I have finally played Kane and Lynch 2 and I have some things to say about it. Eagerly awaiting it's release I ended up not picking it up when it was released at the end of the summer. I was in the middle of other stuff and it had to wait. With the Thanksgiving sale on Steam it was only 5 bucks and I decided to finally grab it and give it a go. I was in the minority and thought the first Kane and Lynch was a flawed gem of a game. While the gameplay wasn't the best the story and characters were fantastic, with Kane and Lynch being two of my favorite characters ever. What did I think of the sequel? Read on to find out!
In this installment in the Kane and Lynch saga you're playing as Lynch who after the events of the first game is living in Shanghai and he's found himself a new lady love. Apparently Lynch is still up to his old tricks running with a crew and doing bad things. Tasked with smuggling some weapons he calls up Kane to come and help. From what the game says they haven't really spoken since the events of the first game but Kane comes anyway to do one last job and finally retire from a life of crime. Let's just say this doesn't really work out for them and a bunch of stuff goes sour which leads them through 48 hours of hell in the city of Shanghai.
Like the first game Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days is a cover based third person shooter. You hide behind cover and shoot at guys as you make your way through various areas around the city. The first noticeable difference from the first game is the aiming is improved. It's still not on par with other shooters but it feels a lot better this time around. There are still accuracy issues with a lot of the guns just not hitting anything when you fire at something. The aiming reticule does this shrinking thing when you hold your aim a bit letting me think your next shot will be more accurate but you still miss half the time. When you get rifles later in the game it's better but it can be a pain when you need to take people out from range.
The squad mechanics of the first game are gone from this one. You always have Kane with you but you cannot command him to do anything. He will fight beside you and get downed on occasion but he will get back up on his own. If you go down you have the option to hit a button and jump back up into near by cover to regenerate your health. The AI for Kane is decent and he will actually help you kill people which is good as in many of these games the AI never helps.
The visual style of this game is amazing. It's done as though you are behind Lynch filming what they're doing. You get light artifacts and sound glitches as you you hit and from large explosions. One part in particular near the beginning of the game has the camera just take a dump and go crazy after a large explosion, I would of liked to see more stuff on this scale in the rest of the game but it never happens to that level again. Even in cut scenes the camera is always in a position as though someone is holding it and it's always well done. The hold handy cam footage gives the game a dirtier feel to it. It's make the already grim stuff you do feel even more grim, making it seem like you're watching some internet death video. They use mosaic to edit out some of the more brutal stuff, headshots get the mosaic effect as does any genitalia that happens to be shown. But the most gruesome part of the game is not censored and this game earns it's M rating.
A major complaint I've heard is about the length and I see why. Three hours, yeah three hours. It took me three hours to finish Kane and Lynch 2. SO right of the bat it's WAY to short! I didn't play it on the Extreme difficulty as I was so interested in seeing what happened I decided I just wanted to get through the game and I did exactly that. I blazed through it in the aforementioned three hours. I have gone back to play it on Extreme and the game is just down right cheap on that level. Enemies can head shot you from no where and they take to many shots to kill. Being with the inaccurate guns it's just a pain to try and get through it. It seems it's balanced for the online co-op the game has not balanced to be soloed.
Speaking of online this game does have online co-op unlike the first game. Fragile Alliance also makes a return. In Fragile Alliance you play on a team of criminals trying to get away with a heist. After you loot the cash you can then decide if you want to turn on each other or still fight as a team. This also includes an Arcade Mode which is basically Fragile Alliance as a single player game with bots. What I do like is the money and rank carries over so you can build up some cash solo then go online and not have to be outgunned because you can't afford to buy the guns as this has a Counter Strike like weapon upgrade system where each round you can buy more guns with the stolen cash. I've only played a little of the Arcade Mode and it's fun but i have yet to try the online modes.
In the end Kane and Lynch 2 is fun but it's really too short. The story isn't the greatest thing ever. It has some nice moments that remind you just how messed these guys lives are and the basic interaction between Kane and Lynch is great. As flawed as they are they are truly two great characters with terrific voice actors. I'm going to kind of blame the weak story on the fact this game focuses on Lynch instead of Kane. After the first game I just see Lynch as a good supporting character not the lead guy. But I do understand that the first game was Kane's story and this one is Lynch's but it had problems. I hope if they do a part three they go back to focusing on Kane and just let Lynch be his crazy self in supporting role.
If the first game had looked and played like this one I think IO would of had a big hit on their hands not just a cult hit. Story wise the first game is way better and mechanically the second game blows it away. I will play any other Kane and Lynch games but we'll see what the future holds for these two dudes.
Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days - 6 out of 10