Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days Review

By on September 12, 2010

It certainly goes to the dogs.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

Having had the pleasure of reviewing the first Kane & Lynch game and living to tell the tale, I decided to snap up this year’s sequel, Kane & Lynch: Dog Days to see how the game had changed since the first one. I’m happy to report that I wasn’t disappointed – this turned out to be just as bad as the first game, with some minor changes in the game.

The game centers around two mad characters – Kane and Lynch. While the first game saw them pulling off heists and robbing banks, Dog Days sets a more different tone. This time around you’re in Shanghai, where Lynch has been medicating himself back to reality whilst mingling within the city’s underbelly. Promising ‘one last job’ to his dear buddy Kane, the two meet up to go finish this one job, and of course all hell breaks loose.

To say that Dog Days is a shooter would be an understatement – the term “rampaging lunatic” would be a better fit. The motto of the game should have been “Shoot first, then shoot it again, keep shooting, then ask questions”. Bodies seem to pile up as you progress, be it in an abandoned building, in the middle of a highway, or in the middle of a fish market at night. Violence is a-plenty here, and there are plenty of imaginative ways to take care of your enemies – my favorite has been throwing a fire extinguisher and then shooting it so it explodes in a puffy white cloud of death.

But my sadistic mind aside, there only seems to be one purpose in the game – shoot anything and everything that comes in your way. The constant hail of bullets heading in all directions is enough to keep any trigger-happy gamer occupied for at least a good 20 minutes, after which you realize that there’s nothing really interesting about the gameplay. Sort of like buying a bucket of KFC and then discovering that someone already dived in and ate all the skin. Ok, weird analogy but the feeling is the same – you dive into the game hoping to find some kind of satisfaction, but it never seems to deliver. Sure, the gameplay isn’t spread all over the place, but there must be more to the game than the endless shooting and trying to figure out why certain people want you dead.

While the story is executed decently with appropriate cussing and cutscenes, the presentation of the game has much to be desired for. The city is recreated with great detail, with litter-strewn back alleys, noisy food markets, and busy commuters brushing by as you walk through the streets. It’s a fairly genuine experience that is soon ruined by the shockingly bad camera handling. The game is presented through a ‘third eye’ kind of perspective, as if there is an invisible cameraman running after our heroic duo as they traipse through the city. Except the cameraman never had any formal training and as such has probably fixed the camera to a stick with duct tape and is running around blindfolded. The camera is so bad that after 20 minutes I had to put my controller down or take a Panadol. The jerky motion is just awful and plays havoc with the game – it’s like if someone stabbed me in the eye and I was running to the nearest clinic while my neck had been replaced by an out-stretched slinky. Thankfully, this crap camera can be turned off from the settings, which is a saving grace.

The other truly unbearable thing is the cover system, an issue that hasn’t been addressed from the first game. It takes a good amount of time for your character to snap into position behind cover, which is often hard to do when you’re being shot at from fifteen directions. Even when you do manage to duck behind a car for example, some bullets seem to magically bore through and hurt you anyway, which is extremely annoying.

The game of course features some sort of fractured multiplayer modes, possibly to lure people into a false sense of wanting to play the game with other people. There is ‘Fragile Alliance’ where you have four minutes to rob a bank of as much money as you can, with the opportunity of betraying your team mates to get a larger cut of the winnings. Of course, should you get caught, you die and are respawned as a police officer. ‘Cops and Robbers’ is exactly the same thing except with no AI members, and a third multiplayer mode ‘Undercover Cop’ sees you playing as a mole trying to stop the robbery. This all seems fine, but you’ll need to cope with some wonderful lag that happens frequently, and I played this on a 24Mbps connection. There are more multiplayer unlockables to be found via purchased DLC, but it’s hard to think if anyone would actually buy extra content for this game.

Kane & Lynch: Dog Days is an improvement on the first game in a few areas, but the horrible camera, short campaign and uninteresting DLC make it at best a rental game. While some gamers will appreciate the copious amounts of gore, nudity, and swearing that goes on, it gets old really fast.

The Scorecard
Running and shooting is all you’re ever doing. That and getting shot at. Frequently.
Shanghai is respectfully recreated as a living, breathing city bustling with life.
Bullets and swearing is all you seem to hear. Headphones are recommended.
With limited-value DLC and laggy multiplayer, there are certainly better games out there in this genre.
If you can have a lag-free game, the multiplayer modes are good fun when you turn traitor.
Could have been an improvement from the first, but fails to win anyone over.


A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys hurling fireballs and tinkering with the latest gadgets. Follow him on Twitter as @theregos

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