|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: IO Interactive||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Eidos Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: August 17, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tony Capri
When the original Kane & Lynch game released almost three years ago, it quickly became a household name amongst gamers, not because it was a great game but because of the immense amount of hubbub surrounding one particular review of the game that ended with the reviewer losing his job. Fast forward to the present and IO Interactive reveals their long-awaited sequel to this now notorious series. Does this latest frolic through the underworld wash away any bad blood?
For full disclosure, I didnt play the first Kane & Lynch. Ill admit to being curious about Dog Days, however, as it seemed the developers had nowhere to go but up with this franchise. It seems my expectations for the game were off the mark, and Kane & Lynch 2 ended up being quite a different experience (for good and bad) than what I initially thought it would be.
Dog Days offers several modes of play, with the story mode being the main single-player option. Youll run through mostly linear levels set in Shanghai, China, and the gameplay consists of straight-up shooting action. The atmosphere and design are convincing, but it becomes clear early on that Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is merely an arcade experience with a gritty realism as its shtick. If you were expecting adventure, complete with character development, story exposition, and puzzles, youll likely find the story mode to be quite disappointing. As a simple cover-based shooter, though, Dog Days has a lot to love.
I should say, Dog Days has a lot for you to want to love. The cover mechanics work, but theyre also a bit clunky. Sticking to walls is fairly reliable, though pulling yourself away can be a clumsy process. The shooting itself feels satisfying because of the mood and vibe of the gunfights, but even with the aiming sensitivity turned up to max, your character moves with a plodding pace when trying to aim. When youre merely free-shooting, theres no reticule onscreen, making a run-and-gun approach a gamble.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the story mode is that the action is either completely on or completely off. In that I mean, there are no other notable gameplay elements injected into the formula to keep the experience interesting. Youll open a shutter here, bust down a door there, but for the most part, youre hiding behind cover, slowly whittling away enemies, and then moving on to the next area for more of the same.
To the games credit, there are some neat details tossed in that you wont find in most other shooters. Because the lighting is so realistic, I found myself sometimes being unable to see past a particular area because of light shining in my line of sight. Luckily, all I had to do was shoot out the light and the lighting in the room completely changed. Computer monitors, certain walls, and other environmental objects are also destructible, and these little touches definitely make the experience more convincing, as well as force the player to think on his or her feet. Picking up a fire extinguisher or gas can, tossing it into a crowd of enemies, and then blasting it before it hits the ground is yet another satisfying way to clear a path to your next objective.
Before you know it, though, the journeys over. The story mode is brief and repetitive, and its likely going to confuse many folks about what the package is all about. It wasnt until I jumped into the multiplayer modes that I understood what IO and Eidos were going for with this game. Dog Days isnt meant to be a single-player adventure at all; the real meat lies within the pick-up-and-play multiplayer components that can best be compared to the Left 4 Dead franchise. Though I dont feel the developers pull off their ideas with complete success, there is some fun stuff here worth checking out.