Release Date: August 17, 2010
Publisher: Square Enix
ESRB Rating: Mature
Adam “Kane” Marcus and James Seth Lynch have returned for a sequel that is in many ways superior to its predecessor. The former inmates have reunited after parting ways from their last ordeal together, simply so that they can complete a job that will secure them both well into retirement. For those of you unfamiliar with the events of Kane and Lynch: Dead Men, it’ll be reassuring to know that there is no need to play the original game to enjoy the realistic third-person shooter that is Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days.
The game follows the two men after they are ambushed in Shanghai while plotting a smuggling operation. This opens the flood gates on Kane and Lynch, as they must not only complete their operation but also deal with the heat from gang territories and local authorities. In choosing to unleash hell so quickly upon the two friends, game developers instill a feeling of urgency in anyone playing the game. It keeps the player’s heart racing and gives them a sense that they cannot slow down until they complete their mission. This is only aided by the fact that Kane and Lynch 2 is one of the most realistic shooters available today.
When players are in the heat of battle, bullets they take will splatter blood onto the screen representative of the damage you have taken. After one or two shots, players will usually be knocked down to the ground (although on more than one occasion I was killed as a result of bullet placement) where they can then either choose to rise into nearby cover or crawl to safety while laying down suppressive fire. The game follows a fairly simple one-button cover system that gives players the option to blindly fire, turn and shoot towards enemies or even climb over obstacles to reach other nearby tactical points. You can even haul gas canisters into cover and use them to eradicate multiple targets at once.
The things that make Kane and Lynch 2 a success are also the things that will probably turn many people away. The game makes such an effort towards realism that the camera’s view is literally that of a camcorder. One can assume that it is perhaps a news reporter or possibly just a really ballsy tourist, but either way the shaky-camera and lens flares may be tiring to some gamers who are not used to such ultra-realism in video games. However, it does give players the illusion that they are experiencing real events. This translates into increased difficulty, too, as Kane and Lynch cannot take many bullets, yet frequently get into firefights against police and military personnel with flanking routes, superior weapons, and body armor.
Overall, Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days is a success. While reception to the original Kane and Lynch may have been lukewarm, IO interactive has managed to take their great characters and elevate them in depth, story, and game play. Unfortunately, as great as the campaign is, this game will probably only take the average player about four to six hours to complete on the average difficulty setting and about seven to 10 hours on the hardest difficulty.