Review – Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days

Welcome to Shanghai. Where the streets are dirty and the cops are even worse. Kane & Lynch are back in the 2nd installment for the next generation of consoles, and the action is filled with guns and gore (albeit blurred).

Kane, the ex-mercenary, is in town to assist Lynch with an arms deal that will set them both up for a long time, but Lynch has to play tough guy to the wrong person, and someone’s daughter pays the price. All of Shanghai including the corrupted government now wants both of them dead, and they will come after them relentlessly. Other than his life, Kane doesn’t have much to lose. Lynch on the other hand, has a brand new lifestyle, complete with girlfriend, right here in Shanghai that is now on the line. Maybe Lynch should have stuck with the arms deal and not stopped off at a thugs place to strong arm him.

The graphics and video for the game seem to be a ‘love it or hate it’ item by all players. The game uses a documentary style camera similar to the likes of ‘The Blair Witch Project’, but the shaky camera effect can be turned off leaving just the filtered video effect in place. The look and feel of the game give it a sense of realism not seen anywhere else in a video game to date. The environments are well designed and clearly show a side of Shanghai most have never seen before. Seedy alleyways and low rent apartments are in your main path, with fancier places later in the game as you work towards the big boss man.

The gameplay for K&L 2 is much improved over the first title, and is very intuitive and easy to learn. The cover system is simple, but effective, just keep in mind that almost all areas usable for cover are also destroyable. Keep moving or you’ll keep dying. Keep an eye out for ammo, and stock up when you can. Running out of bullets is never a good thing. If you do run out, you can always grab some bad guy and take his handgun away. He’ll also work great as a human shield and you can just pop him and toss him like garbage when you’re done with him.

Along with destructible environments, there are also items you can throw and shoot that will explode and take out a handful of bad guys at a time. Keep your eyes out for gas cans, fire extinguishers, and acetylene tanks, as these are key weapons. If you see one, chances are you will be needing it shortly so make a mental note of its location. The firearms in the game range from a small silenced pistol (almost useless) up to a full on Rambo style machine gun (that’s what I’m talking about) that holds 200 rounds and kicks some major butt. The effectiveness of each weapon varies and you’ll soon learn which ones to keep, and which ones aren’t worth the time to grab.

There are several different types of bad guys, and they vary in terms of how hard they are to kill. Everyone in the game that has a gun is your enemy. From street cops all the way up to paramilitary soldiers. Kill ’em all and keep moving forward. There are also a couple of helicopters you’ll have to take down, but just find the big machine gun and they wont stand a chance.

K&L 2 also brings a multiplayer experience with voice chat.

Fragile Alliance

  • Celebrated multiplayer experience based on Greed, Betrayal & Revenge, extended with more risk and more rewards. Work together as a team to escape with as much loot as possible, within a four minute time period. Players will need to move fast, if they decide to turn on the team and make off with the money on their own. If you die you respawn as a cop to prevent the heist. Up to eight players.

Undercover Cop:

  • Adds an extra level of paranoia to Fragile Alliance as teams are infiltrated by a mole set to stop the alliance. Up to eight players.

Cops & Robbers

  • Creates a new team-mode dynamic with Robbers trying to protect their loot and Cops trying to retrieve it. Up to 12 players.

There’s an arcade mode for practicing your Fragile Alliance mode, and the money and rank you earn carries over, so jumping in that first would be a great idea. You can also play through the story via online co-op or split screen co-op.

Kane & Lynch 2’s storyline is very streamlined and short. Expect 5 or so hours if you play on Hard (probably 8-10 if you play on Extreme as you will be killed many, many times). The story itself plays out well and the writers did a good job tying in everything. The commentary between K & L is witty at times, sarcastic at others, but always entertaining.

IO Interactive takes a bold and gritty new look at the shooting genre with ‘Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days’, and excels. It’s a definite step up from the first title of the series, but a longer storyline would have been nice.