Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days Review
By - Craig H.
In Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days you follow Lynch who has settled in Shanghai and has been somewhat disconnected from Kane after the events of the first game. Lynch is now involved with a big arms deal that requires Kane’s experience and expertise. This requires Lynch to ask Kane to join him in Shanghai for this “easy” job. Of course nothing is as easy as it seems and things go bad, fast. Kane and Lynch are now smack-dab in the middle of a gang fight that they have only one objective….make it out of Shanghai alive (oh, and save Lynch’s girl). The game pushes you through the story and never lets up. There are no collectible or side missions in the game and you always have a sense of urgency which is exhilarating. The single player campaign comes in at an astoundingly short four hours (actually a little under for my playthrough). The game is non-stop action that will keep you amused the entire way through. The campaign can be played solo, via system link, local co-op, and online co-op.
The gameplay is a traditional third-person cover shooter. The game relies on your ability to get to cover and keep pushing forward. Unfortunately, the guns are either overpowered or utterly useless. The submachine guns are horribly inaccurate (even at point blank range) and the shotguns shoot like sniper rifles. I should not be able to shoot an enemy off a high ledge with a 12 gauge. Although this does not hurt the gameplay, it does pull you from what is suppose to be rooted in reality (I do use reality loosely). The cover system works well and certain cover (i.e wooden crates, etc.) will blow apart from enemy fire. The enemies in the game do a good job forcing you to continually move and all have marksmanship accuracy. I am not sure if this was done on purpose to keep the “sense of urgency” feeling of the game but it works.
The biggest new feature of Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is the striking visual presentation. The game is shot as if it where filmed by a handheld camera. The video looks as though it was a user made YouTube video (shaky footage and all). Some may think this is a bad thing but until you play it you will not understand what it does for the game. The game is meant to look gritty and unrefined. Those prone to motion sickness or are uneasy with the abrupt camera movements can turn off the shaky camera by selecting the “Steadycam” option from the pause menu.
The multiplayer has 3 different modes. The main mode, Fragile Alliance, is a return from the first game while the 2 new modes, “Cops and Robbers” and “Undercover Cop”, are variants on the main mode. Fragile Alliance has a team of robbers (you included) pulling off a heist worth $4 million. After stealing the valuables you must make it to your getaway vehicle before time expires (4 minutes) and escape. The exact amount you receive relies on how many people make it out alive. Players can also earn additional cash by killing policeman and “goons”. At any point members can turn on their teammates and become a “traitor”. Once you have become a traitor your gamertag will show up bright orange and all other members will know that you betrayed the team. Though this improves your cash count it will also put a big target on your back. Strategy will be a big part of Fragile Alliance. Cops and Robbers mode splits the team into two opposing factions. Half of the group are cops and the other half are robbers. The goal of the robbers is to pull off the heist and make it to the getaway vehicle while the goal of the cops is to stop all of the robbers. If you are a robber and die you do not respawn after death. The cops however have respawns and also have AI cops scattered through the map. After each round is over the teams switch sides. Undercover Cop mode selects one player at random to be the cop. The undercover cop is told, secretly, at the start of the match. The undercover cop must wait for a crime to be committed before he can start picking off his fellow group members. Unlike Fragile Alliance, the undercover cop is not listed as a “traitor” when he kills another group member (though it does tell the group when the cop is killed). This mode is the most intriguing of the bunch. Always having to look over your shoulder and wondering if a member is going to turn on you is a thrill.
An Arcade mode is included with package which is basically an offline version of Fragile Alliance. The arcade mode is set up in round form that increases in difficulty. Players are given 3 lives to survive as many rounds as possible. After each round is complete you can buy new weapons before launching the next round. The extra members of the heist are AI guided characters that do a good job holding their own against the enemies. Don’t think that they will not turn on you though, once you reach the later rounds they will try to betray you and take the cash for themselves. I do commend the developer, IO Interactive, for putting this game mode in. Those who do not have online gaming abilities will be able to try out the Fragile Alliance mode even though they don’t have the necessary connection to play online. Contrary to popular belief not everyone has a high speed internet option (whether it is unavailable in their area or just too expensive).
The game does suffer from a few multiplayer issues. One major gripe with the multiplayer is there is not enough variation on each map. The enemies will spawn in the exact same spot each round. So after you learn each map you will be able to shoot exactly where enemies will be (only half true in the Cops and Robbers mode since some cops are player controlled). This makes each map feel old after a few matches. Luckily the ability for players to become a traitor keeps things interesting. Second, while most games are pleasant, you will always have a match or two that you will have a player who decides to become a traitor and start shooting at the launch of the game. The last issue was getting into online games. I would “join” a game only to be booted because the game had already started. Instead of trying to automatically find a new match it would boot me back to the main multiplayer screen where I would have to reselect the modes that I want. This is not a huge issue but it happened enough to cause unneeded irritation.
Overall, Kane & Lynch 2 is a standard third-person shooter that falters in some key aspects but still provides a great deal of fun. The visual presentation is easily its best feature and is a joy to play. The multiplayer can get a bit old with the AI enemies spawning in the same locations every time but the ability to betray your teammates always has you looking over your shoulder. Those on the fence about this one should definitely give it a rent to see the visuals and try out the multiplayer...you may get hooked.
- Visual presentation is new and refreshing
- Online modes are fun and addictive
- Arcade mode is a great addition for those who cannot play online (or don’t want too)
- Campaign always has a sense of urgency that keeps you uneasy the entire time
- Campaign can be played solo, via system link, local splitscreen co-op, and online co-op
- Shaky camera can be switched to steady for those prone to motion sickness or find it unsettling
- Multiplayer maps get old with AI enemies spawning at the same points
- Only half the guns are actually worth using though overpowered. The other half are a waste of time (and bullets)
- Does little to expand on the third-person shooter genre
- Campaign can be completed in around 4 hours with no collectible or side missions