Preview: Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days

The dubious duo Kane and Lynch return to make Asia look ugly in their new game.

I get my hands on the Demo for a SquareGo Magazine preview.

(full text below)

Ex-Cons are a funny bunch. When not declaiming their supposed innocence from behind bars whilst sporting a scraggly beard and mullet combo; or snuggling up to whichever inmate that ‘almost’ looks like their spouse in the right light, they have a nasty penchant for returning to bad habits.

In the original game you were cast in the role of loving, yet absentee husband and father Adam ‘Kane’ Marcus; A broken-nosed besuited felon desperate to rescue his kidnapped wife and daughter from the clutches of the mercenary group The7. Kane’s progress was both complicated and assisted by the presence of his drug addled and mentally unstable sidekick James Seth Lynch. The unlikely pair spent most of the game dotting about across the southern hemisphere trying to steal money, kill people and generally cause havoc along the way, and needless to say, it doesn’t exactly come up roses all round.

This time around the dynamic has altered in Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days, with the focus falling instead on the less predictable and semi-schizoid world of Lynch. Picking up some time after the end of the previous game, we find psycho Lynch hanging out in Shanghai where he co-opts the embittered and now snazzily bearded Kane back to a life of crime for one last job. (It’s like working here on a Friday -Ed) Plot details are being kept deliberately sketchy but it’s fair to say that the likely hood of all going well is slim to none and the boys will be back out on the lam from Johnny Q. Law and nefarious underworld types alike.

Seeing as IO Interactive designed the first game to stand as an original and unique entry to the world of shooters, it’s not surprising that the sequel is also taking leaps into new territory. Most specifically with the visual dynamics of the game.  Instead of building Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days on the same tired ultra gritty and realistic style that almost every recent shooter has, IO Interactive have chosen to pick a peculiar aesthetic where everything looks as if it’s been pulled from an online home-made video.

From the initial loading screen, consisting of a YouTube-like circle of pips ‘buffering’ to 100% and the opening menus looking like camcorder footage out a car window, it’s clear they’ve taken the idea onboard completely.  The game feels like it’s straight out of a movie akin to Cloverfield – all wobbly ‘shakey-cam’ movements during cutscenes and even blocky graphics, colour bleeding and glitchy picture errors during gameplay. Whilst at first this can be quite distracting, it never takes away from the game, and only adds to the frenetic feeling of chaos in the blindingly messy gun battles. Lynch’s inherent madness could be blamed for this, so it lends a credibility to the look of things while never feeling too superficial.

The recent, and criminally short, demo lets you take control of him shooting his way through a Shanghai restaurant and the surrounding streets.  Hammered by a sudden and unexpected assault from the local, very corrupt, police; the boys have to blast their way back to Lynch’s girlfriend Xiu’s apartment and it’s a bloody and difficult slog. One major change to the original is the cover system, as before Kane would stick to surfaces and automatically seek cover, perhaps representative of Lynch’s more carefree attitudes you now much choose to duck or hide, meanwhile the precious bits of protective shielding can be blown to smithereens all around you.

The choice of guns has also been limited, making you stick to only two weapons, instead of the plentiful supply of yesteryear.  This can lead to problems as the shotguns are only effective super close and the machine guns are too inaccurate over long distances to do too much good. The controls do seem quite fluid, if a little sluggish, and the sheer quantity of enemies, who change location often in an attempt to surround you, can lead to many, many deaths on the harder difficulties.

All in all we’re still pretty excited to see what Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days is going to turn out like in the final release and whether the game will manage to better its oft-criticised progenitor.  We’ll let you know in our full review shortly.

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