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Trevor Wagner

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days - Two Person Preview (T. Wagner, K. Hummons)

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Kevin Hummons: I should preface this impression by stating that I have zero experience with Kane & Lynch. I’ve always been something of a distant observer but the series just never hit very high on my priorities list. However when I received a demo code for the Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days demo I wasn’t about to give up a chance to experience the duos latest shenanigans.

If you haven’t been following Dog Days allow me to catch you up to speed. The game takes place in Shanghai with the lovable psychopath Lynch taking the lead role as he prepares for the biggest job of his life. Hopefully this’ll be “the one” that grants him both his retirement and some peace. Of course, that would make for something of a shitty videogame so instead the job kinda goes crazy and, well, that’s all we really know.

As the demo began I was immediately introduced to the new style of Kane & Lynch which has really left an impression on gamers. It’s very sleazy with a grimy neon lit color palette and “shaky cam” influenced camera angles among other details that add to the underground China feel. The presentation is slick, unique, and ripe with fun little details like a pixilated censor when you execute someone or an occasional grainy camera filter that will kick into effect.

As impressive and beautiful as the style is however I did notice it would negatively impact my ability to actually play the game. For example, when you get shot and you’re rapidly losing health the way the game communicates that to you is with blood splattered on the screen and out of focus camera effects. Neat as this may be on paper in practice what it actually did was harm my ability to get out of the line of fire and collect myself. Mind you, I wasn’t runnin’ and gunnin’. I was playing by the games rules of taking cover and shooting a la Gears of War. Overall the presentation is impressive but the game does suffer a bit when the presentation goes overboard and affects your ability to make a wise decision amongst the chaos.

The gameplay itself was solid. The mechanics of the game such which boiled down to finding cover, kill enemies, repeat felt very tight. Managing where your enemies were, your ammo, where you were and where you want to be given any scenario was well done. However it never felt “smooth”. Advancing from one spot to the next and covering my own ass eventually became something of a chore. This is especially bothersome when so much of the cover is designed to be destructible so you really are always moving.

Even with these complaints I still found myself enjoying the wave after wave of enemies and the chaos that Io Interactive builds up for each different “wave” which never felt overbearing despite the kinks in
the controls which probably could’ve been simplified to allow for better traversing across each level. Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is definitely one to keep an eye on. So far it’s looking like it could be a good little romp with a whole lot of style.

Trevor Wagner:
As a preface to my part, let me just say I was a big fan of the first game. It had some serious control issues, and a few bugs that made you restart one of the hardest levels in the game, but for some reason, I loved it. The characters were all pretty well written, the story was fairly original, and it just ended up being a lot of fun, with an odd charm to it.

That being said, I'm impressed so far. The gameplay is pretty solid, consisting of gunfights that you spend a lot of in cover, just like Kane & Lynch. You can pick up explosive items, such as gas cans, acetylene tanks, etc. and throw them, and by tapping RT after you throw it, the game auto locks on, and you shoot it, causing it to explode. It's a new feature that's been implemented after K&L1, and it helps deal with crowds, and the lock-on is quite handy.

I'm not gonna touch on the graphics too much, besides agree that the style is interesting, but some of the effects impede gameplay. Sprinting is slightly disorienting, and the more damage you take, the harder it is to see anything, let alone your target, or cover.

The audio is pretty good, and as far as the demo shows, the voice actors do a great job. They're less angry with each other this time around, but seem much more tired, and frustrated with the fact that they're stuck in another situation like this. The gunfire sounds...well, like gunfire. The digital static effects when you;re getting hit or after an explosion are a nice touch, and fit with the general aesthetics of the game.

The multiplayer aspect is a large focus this time around, and it seems like a success. The Fragile Alliance mode is back, along with a few variations; though the variations are pretty much the same, with minor tweaks. The goal, for those of you who are unaware, is to steal as much money as possible, while trying to keep anyone from killing you and taking your share, or while killing others to steal their shares. It's a simple enough concept, with the twists being things like one player automatically being a undercover cop and a team of cops versus a team of criminals. The multiplayer is a lot of fun, let's just hope that the netcode, which seems to be better than the first time around holds up, and that people continue to play the game with tact, and don't just try to turn every mode into a deathmatch.

All in all, the game looks pretty promising, and I hope that the demo is a solid indicator of things to come.

Trevor Wagner Writer

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Updated 13-08-10 at 09:00 by SteveSawyer

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