I’m not going to lie, Kane and Lynch: Dead Men was a pretty bad title, I really wanted to like it, considering it was made by the very respectable developers at IO Interactive, but something just wasn’t right with the title. The controls were awful, the characters were completely unlikeable, and the game was literally just missing something in general, so of course 3 years down the line when the sequel to one of the worst games of 2007 is on the cusp of being released I nary batted an eye to it.
I had kept an eye on the trailers that had trickled through the pipeline for Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days, and I must say one of them in particular had made me feel outright uneasy, again I felt that the same unlikeable characters had returned, big whoop.
However! A few days ago exclusive demos were passed around for Dog Days, and incidentally many thanks to regular listener Gary for giving us a code. A few hours down the line, I was absolutely loving this game, and I cannot begin to count the ways that it has changed from its predecessor. Yes the two disgusting men are back, and they’re still swearing away and carrying out ridiculous deals with dodgy guys, but the gameplay is fantastic, and has taken leaps and bounds from its original. As usual the best game to describe it to would be Gears of War; there’s an important cover system which perhaps isn’t as fluid as it could be, but really works, as does the gunplay, and the sprinting.
The great thing about the demo however is that you get a nice splattering of the whole game, you get a level from the Story Mode, an Arcade version of Fragile Alliance to get your teeth into, as well as three Xbox Live multiplayer titles; Fragile Alliance, Undercover Cop, and Cops and Robbers.
As everyone knows the saving grace of the original was its multiplayer which took a really simple concept; the heist, and nailed it on the head. Well Fragile Alliance is back, and pits 8 strangers to help out with a heist, while any minute your teammates can double cross you. They've modified this to make other version such as Undercover Cop which was the game mode that took my attention, in a game of 8 you are carrying out a heist, however one of you is an undercover cop, except nobody knows who, and it’s up to them to make sure no one finishes the heist, the idea of trusting no one in a co-operative gunfight is a great concept, unfortunately no one else was in the lobby for Undercover Cop, so I've yet to try it out.
The Arcade version of the game is practically the multiplayer portion of the game, but offline with leaderboards so that you can best your friends, it is amazing how you do really notice the difference between the no fear attitude of real players in an online match, and AI controlled characters that take their time with the enemies in the arcade matches. I must say however that I had a lot more fun in arcade rather than the Xbox Live version of Fragile Alliance where a couple of Welsh guys were talking about having sex with their wives… granted I could have just turned off their audio, but do I really want to be playing games with people that decide something like that a normal conversation piece.
The only real gripe that I did have with what the demo has to offer is the way that Kane and Lynch talk isn’t really talking, to be honest the two basically shout at each other, but they hardly open their mouths when they talk. Then of course there is the noise filter/general COPS camera pixelisation and the griminess of the title is perhaps a little overboard, that said, after playing for a while it does grow on you, and I can unashamedly say that I am definitely looking forward to this title now, and anyone with reservations towards the game should definitely give it a chance and take a look at the demo, it’s definitely worth your time, and most importantly it will be interesting to see how the Co-op fairs.
Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days is available August 27th for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Windows, and the demo will be publicly released prior to the launch of the game. IO Interactive have definitely struck out with this title, just don’t go mistaking it for Dead Men.