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Kane & Lynch 2 Dog Days 360 Review - -

Gameplay 8.5
Graphics 8.6
Sound 8.7
Value 7.0
Distributor: Namco Bandai
Review Date:
August 2010
Peter Bourke


Kane & Lynch 2 Dog Days

After so much speculation on the internet and a variety of impressive trailers, Kane & Lynch 2 Dog Days has finally arrived on PS3, XBox 360 and PC. Although the original title received mixed reviews, the gaming community was split on whether it was a good game but 3-years later, protagonists Adam ĎKaneí Marcus and James Seth ĎLynchí have returned and developers IO Interactive have addressed the issues from the original. At its core, Kane & Lynch 2 Dog Days is an action third-person shooter which resonates similarities with Grand Theft Auto for its criminal type activities and Manhunt, for its sadistic and bloody violence. 

As briefly mentioned, the story of Kane & Lynch 2 Dog Days (Dog Days) revolves around two men, Kane and Lynch who have been called to Shanghai to partake in another grand heist of epic proportions. Unfortunately they are caught in the middle of a turf war and then there are the police to contend with. The game starts with a bang as both Kane and Lynch are being tortured and then the game gives control to the player two days earlier. This sets up the game nicely for a variety of surprises along the way. Oh... gamers play Lynch in this instalment of the game, the sleaziest and creepiest of the two!

The controls are well mapped on the 360 controller and the title contains an above average cover system as you attempt to dodge bullets whizzing past your head. To engage in the cover, simply push the A button and your character will attempt to engage in cover provided something can be used. To add to the realism, you can even move to cover if youíre on deathís door. And then to throw another curve ball into the game, not all places where you find cover will stop bullets. Thatís right, if you hide behind a wooden crate, it may stop one or two but eventually they will find you. One issue with the cover system is that at times it is very clunky and I got stuck in a few places as the bullets were flying past me. It did get a little annoying but fortunately, the cool story kept me going.

The target system in the game is quite realistic and the more powerful the weapon, the more difficult it is to successfully line up a shot. It also becomes quite difficult if you have an area full of thugs or police but the machine guns do help. Head shots generally knock your opponents down quite quick and if you do happen to be riddled with bullets, finding cover will help replenish some of your health. The game automatically saves at the end of a mission and re-spawn points are rather plentiful, although a few are questionable.

The AI of Dog Days can be quite merciful at times, so donít expect a game where you can catch dozens of bullets and still kick some ass. The developers are aiming at realism and they have definitely hit the nail on the head with this. There were only a few times when the AI done something strange but once youíre in their sights, you either need to fight back, cover or flee. Some parts in the game also have civilians in it that does make it difficult to achieve your objectives, especially with everyone running around when the bullets start. I killed quite a few of innocents!

I love the voice acting! The voice acting of Dog Days is easily my favourite game of the year and each of the main characters has this real intensity to them. The dialogue between Kane and Lynch is great as they bounce words off each other and only makes the entire story more enticing to the player. The sound effects are great through Dolby Digital 5.1 as is the musical score that has this real Hollywood cop movie theme behind it.

Although the single-player mode is the main method of play, there are a variety of entertaining online modes such as Undercover Cop and my favourite, Cops & Robbers for up to 12-players. In Cops & Robbers, players are split into two teams, the police and the robbers and the goal is for the robbers to plunder as much cash as possible and to ensure that they escape the police. Whether youíre playing cops or robbers, itís a very satisfying experience and offers some great replay value, especially with teamwork.

Fragile Alliance on the other hand sets a time limit for your team to basically collect as much money as possible and to get out with your life. Just remember that there is no honour among thieves and I found myself getting killed by my own team, just to collect my money but what goes around, comes around! Arcade mode is another gameplay option but itís strictly for solo play which basically allows you to play the multiplayer mode with bots. It may not be as fun the multiplayer mode but itís great for co-operative play. Another interesting aspect of the game is that it can be played either online or locally with another player.

One cool aspect of multiplayer is that there are even AI characters in the modes that really add to the realism of the multiplayer experience as opposed to just human opponents. This adds a new element to the gameplay and of course your overall strategy. Money also takes a lead role in multiplayer and by being successful, you are awarded cash which can be used to purchase additional items and weapons.

Graphically, Dog Days is a very good looking on the XBox 360 with some great attention to detail such as the stylised camera work which mimics reality police shows from its shaky camera work. The star of the graphics are of course Kane & Lynch who have been virtually created to appear as down-to-earth as possible and best of all, these two characters donít look like male models but actually real people who would probably give you a fright if you accidentally bumped into them in the street. Some people may find the amateur camera angle of the game a little difficulty to grasp and may trigger some bouts of motion sickness and even though itís quite stylised, it is not used all the way through the game. Loading between levels is quite cool as well because there is some in-game banter between the characters which helps progress the story.

In conclusion, if youíre a fan of the criminal underworld gaming genre, than youíre in for a treat as you are taken on a wild journey with your two hosts, Kane and Lynch. It did take some time getting use to the shaky camera when I was playing the single player campaign and when my character was running, it almost made me ill on a few occasions but after the first hour or so, I became use to it and it was a great tool for story development in this third person shooter. In terms of completion, this game will take most skilled gamers around 8 hours to successfully complete which is dependent on what difficult level you have selected. Needless to say, this is a well made and extremely violent game that is definitely worth investigating, itís a shame that the controls were not more streamlined.


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