mikeinsc's Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days (Xbox 360) review

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I Feel Nauseous...Not Due to the Camera, Though

 The original Kane and Lynch was a game with a great deal of promise that just could never get it together. The characters are amongst the most unlikeable in gaming (people mention the socoipathic tendencies in Rockstar protagonists or the whininess of Square protagonists...nobody does characters you dislike quite like K & L) and it makes any connection to them nearly impossible. There was potential there, especially with the great gimmick in their multiplayer, and the sequel was something I thought would be excellent.

Well, the sequel is out and I now anxiously await a non-Kane & Lynch future. The sequel is somehow LESS enjoyable than the original in single player...which takes some doing since the original was poor in single player mode. You get to play Lynch (aka the batshit crazy one) who has found some peace in life while living in Shanghai. Kane and he end up getting mixed up in some arms deal that goes bad and sends a major crime lord after the two. So, your goal is to get out of China.

And, visually, the game is amazing. You get a shaky cam by default, making the game look like a stereotypical documentary (note: I'm quite aware documentaries don't use shaky cams as a rule). Your screen pixellates with big explosions and sometimes you don't get a great bead on an enemy towards your enemy due to this camera.  The pixellation of head shot wounds is a really nice touch as it does make it seem more gory than it really is. The camera will freeze up after killing people on occasion, though, and that is a pain(reportedly, this is only a 360 issue)

In the end, single player is a tedious slog. You are constantly moving forward, so advancement is constant, but fun is lacking. You are noticeably less durable than the cannon fodder thrown at you. Your guns, outside of the shotgun, seem almost useless. You don't need to be He-Man, but being the weakest person out there is not a viable option. Your foes are freaky accurate. Firefights tend to be the worst cliches of 3d person cover affairs and the urge to bullrush ahead (which will kill you hard) is hard to suppress. Aiming isn't terribly great and simply rushing at you gives the AI a shocking advantage over you.

The game's strength, as in the original, is multiplayer. Fragile Alliance is still a very good MP mode where you and a series of other criminals perform a heist and try to escape. You can all work together and make some money each...or betray each other and take all of the cash. Thing is, with the volume of AI out there, the only time a betrayal can feasibly work is when you are waiting for the getaway van...and then you have everybody ready to kill you right there.

The one mode that works best is Undercover Cop. In this, its Fragile Alliance where one member is a cop and has to stop the heist from the inside. Its a lot of fun...but its only one mode in a few maps. It lacks MW2's polish or, well, fun factor.

Its been tried twice and failed. I have doubts that this franchise can work at all. I know I don't care enough to find out.

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