Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days
Reviewed by Brandy Shaul
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2010-09-06 Xbox 360 Shooter M (Mature) Eidos / Square Enix

The original Kane & Lynch was released amidst a whirlwind of controversy, which was undoubtedly given more attention than the gameplay itself. Look past the negative media blitz, however, and you had a game that failed to succeed in many respects – for one, the lackluster controls. Skip to now, and we see Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, a game that no doubt improves upon the original, but still isn't perfect.

Kane & Lynch 2 starts simply. Lynch has set up an arms deal with a British gangster named Glaser, and Kane travels to Shanghai to help execute the plan. Lynch has an errand to run first, though, which is where things immediately turn to shit as you watch your "errand" take a knife to his throat. A turf war erupts, with Kane & Lynch stuck in the middle, and you'll be sent down a fairly linear path from A to B, killing basically everything in your path that moves.

The first thing that becomes immediately apparent here is that the game is incredibly unforgiving. Rush too far ahead of Kane, and you’ll be turned into Swiss cheese from the machine gun fire tearing through you from six different directions. Cover is your friend - nay, an absolute necessity, and it is in your dedication in utilizing the game's cover system that is arguably the largest factor in determining whether or not you survive your ordeal. That and a little bit of luck.

Enemies are absolute sponges, soaking up bullet after bullet without being so much as dazed, while you or Kane can die in just a few shots, turning the tables upside down from the norm. This is mostly due to the fact that your starter weapons are absolute garbage, forcing you to pick up munitions from fallen enemies. The game is hard to start with, and while the weapon variety is decent, the lack of proper aiming to start makes things feel harder than they already would otherwise.

On the technical side of things, Kane & Lynch 2 excels graphically. The shaky-cam makes the cutscenes seem more real - as though you're tagging along through an experience that is actually happening, rather than an overly scripted Hollywood film. The entire look and feel of Shanghai is dirty, grimy and unkempt. The game is gory, filled with the expected overload of cursing, and if you play for long enough, you'll see the body count in front of you climb into the hundreds.

As for the multiplayer modes, they are a bit hit or miss, depending on your own expectations, as they add even more focus to the "find cover and only shoot with the coast is clear" ideology. Multiple modes are available, including Fragile Alliance (you'll work together until one player becomes greedy enough to make a break for it, which is the trigger for all hell to break loose), Cops & Robbers, and Undercover Cop (one player is assigned the role of the undercover cop, and must try to foil any plots before they succeed, while the true criminals must pick out the rat and eliminate them before their plan is ruined). Arcade mode is also available, but here the game takes those multiplayer modes and populates them with bots.

All told, the improved and simplistic controls make Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days an instant improvement over its predecessor, but the game's difficulty can almost be too much at times, which is a flaw just as glaring as the faulty controls in the first. Is the game horrible? It most certainly isn't. What Kane & Lynch 2 is, however, is an average third-person-shooter that will be best experienced as a rental, or when purchased after a price break.

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