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

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Worse than the original, if you can believe that.

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men was not a particularly well-received game. It was criticized for it's weak gameplay (Especially the broken cover system), half-assed story, unlikable characters, depressing tone and laughable profane-ridden dialogue that would make Tony Montana blush. There was also the infamous incident where Jeff Gerstman was allegedly fired from Gamespot after the game a negative review while Eidos Interactive had purchased advertisements all over the site. This PR disaster pretty much overshadowed everything else about the game.

So I have to admit, a sequel to this game was something I definitely didn't see coming. Given the mediocrity of the first game the the bad publicity of the Gamespot incident, it's not like there was much of a demand for a follow-up. What's next, a sequel to Vampire Rain? How about Bullet Witch 2? But Maybe IO interactive had learned their lessons from the first game. Maybe they were going to blow us away with a much stronger follow-up. Hey, it's happened before. Look at Killzone 2.

So I approached Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days with an open mind and judged it on its own merits. Did it deliver?

No. In fact, it was even worse than the first game.

Set a few years after the first game, Lynch is living in Shanghai with his girlfriend. He contacts his old partner, Kane, to assist him with an arms deal. Kane vows this will be his last job before leaving his life of crime behind him. As you probably guessed, the dead goes terribly wrong the Kane and Lynch find themselves with the entire Shanghai criminal underworld trying to kill them.

Let's start with the good points. Or rather, good point. The game has an interesting and unique look. It looks like the whole thing was filmed in a small digital camcorder and put up on YouTube, complete with the occasional bad digital effects that would result if something like this were actually being filmed. the one major downside, is that the game's frequent shaky-cam can only give you motion sickness, it can make the action pretty hard to follow which is difficult when you're trying to keep from getting shot.

The cover mechanics are somewhat of an improvement over the original. Unfortunately, you can't blind-fire, which would've come in handy on occasion. you have a variety of guns at your disposal, but no grenades. You can occasionally throw a gas canister and shoot it, but that's it. The enemy AI is pretty spotty. Sometimes, the enemy will just suicide-charge into your line of fire. other times, they'll just stay behind cover until you run right next to them, unaware they're still alive, and they kill you. The pedestrian AI is particularly laughable since you can just charge through the streets carrying guns and they'll just act like its no big deal. The action is very repetitive. Aside from one stage where you're shooting from a helicopter, the whole game is just charge into an area, shoot everyone, charge into another area, shoot everyone and repeat the process.

Although, the game is set in Shanghai, it could have been set pretty much anywhere. You mostly spend the game in bland, generic back alleys, warehouses and abandoned buildings. Aside from a few brief moments in city streets, I didn't really feel like I was in Shanghai.

The story and characterization manage to be even worse than the original. There was no real chemistry between Kane and Lynch. If I was unfamiliar with the first game and came into this sequel knowing nothing about them, I'd be just as clueless by the game's ending.

Speaking of the ending, there isn't one. I'm serious. After beating the last stage, the screen goes black and the credits roll. Remember the days of the NES/Sega Genesis where you'd go through all the trouble of beating a game and all you'd be rewarded with was the word "Congratulations!" on a black screen followed by a list of credits? That's what it felt like. That's one aspect of the golden age of gaming that never had to make a comeback!

Sound effects are decent. So is the voice acting, even if the dialogue doesn't give the actors much to work with.

To cap it off, the game only provides four hours of gameplay on the single player campaign. You read that right,

four hours

! Maybe five if you're lucky. And keep in mind, this isn't a budget title. They're charging $60 for this game! How's that for getting little value for your money?

Suffice to say, you can skip this game.
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