiplayer, or poor cover systems but despite all that it is still pretty fun while it lasts however with a single player experience of under 5 hours we really can't recommend this as anything other than a rental.
Review By: Dave Warner
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|GRAPHICS||It's gritty, shakey, blurry, error-filled, and exactly as the developers intended. Looks unique, and impresses overall.||90%|
|SOUND||Great effects and speech with good music at times too. Good surround sound too.||88%|
|GAMEPLAY||A fast paced, brutal, action title that keeps you hooked.||85%|
|VALUE||Single player is way too short at under 5 hours, but Arcade and Multi-player add some time.||50%|
|OVERALL||This isn't stuff for youngsters that's for sure, but it looks and sounds wonderful although it is criminally short. Worth a purchase if you play online often, and can cope with some issues, but probably a rental for most.||70%|