An uninspired mess
The most notable quality of Dog Days is the art style. Kane & Lynch 2's visual flair is the only thing that sets it apart from other games in the genre. The game looks like it was shot by a low-quality camera phone. There's a lot of artifacts and what appears to be intentional drop in frame rate when large explosions happen. It is a style that Kane & Lynch 2 can truly call its own, and is worth seeing. While running, the camera gets way too shaky. Its as if someone is following you around while trying to balance on a unicycle and drink beer at the same time. Thankfully, you can turn that off.
To the game's credit, Kane & Lynch 2 improves upon every mechanical aspect of the original game while streamlining the entire experience. Unfortunately in the process of making a better playing game, all the squad mechanics were thrown out the window. There aren't anymore heists or stealth-related missions, the entire game entails the player with moving from room to room shooting non-stop.This leaves the sequel as a standard third-person shooter.
I had a lot of reliability issues with the cover mechanics. You can't fluently switch between cover, anytime you want to progress you will have to fully expose yourself in most cases. Also, with the lack of grenades the enemies are rarely aggressive enough to flush you out. In addition to a shoddy cover system, Kane & Lynch 2's gun play is boring. Guns generally feel weak, and it doesn't help that all your enemies are bullet sponges. It really contradicts IO's aspiration to create a gritty “real” crime-drama when you can put half of a clip in a dude's head before he dies.
Kane & Lynch 2's story is also a train wreck. The voice performances are ok and you can totally tell someone put a lot of effort in trying to create an emotional tale. The bottom line is, it never works. The game doesn't give enough exposition. This combined with a cast of impossible to like characters makes me scratch my head whenever I see someone complement the narrative. It wasn't until half-way through the game I had a good grasp on what was going on. The plot boils down to two bad guys trying to escape China from a badder guy.
Also, there's multiplayer. It consists of the modes from the last game. Fragile Alliance groups players together, and they have to
utilize teamwork to steal money while fighting off hordes of cops. At any time, players can turn on one another and try to take all the money for themselves. This is a good idea on paper, but rarely works out to be anything fun. Games mostly result in one guy shooting everyone before the match even starts. Or at the very end it just turns into a five second deathmatch. Undercover Cop assigns one player as the cop. The cop goes to pull of a score with the criminals, but the undercover cop has to successfully kill the other players. Cops and Robbers pits two teams against each other in a objective based match. The multiplayer modes are all great on paper but fall apart due to repetitive AI spawns and the lack of maps.
You can easily finish Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days in five hours or less. With a short campaign that is just a cluster of kill rooms and multiplayer that wont hold anyone's interest for long, it is impossible to recommend this game. You might find some enjoyment in a rental to co-op through with a friend, or just download the demo to check out the unique visual presentation. Kane & Lynch 2 is yet another sub-standard 3 person shooter. I see a good game in there, but it never came to fruition. Unfortunately, this game is another case of a lot of great ideas that never pan out to anything meaningful.
-Steven Beynon (Epicsteve)