By Protome 13 Comments
Okay, let me start this by making on thing very very clear.
Kane & Lynch 2 is not a great game. Hell, it's barely a good game. The story isn't particularly interesting, the gameplay is solid but generic, etc etc. It's pretty much the definition of "okay."
That said, everyone should play it.
And the sole reason? The graphics.
Far be it for me to be the person who judges games for graphics rather than gameplay, but what Kane & Lynch 2 does graphically isn't just good looking (in fact, at times it looks intentionally shitty) but it's important for our industry as a whole.
Kane & Lynch 2 marks one of the few really innovative uses of an art style in this generation. Most of the games have been "SUPER HIGH RES TEXTURES" this and "4 BAJILLION POLYGONS" that. And don't get me wrong, there have been other games that have tried art styles that have been great too such as Mirror's Edge's utterly stunning use of primary colours, or Borderland's unique blend of hand-drawn textures and current generation shading techniques.
So what does Kane & Lynch 2 do graphically that makes it so different and interesting? Why is it important? The first is easier to answer. K&L2's entire game takes place through the eyes of neither Kane, nor Lynch. It is all shown through the low-quality camera lens of a third nameless protagonist (who is never actually interacted with bar one scene in the game, which is kinda weird.) The direct result of this is some crazy filters and a really strange camera shaked that doesn't follow the character you control properly (on purpose) and an very gritty and often brutal game in a way no other game has done. The brutality isn't always portrayed by what you see, but often by what you don't see. Yes, there's a scene where you see Lynch naked, being cut open many times by a utility knife, and yes, that's pretty brutal. What is more brutal though is knowing that you've seen that but that when you shoot someone in the face the game refuses to let you see it. It all gets pixelated and the game lets your imagination fill in the blanks. Comparing what you can't see to what you've already seen allows your imagination to assume the worst, that you have done horrible horrible things to this person with a single bullet.
There's more than that too, K&L has a bag of great filters and it knows when to use them. When you get shot the screen pixelates and gets covered in artifacts as though the camera recording it was breaking. Also, natural light sources break and smear across the screen, again adding to this idea that the entire game is filmed via the camera of some third unknown character.
I feel that this is important to the industry because it IS something new. In an industry that is largely growing more and more stale by the year, at least graphically, more and more developers NEED to try to make their games stand out more. K&L2 is not a game you would ever mistake for something else. You won't ever look at it and go "Oh, it's uh...you know that third person shooter...Uncharted?" because it looks nothing like anything else in the genre.
The game itself is not great, and is super short as well, but everyone should see these graphics on their TV or monitor in motion, when being directly manipulated. If the games industry is ever going to catch up with the movie industry in terms of storytelling (or even surpass it as interaction allows it to), it needs to embrace more alternative art styles that fit stories better. Just making a game look as high quality as possible should not be the focus, making them look as fitting for the story should be.Anyone else agree with me? Or is my crazy rant just my opinion and nothing more? ;p