Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days Second Opinion GamingSurvival Review
By - Richard J
Back in 2007, IO Interactive released a new third person shooter IP to the market titled Kane & Lynch. Despite Kane & Lynch: Dead Men -- the series first game -- having much build up to its release, it ended up receiving very mixed reviews. Many reviewers felt the game was too ambitious, and ended up falling short. With the upcoming release of Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, many were hoping that IO Interactive could finally fix its shortcomings and produce the product they always wanted. Now that the game has been released, does it fulfill everyone's expectations, or end up falling flat once again?
In Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, Lynch has taken up residence in Shanghai China. Originally the more sane of the duo, Lynch has now become a self-medicating psychopath living with his girlfriend Xiu. Although he is trying to escape his criminal past by living this lifestyle, Lynch eventually comes to a point where he wants to pull off one last heist. Kane, his old partner in crime, agrees to complete this last heist with Lynch. While it appears to Lynch that Kane is just there to help him, Kane's true motivation is to get enough money to help his daughter. This heist seems simple to the duo, but their short fused tempers cause them to accidentally murder the daughter of the king pin of the Chinese underworld. Kane & Lynch quickly find themselves alone and the target of everyone. Their only goal is to get out of Shanghai in anyway other than a coffin.
While I did thoroughly enjoy the story in Dog Days, I felt that it could have been told better. All of the major plot points appear to be rushed, and the story in between seems to be lacking. Most of the story is told through one-sided conversations during loading screens, and small cutscenes between gun battles. While on paper it looks like a lot, it really isn't when you experience it first hand. The phone conversations are too short, as are the cutscenes. For example, the story of the build up to the "big heist" is completely lacking. You always know what is happening, but you are never presented with any details. Nor is the purpose of the unnamed NPCs fighting beside you at the beginning of game explained. Worst of all, Dog Days is capped off with a sudden and unsatisfying ending that is very predictable.
Gameplay in Dog Days is basic, third person cover based shooting. You snap to cover, kill everyone you see, pick up their weapons, and run to the next cover setup. Dog Days sticks to this generic description and never let's go. Only the third last mission in the single player campaign differs from what I explained. Much like the story, the gameplay becomes very predictable. When Lynch yells "Kane, we got 'em", you know there will be a path to run down in order for the game to save the checkpoint. Once you reach the next section with the cover areas all setup, you wait for Lynch to say "Kane, there's more" and watch as a group of enemies pour out and jump to cover. This same setup happens so frequently that it becomes monotonous.
If this sounds like something you would immensely enjoy, there is one other thing that may be the stick in your spokes. The guns in Dog Days are horribly unbalanced. Yes, IO Interactive managed to mess up one of the most important parts of a third personshooter. For the most part, any sub machine guns you pick up are completely useless. These guns will just wildly run through clips of ammo without hitting any enemies. The only truly effective weapons are shotguns. This leads to some frustration in tight situations. Most gamers will be able to get through the twelve campaign chapters with ease.
Graphically Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days looks fantastic. Apart from the gorgeous character models and environments, Dog Days does something that is quite unique. While playing, it feels like you are watching everything from the perspective of someone filming the action on a cheap video camera. The view is filled with distorted colours, missing pixels, and overall grit. For a game as dark and grimy as Dog Days, this looks fits the game perfectly. If you are going to put out the money to play Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days for any reason, let it be for the outstanding visuals that any gamer should see.
Dig Days' audio sets up a great atmosphere for the game. The soundtrack that plays through the menus and parts of the single player campaign sets up the Shanghai setting perfectly. As for voice acting, Kane's voice retains the same borderline insane feel. Lynch being a psychopath is presented well with his voice acting, especially when he begins to mumble things to himself during intense gun battles. What sets the atmosphere the best though is the overall sounds of China that can be heard while running through the streets. One great thing about the linearity of Dog Days is how it feels like you are in a living, breathing version of Shanghai.
With a focus on multiplayer, Dog Days has a huge amount of replay value. Although you can replay any of the chapters from Dog Days' campaign, most will want to skip that and go straight to the multiplayer modes. The three multiplayer modes in Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days are Fragile Alliance, Undercover Cop, and Cops & Robbers. Undercover Cop and Cops & Robbers are variants of the original Fragile Alliance formula, but stand up well on their own.
In Fragile Alliance, your team is attempting a heist while also escaping from the police. Everyone starts at one location of the map, and must kill all of the cops protecting the money. Once all of the cops are killed, each member of the team attempts to grab as much cash as possible. Once all of the cash is gone, the team must fight through the rest of the cops to the pick-up area. While fighting through the cops, any members of the team who are killed loose their money and must help the cops to kill your team. To make the situation more hostile, at any time a member of your team can turn on the rest of the team and keep all of the money for themselves. When one of the team members turn, their Gamertag is highlighted which causes the rest of the team to try and kill them. Members of the team who escape with cash can use it to buy weapons for the next round.
Undercover Cop follows a very similar formula as Fragile Alliance. Instead of having any teammate publicly turning on the rest of the team, one of the team members are secretly told that they are the "Undercover Cop". That team member must secretly kill the rest of the team. In Cops & Robbers, players fullfil the role of both cops and robbers in a situation that is just like Fragile Alliance.
These multiplayer modes are incredibly fun and unique. Unfortunately, their awesomeness is taken down a few pegs by the fact that there are only six maps. Also, most of the maps aren't very unique which causes their replayability to slow down a bit.However if you love the concept, and can get over the repetitiveness, you could spend a ton of time playing the Dog Days multiplayer. I predict that this game will at least have some kind of community a couple of years from now. Yes, this multiplayer is that fresh and unique.
There is no other way to say it: Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is a disappointment. I was hoping for a great single player along with gameplay mechanics that were vastly improved from Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. IO Interactive had something to prove to gamers, and they ultimately fell short. Despite it being a disappointment, I still recommend that gamers at least rent it to experience the great visuals, atmosphere, and multiplayer modes. However, buying it for a full $60 at retail just does not make sense. With a four hour campaign, Dog Days is exactly what a rental should be.
- Fantastic visuals
- Very atmospheric
- Fresh and unique mutliplayer
- Perfect rental
- Campaign takes on four hours to complete
- Guns are unbalanced
- Gameplay becomes repetitive
- Disappointing package overall
Rating - 6.5/10