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Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days Xbox 360 Review

Mark Botwright

Moderator & Reviewer
Reviewed by Ste Carter



Format – Xbox 360 (also available on PlayStation 3 and PC)
Developer – IO Interactive
Publisher – Eidos Interactive
Rating – 18 (BBFC)
Released – Out Now

Synopsis

According to some, boundaries are there to be pushed. This was no more so than in the case of the original Kane & Lynch. Some said it was unnecessarily violent, whilst the classifications board stamped a well deserved 18 label on it. Although inevitably, it fell into the hands of minors and there was an outcry of the violence children of today were seeing in video games. Despite this, and its universal flaws across all formats, IO Interactive have not been put off their stride. With a fresh batch of feedback from its predecessor, Dog Days aims to exceed people's expectations and deliver a cutting edge 3rd person shooter that will ignite their passion for the genre. Although having said that, it doesn't want to differ too much from the original as Dog Days will need to appeal to loyal returnees whilst also having a fresh feel.

With Kane & Lynch: Dead Men not being the big hit that IO were hoping for, it is expected that Dog Days hasn't been given the treatment of a strong advertising campaign. Although, as has been seen with games such as Singularity, this does not necessarily mean the game is a cheap knock-off.

IO is releasing its game into an already full market of third person shooters, so it will be standing amongst genre giants such as Gears of War and Uncharted on the PS3. Fans need not be worried though as you only need to look at the developer's history of creating the much loved Hitman series, so they know what the customer wants and needs in order to make a successful game. And it is unlikely that Square Enix will ship out a half-arsed game that they know will flop. But will people see through the charade and find Dog Days to be nothing more than a distraction from Hitman?


Lynch was always a big Die Hard fan

Presentation

The immediately striking feature of Dog Days is the unusual and unique style that the game has been produced in; a replicated 'Youtube' style buffered clip. This gives the impression that an overworked cameraman with a 5 mega pixel camcorder has followed the duo across Shanghai. When staring into a street full of shiny lights, the glare given off will distort the image and send lines down the picture just like on TV's etc. Initially this makes you think, “Cool I like it.” But after so long, the unsteady shooting can make you motion sick and inevitably you will turn it off with haste. It's a Marmite affair, some will love it whilst, I feel, the majority will hate it. The whole menu's, start up screen doesn't even escape from the Youtube makeover, they too wobble from motion and resemble a camcorder display.

Although the shooting style does have an initial wow factor, the overall graphics quality of the game lacks some of the grandeur that people have come to expect from new releases. Of course they are of a standard of the next gen, but in some areas they wouldn't go amiss in one of the 360's maiden titles.

As already stated, the previous iteration was full of generic expletives, gore and completely unlikeable characters. Well to that extent fans won't be disappointed. Upon loading the campaign, players are 'greeted' with a cut scene of the duo tied to chairs and being cut up by unknown gang members, clearly with the intent of killing them. Hand-in-hand with this goes random death threats and compulsive swearing, which, sadly, reflects how unlikeable the characters are in Kane & Lynch. This must have been done purposely as the only way you could possibly like them, is if you were a murdering psychopath yourself. But surely half of the appeal of these games is feeling a connection with the lead characters? Apparently not anymore, there are no emotional ties to be found here, just plain unadulterated brutality. Through the film-style appearance, violence/gore is toned down when a head shot is dealt; the enemies' heads transforms into a pixelated mess, but I feel this is down to laziness, in not wanting to create animations for such situations, along with the poor graphics.


Watch that mullet fly!​

There is a storyline to be found somewhere in Kane & Lynch, but this is so forgettable that it is barely worth mentioning. It goes something like this; Kane makes a deal in Shanghai that he needs to complete for no clear reason. They then proceed to put their feet in the sticky stuff by gunning down a kingpins daughter, which unsurprisingly, he does not take well. Although, the pair seem surprised by the amount of resistance they find as they cross the city. Which, I hasten to add, is very barren and does not buzz with activity like would be expected. K & L then battle through half the Shanghai police force in order to a) escape and b) find their old business partner.
 
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Mark Botwright

Moderator & Reviewer
Game Mechanics

The key to any successful shooter, be it first or second person, is a satisfying and functional shooting mechanic, which I'm afraid to say is not present here. The majority of guns that are found are infuriatingly inaccurate and have the effective damage capacity of a high powered super soaker. The shooting reticule gets wider as you shoot, which is normal, but then within this appear small crosses that indicate damage dealt to the enemy for some unknown reason. The only accurate guns are the handguns and occasionally the silenced assault rifle. Oh, and shotguns have suddenly become long range weapons. No matter how far away, the enemy will receive damage from a shell. Whilst in cover, these can be equipped with the 'y' button, without Lynch even lifting a finger. Magic.

There is some good to be found here though. The cover system isn't actually that bad and works quite well, apart from the fact that an enemy can always manage to shoot you from behind cover, despite the impossibility of it. This can get boring very quickly as Dog Days follows one rigid pattern of enter an area full of cover, kill anything that moves then move on to the next area. No objectives, no things to blow up or items to find in any of the levels. Inevitably, moving onto the next area always requires a door to be kicked in, lifted up or a wall to be scrambled over, all of which look frighteningly familiar.

Also looking very familiar are the enemies that you face. They either wear a police uniform, a ninja style SWAT outfit or an army ensemble. But the really obvious thing is that they have just been copied and pasted time and time again which is just pure lazy.


The John Woo directed AutoGlass advert was a little extreme​

As mentioned in the above paragraph, enemies can manage to pick out an inch of anatomy sticking out of cover without ever missing. As soon as you pop out of cover to pick an enemy off, the rest of them then proceed to fire on your position. The AI within K & L 2 isn't the smartest, which is probably a bit generous. The computer usually tries to outsmart and kill players in shooters by having cunning enemies that will flank and outmanoeuvre them. Here though, it seems as if the only way the player will be downed is through sheer overwhelming by the number of enemies faced in one given area. Being downed seems completely unnecessary too, as you can immediately stand back up again despite the amount of damage you have taken.

This brings me on to your useless partner, Kane, who seems to just get in the way or take a ridiculous amount of damage without ever being killed. You don't even get the chance to choose to play as him, team up with him in any way or either revive him or be revived by him. The only time he appears to help is when he is needed to lift garage doors.

Longevity

Games these days seem to be getting shorter and shorter and so much so that people feel that they don't justify a full 40/50 note price tag. But here, the shortness of the main game seems to be more of a blessing rather than leaving you wanting for more. By the time you're half way through the game (that's around 2 hours. Yes, two) you end up wanting the end of it to finally appear for your brain to stop being melted away from the mediocrity of it all. Therefore this gives the single player very little or no replayability whatsoever, unless you can force yourself to play through on extreme mode, which would be very surprising unless you're an achievement hunter.


Right Said Fred had fallen on hard times

The single player wouldn't be that bad if it actually did something new or refreshing, but fortunately it has a reasonably good multi player to save it from immediate resignation to the bargain bin. But even that is often ruined with lag blighting many of the lobbies that you enter. The campaign can be trawled through again in co-op with your friends in an attempt to gain the most money over the course of the level. Whilst other multi player modes include Cops and Robbers, which is probably the best of the bunch, this, as expected, sees two teams battle it out as different adversaries in an attempt to eliminate one another. These modes are solid and will keep your attention for a short while, but not long enough to keep a certain modern First Person Shooter out of your disc tray.

Final Thoughts

Kane and Lynch can be seen as nothing more than a gimmick whilst it will leave you praying that there is a new Hitman being created behind the scenes somewhere. Although the game isn't completely broken, it's not far from it. The true test of Dog Days' mettle is through this simple experience that I had; I had picked up a gas canister which I planned on throwing at the enemy, shortly followed by shooting it and eliminating them all in a fiery ball. All was well, until I was granted the achievement of acquiring five head shots in one clip/magazine of ammo. Figure that one out if you can, whilst being downed can even occur without you being shot at in an empty room, which will leave you looking for the offending oil spill or patch of black ice. If you liked the original game, I would recommend that you try before you buy and rent it first as you will more than likely be disappointed. If you didn't enjoy or play the first, well I suggest you stay well clear.

Dog Days.....
  1. Initial 'wow' factor
  2. Cover system works well


....are definitely over
  1. Broken shooting
  2. Shonky AI
  3. Uninspiring gameplay
  4. Unnecessary male nudity
 

Stephen Carter

AVF Games Reviewer
Cheers again Mark for posting :thumbsup:
 

Mark Botwright

Moderator & Reviewer
No problem mate. :smashin:

For anyone wondering, the splitting up into two separate posts is purely down to the new word limit being implemented by the forum.
 

Stephen Carter

AVF Games Reviewer
No problem mate. :smashin:

For anyone wondering, the splitting up into two separate posts is purely down to the new word limit being implemented by the forum.
So its not me rambling on thats meaning they have to be split then :laugh:
 

Ben Ingber

Well-known Member
Kane and Lynch can be seen as nothing more than a gimmick whilst it will leave you praying that there is a new Hitman being created behind the scenes somewhere.
Ain't that the truth. I find it almost unbelievable the devs of Blood Money could be behind this nonsense.

Ben
 

Stephen Carter

AVF Games Reviewer
Ain't that the truth. I find it almost unbelievable the devs of Blood Money could be behind this nonsense.

Ben
OXM UK gave this 9/10, its all personal preference but when so many people agree that the game is bad, then i guess it really is quite poor. Just gotta hope n pray that Hitmanb 5 is the shizz
 

Ben Ingber

Well-known Member
OXM UK gave this 9/10, its all personal preference but when so many people agree that the game is bad, then i guess it really is quite poor. Just gotta hope n pray that Hitmanb 5 is the shizz
Problem is, we're spoiled for choice these days. With so many titles released all the time, it's difficult to recommend something like Kane and Lynch 2 (even though the campaign is super-short). I just didn't have much fun with it.

But yeah, personal preferences and all that. I can totally see why someone would think of it a bit of a romp and not have too many complaints.

By the way, I've shamelessly nicked your signature. Hope you don't mind. If you want me to change it, let me know.

Ben
 

Stephen Carter

AVF Games Reviewer
Problem is, we're spoiled for choice these days. With so many titles released all the time, it's difficult to recommend something like Kane and Lynch 2 (even though the campaign is super-short). I just didn't have much fun with it.

But yeah, personal preferences and all that. I can totally see why someone would think of it a bit of a romp and not have too many complaints.

By the way, I've shamelessly nicked your signature. Hope you don't mind. If you want me to change it, let me know.

Ben
Ah i was wondering who the new phantom reviewer was, welcome to the forums. No worries about the signature, its encouraging more people to come look at our work so it helps us all in the long run :) To be fair, mines just my own spin on Marks and Leons (new high street shop name there?) combined so i cant really take the credit for it lol. Nice reviews btw, good way to make a start :smashin:
 

Ben Ingber

Well-known Member
Ah i was wondering who the new phantom reviewer was, welcome to the forums. No worries about the signature, its encouraging more people to come look at our work so it helps us all in the long run :) To be fair, mines just my own spin on Marks and Leons (new high street shop name there?) combined so i cant really take the credit for it lol. Nice reviews btw, good way to make a start :smashin:
Thanks and right back at you, read through a lot of your stuff before I contacted Mark. I'm really excited to have joined. Cracking site, cracking community. Couldn't ask for more.
 

Stephen Carter

AVF Games Reviewer
Thanks and right back at you, read through a lot of your stuff before I contacted Mark. I'm really excited to have joined. Cracking site, cracking community. Couldn't ask for more.
Cheers mate, and youre spot on; best online forum and community ive come across. I originally joined for help on my PS3 HDD upgrade, then there were reviewer positions going and the rest is history. Looking forward to the podcast starting up too, the movies one is very good so hopefully we can replicate its success.
 

ODB_69

Distinguished Member
Cheers mate, and youre spot on; best online forum and community ive come across. I originally joined for help on my PS3 HDD upgrade, then there were reviewer positions going and the rest is history. Looking forward to the podcast starting up too, the movies one is very good so hopefully we can replicate its success.

Perhaps you can convert him and the other reviewers to the joys of Surround Sound etc?

Carter - seriously...who do we have to ask to get this actioned? To me you cant review a modern game fully unless you have a decent setup. I seriously think Game reviews should have a similar setup as the film reviews (picture/graphics/sound/story/gameplay etc) and in some games Surround Sound makes a lot of difference (try playing Dead Space with the surround on all alone in the dark and see what I mean)
 

Guns_LotsOfGuns

Moderator/Games Reviewer
Perhaps you can convert him and the other reviewers to the joys of Surround Sound etc?

Carter - seriously...who do we have to ask to get this actioned? To me you cant review a modern game fully unless you have a decent setup. I seriously think Game reviews should have a similar setup as the film reviews (picture/graphics/sound/story/gameplay etc) and in some games Surround Sound makes a lot of difference (try playing Dead Space with the surround on all alone in the dark and see what I mean)
What makes you think we arent playing games in surround sound?
 

ODB_69

Distinguished Member
What makes you think we arent playing games in surround sound?

the lack of surround sound discussion in the game reviews...I cant think of any review on AVF that has mentioned it off hand. I know in Carters case he has only recently started using surround sound when gaming.

I've started a thread about it here -
http://www.avforums.com/forums/forum-feedback-news-archive/1364780-game-reviews.html#post13504917

EDIT - ACTUALLY it seems you may be the only one Guns that has - From your Black Ops review:

Sound is a mixed bag, those running 2.1 setups may not notice but those with 5.1 setups and/or headphones may register issues with directional sound, a key component when hearing an enemy which can often be a better warning than actually seeing them. While the sound mix might not be perfect the music used in the single player campagn hits all the right notes, the Vietnam levels demanded and received some classic tunes from the era and gameplay is often puntuated with music to fit the mood; an incursion in a military base will be supported by the usual crunching guitars whereas a WW2 era flash back will be accompanied by some more appropriate swelling orchestra and choir harmonies. The music does its job perfectly, standing out where it makes the most impact and integrating into the atmosphere when it's not the focus.

Fair play for putting it in but I think it should be a bigger thing personally with a bigger write up. What you've put is good but makes me want to know more (if I didnt know from playing it myself). Those RC's can be heard a mile off when using a 5.1 and had defo saved me a few times
 
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Ben Ingber

Well-known Member
Perhaps you can convert him and the other reviewers to the joys of Surround Sound etc?

Carter - seriously...who do we have to ask to get this actioned? To me you cant review a modern game fully unless you have a decent setup. I seriously think Game reviews should have a similar setup as the film reviews (picture/graphics/sound/story/gameplay etc) and in some games Surround Sound makes a lot of difference (try playing Dead Space with the surround on all alone in the dark and see what I mean)
I think the 'him' is me, and I don't need converting -- I've explained in full in the other thread.
 

Stephen Carter

AVF Games Reviewer
i thought this game was really poor,...not worht getting at all
Depends how much of an achievement hunter you are, although youd struggle to find enough people online to do all the online ones.
 

ODB_69

Distinguished Member
I didn't think too much of it either.
i thought this game was really poor,...not worht getting at all
Contender for worst game of 2010 if you ask me....


I thought it was alright...well worth the price I paid! I even had to re-buy due to my baby daughter scratching the original and I still wouldnt moan about it. Not really played online but hear its quite good when you get into it.

Plenty of others liked it too if you take a peep at the play and help thread and for the current price of around £5 its an absolute bargain

Have played much less entertaining games than this with more errors and problems....I didnt encounter too many problems
 
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