A serviceable shooter that makes great use of its mature themes.
Kane and Lynch through and through is a third person shooter. It has a few twists added in such as squad mechanics but overall it plays like many TPS's we've all gone through many a time before hand. The shooting isn't the best you'll find, but it's manageable enough that it can be satisfying to blow holes through the destructible cover and blast headshots through the unlucky law enforcement drones. The main issue with the shooting is the lack of any ''punch'' the guns give. Your enemies don't flinch at all like they feel no pain or something silly. It makes your sidearms borderline useless to begin with. The cover system it implements also plays a large factor in the game with Kane and Lynch being fairly formidable though still hardly a pair of bullet resistant tanks.
The cover system itself uses a ''sticky'' mechanic rather than a button press that requires you try and shimmy against an object and just hope you'll lean against it. It works for the most part though still will bring forth some needless frustration and maybe a few avoidable deaths at that.
The attainable weapons are all standard fare, with many a submachine gun, shotgun, assault rifle and even an RPG to be found amidst the 10 hour or so long story. Grenades are available and serve their purpose well enough, even if they have an incredibly underwhelming explosion. The squad mechanics that come into play aren't too useful, either. You have your usual three orders to give from ''follow, attack or defend''. Your squad AI isn't so bright, however, so you'll mostly find yourself keeping them back just so you're not forced to run into the line of fire to revive them. Lynch can at least be played by another human player - which is strongly advised - giving you some, hopefully, intelligent backup but you'll usually still have another two guys to keep track of. The cooperative play is also offline only which'll cause plenty of headaches for people who want to play this game the best as it is.
What the gameplay narrows down to is a unremarkable third person shooter with babysitting AI's and offline only coop. That alone makes its a very tough recommendation even for the more durable gamers out there. What it manages to make up with at least is the set pieces and its overall story that forces you to play through with these inadequacies. Plenty of great moments such as raiding a prison or fighting your way past limitless cops down a busy street to also making your way through a crowded club. If it wasn't for these fun situations the gameplay overall would be a total pass.
The story of it too is enjoyable, matching some gritty crime drama. Adam ''Kane'' Marcus is the lead character for this story. An Ex mercenary, he is heading to death row from the very beginning of the game. The secret Organisation known as The7, however, brakes him out at the last moment with Lynch becoming Kane's liaison. Kane is tasked with collecting a series of briefcases for The7 otherwise his family, who he abandoned for their safety, will be killed. Kane knows he's pegged for death no matter what happens so obviously the story will take a few expected turns as the game goes on.
The characters Kane and Lynch are the real highlights of the story. Kane is a, somewhat, sympathetic killer who can't wait for his untimely death. Lynch is a medicated psychopath but one who also started off as just an ordinary man. Both characters had the potential to live normal lives but where otherwise thrusted into this lifestyle through circumstances they had little control over.
The main game offers little replay value, though there do exist multiple endings but that can easily be wrapped up just by heading back into the final chapter. The game is is also relatively difficult even when playing on the default difficulty, especially when played solo. Playing with a friend can drastically help the game become less of a frustrating grind but even then the last few chapters are absolutely insane. There was also one particular scene where the game gives very little direction in what to do. Kane and Lynch are held at gunpoint mid-gameplay listening to the bad guys rant on and on as bad guys tend to do. Suffice to say...shoot the mine...
As I said before this is not a very pretty game. Infact it's an ugly one at times. The animations are alright except for the slippery animations of Kane's melee attacks. The character models for Kane and Lynch are also pretty good though the world they find themselves in looks blotchy and with very little detail. It's a neat touch that that alot of the smaller pieces of the environment can be destroyed, including cover. The sound design of it all fortunately gives a strong contrast. The voice acting is superb for the majority of characters, even if the script itself does use the F word far too loosely. Kane and Lynch again are the standouts when it comes to voice work both delivering excellent performances to help these characters stand out more beyond their killing habits.
The soundtrack aswell has alot of edgy techno tracks that fits the overall theme of the game perfectly. Giving doses of tension and otherwise setting up some plainly put cool scenes in the game.
The game also features a multiplayer component though as of this writing is shut down. As such the game only offers its 10 or so hour long story mode which features little replay value. But at the price this game can be found out it can still be worth it to get to know two of gamings most notorious criminals. There are much better cooperative shooters to be found but not many that strike the same amount of maturity with its content as Kane and Lynch: Dead Men.