PS3 Review – Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days

Kane & Lynch 2 is the follow up to the 2007 release Kane and Lynch: Dead Men. The first game, although sold well, suffered from a lack luster reception with a lot of critics complaining about control issues and the lack of online co-op. With the first game receiving less then stellar reviews can the sequel possible rectify most gamers concerns?

The story although short is rather compelling. This time you play as Lynch, a deranged psychopath, now living in Shanghai. The story opens with your old criminal friend Kane coming to Shanghai in order to get a deal that can help him get out of the crime game for good. As soon as Kane arrives Lynch needs to make a quick stop to rough up one an informant. Of course when they meet up with him everything goes wrong. A chase ensues and ultimately some people die that could cause some big issues for Kane and Lynch later on. After the altercation, you come to find out that someone close to Hsing, a powerful crime lord, was hurt and he is bent on getting revenge. Now you must save Lynch’s girlfriend, get the deal taken care of and escape Shanghai with your lives.

The gameplay in Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days is pretty basic. You run from room to room taking cover and killing enemies and then move on to the next room, and unfortunately that is all you do. There is no creativity at all, no variation to the gameplay you simply clear out a room and move onto the next. Now this wouldn’t be as big of an issue if they could of gotten the shooting right. Even though it is better then the first game it still does not feel smooth by any means. Guns are very inaccurate, hit detection is way off and in some cases you can aim a few inches above the enemies heads and still get a head shot. Also weapons are not very well balanced with the shotgun being so powerful that you can take down enemies from across a large room. As you play the game it does tend to get a little easier as you get used to the sloppy controls, but it never feels quite right.

Speaking of weapons, there is not a ton of variety. Sure there are a bunch of different guns, but they all are basically the same. There are a few different pistols, machine guns and shotguns with the occasional rifle thrown in, but that is it… no big guns like rocket launchers or grenade launchers. Also you can pick up propane tanks or fire extinguishers and throw them to blow stuff up which works well, but it would have been nice to have the option for grenades. I guess they were trying to make it more realistic, but you are literally killing hundreds of goons and police, so I think the realistic nature of the game went out the window long ago.

The level design is pretty decent with Kane and Lynch blowing there way through airports, warehouses and the streets of Shanghai. The issue I did find with the environments is its not always readily apparent where you should be going. Some of the environments are pretty large and other than a general hint button that will point you in the right direction every once in awhile, you tend to get stuck running in circles.

The enemies are also kind of bland. You will be running through countless thugs, police and eventually marines, but they all feel exactly the same. They never get any harder or act any different. Plus there aren’t any real boss like characters, so like stated above its just room after room of bland characters. The AI is actually pretty decent with the enemies using cover pretty well.

The graphics in Kane and Lynch were done as if someone was following you with a camera, so it’s a very YouTube quality grainy video-style visuals. This also can be a problem for some gamers as the camera bounces around a lot, so it may be a problem if you get motion sickness. What they did get right was the voice acting and sound effects. The characters all sound delightfully convincing, which does help to pull you into the story a little better. Each weapon sounds spot on, with glass shattering and wooden boxes blowing up around you adding to the effect.

Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days also comes packed with multiplayer. You can go through the story in either split screen or online with a friend. This will make your overall experience a lot better, but still has a hard time saving the game. Besides the co-op they also have a couple competitive multiplayer options. This is actually one of the few places Kane and Lynch shines. There are three modes in total.

Fragile alliance which has you and up to seven other players fighting your way through a heist. You will need to work together and make it through waves of cops in order to get to the stashed money and then onto the roof to catch a helicopter out or the area.

Where the mode takes a twist is at any point you or one of the other players can turn on your fellow teammates kill them and take their stash. Once you turn on your teammates though your name is highlighted for all other teammates to see, so make your move at the right time. Once you are killed you will then come back as a cop and it is your duty to kill your once teammates and keep them from getting away. This mode was a lot of fun as long as you were with the right group of player, but like most online games this depends on who is playing with you. I was in more then one match where everyone turned on each other within five seconds of starting the round or I simply would be caught with two players that would team up and kill me then take all the money. Sure this is the point, but when there is only three players in the game and two team up against you it is frustrating. That being said it still is the best part of the game.

Another mode, Cops and Robbers, is basically your standard deathmatch. The robbers are going for the money and will try and escape to the helicopter, and the cops must keep that from happening. The last mode is Undercover Cop, this mode is very similar to Fragile alliance except for the fact that there is one player that is designated the undercover cop, and will have to decide when to make his move. Again the criminals must escape and the cop must stop them. Overall, the online is by far the best part of the game and it brings a nice change to what is now standard online play for most games. The only problem is that its not very popular and you may have a hard time finding a game since not a lot of people are playing it. If you can get into one it is great, but you may end up waiting along time.

Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days suffers from many issues. Everything from choppy gameplay to bland character design plague what could have been a semi-decent title. Simply put, these are definitely dog days for Kane & Lynch and after this sequel, let’s hope they stay dead men.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

– Lackluster gameplay

– No variety in the enemies

– Multiplayer is fun but has its flaws

6 out of 10