Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days box art
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
Hounds of Hell
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?

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days screenshot

For full disclosure, I didn’t play the first Kane & Lynch. I’ll 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. You’ll 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, you’ll likely find the story mode to be quite disappointing. As a simple cover-based shooter, though, Dog Days has a lot to love.

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I should say, Dog Days has a lot for you to want to love. The cover mechanics work, but they’re 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 you’re merely free-shooting, there’s no reticule onscreen, making a run-and-gun approach a gamble.

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days screenshot

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. You’ll open a shutter here, bust down a door there, but for the most part, you’re hiding behind cover, slowly whittling away enemies, and then moving on to the next area for more of the same.

To the game’s credit, there are some neat details tossed in that you won’t 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.

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days screenshot

Before you know it, though, the journey’s over. The story mode is brief and repetitive, and it’s likely going to confuse many folks about what the package is all about. It wasn’t until I jumped into the multiplayer modes that I understood what IO and Eidos were going for with this game. Dog Days isn’t 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 don’t feel the developers pull off their ideas with complete success, there is some fun stuff here worth checking out.

Screenshots / Images
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