Kane & Lynch: Dead Men Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men box art
System: X360, PS3, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: IO Interactive 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Eidos 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 13, 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-8 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Where the game really begins to fall apart though, is with its unpolished gameplay mechanics. Similar to Gears of War and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Kane and Lynch's frequent shootouts rely heavily on a duck-and-cover system. But where this mechanic worked so well in Gears and Uncharted via a simple button-press, Io has taken control from the player--perhaps to achieve a more cinematic feel--and implemented an "auto" system; the idea being that your character will automatically snap into cover when near an object. It just doesn't work smoothly, often forcing you to take cover when you don't want to and vice versa. Shooting sequences are further strained by erratic hit detection; a cross-hair centered on an enemy's head does not guarantee damage, never mind an instant-death head shot. Both these elements, so important to a game of this genre, at times, feel broken.

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men screenshot

This unfinished feel extends to less integral aspects as well; simple squad commands feel unnecessary and clumsy, and you're A.I. comrades-in-arms frequently block your line of sight. And then there's the wonky adrenaline injection animation; you and your teammates can be revived with a quick shot of the juice, but whether you're administering the shot or receiving it, a drawn-out animation plays that's mostly just a blur of colliding limbs. And despite a satisfying audio thump when the needle penetrates the chest cavity, you never actually see a needle; instead, you'll occasionally glimpse a fist clenching absolutely nothing hammering into a fallen ally--was the needle censored out? The sound work is also a mixed bag; weapons, explosions and flying shrapnel sound great, but why aren't all those frantic civilians screaming? And this may seem like a minor nitpick, but where's the satisfying clank of boot-on-metal when Kane's running on steel prison steps? These things should be second nature in next-gen gaming.

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Kane and Lynch reeks of an undercooked effort that should've baked a few more months in the development oven. If the care and polish that went into the wonderfully cinematic level presentation had also been applied to the writing and gameplay, it could've been a bar-raising effort for the third-person shooter genre. As is, Kane and Lynch offers a fun play-through for fans of the movies it's paying homage to; again, the scenario-driven stages are amazing. And despite the absence of online co-op, playing split-screen with a friend is fun. An up-to-eight player online multiplayer mode, that has you and your friends turning traitor on each other during a botched heist, is interesting, but won't provide more than a temporary distraction from meatier online offerings like Call of Duty 4 and Halo 3. There is some good gaming here, and the groundwork for an amazing sequel is definitely in place, but as is, Kane and Lynch's unpolished feel keep it from being more than a weekend rental recommendation.

By Matt Cabral
CCC Freelance Writer


  • Tense and unpredictable experience: This is the violent and chaotic journey of two men: a flawed mercenary and a medicated psychopath. Each hates the other but must work together to save themselves and possibly the ones they love. Play Kane in single-player mode and either character in two-player co-op mode.
  • Violence erupts in meticulously created "safe" worlds: Realistic and responsive environments and crowds react when events get of out control. Crowded nightclubs and calm bank offices become scenes of sudden terror. Manipulate the environments and crowds strategically to complete objectives.
  • Wide variety of intense 3rd person game play: Rappel from buildings, firing on the run or from moving vehicles, launch surprise attacks, lay down cover fire, and shoot blind from around corners, hurl smoke, tear, and incendiary grenades.
  • Fast and intuitive combat: Lead a crew of criminal mercenaries to increase your chance of surviving and reaching your goals. You can also fight alone as your crew A.I. will automatically draw fire, throw grenades, lay down cover, and engage in close combat with their own signature moves.
  • Two-player co-operative game play: Team up and play the full story with a friend as either Kane or Lynch. On the big jobs, split the command of your crew. At any point in the game you can choose to play the next, or previous, levels in co-op.
  • Innovative multi-player levels: Based on the game's themes for up to 8 players.

    Gorgeous set-pieces and inventive level design.
    Duck-and-cover system and squad commands feel clumsy.
    Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    Weapons pack a nice punch, but some many ambient effects are too low or entirely absent.
    Play Value
    Fans of the films it pays homage to might enjoy playing through, but too many flaws keep it from meeting its potential.
    Overall Rating - Fair
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
  • Screenshots / Images
    Kane & Lynch: Dead Men screenshot - click to enlarge Kane & Lynch: Dead Men screenshot - click to enlarge Kane & Lynch: Dead Men screenshot - click to enlarge Kane & Lynch: Dead Men screenshot - click to enlarge Kane & Lynch: Dead Men screenshot - click to enlarge Kane & Lynch: Dead Men screenshot - click to enlarge Kane & Lynch: Dead Men screenshot - click to enlarge Kane & Lynch: Dead Men screenshot - click to enlarge Kane & Lynch: Dead Men screenshot - click to enlarge Kane & Lynch: Dead Men screenshot - click to enlarge Kane & Lynch: Dead Men screenshot - click to enlarge Kane & Lynch: Dead Men screenshot - click to enlarge

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