Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days Review

By David Wolinsky - Posted Aug 17, 2010

Scumbag criminals Kane and Lynch reunite for what was supposed to be a simple arms deal in Shanghai. The new shaky-cam presentation adds to the overall emphasis on "grittiness" and realism, though little else in Dog Days benefits from the same sort of inspired choices. A thoroughly enjoyable but short ride, by Dogs Days's end you will believe this much: Kane and Lynch sure do love shooting up Chinese guys.

The Pros
  • Multiplayer modes play to your devious, mistrustful nature
  • Tons of intense firefights in exotic and gorgeous (and highly destructible) locales
  • Unusual (and optional) shaky-cam presentation greatly enhances the overall realism
The Cons
  • Story mode is unforgivably short
  • Almost no boss battles
  • Core mechanics adamantly refuse to evolve or present new challenges

EDITOR’S NOTE: This game inadvertently was posted with a “4 out of 5” score due to an unfortunate technical error. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Over the past year or so, a few great games have come from franchises considerably into their lifespan and these titles have made nonbelievers suddenly take notice. For example, with Splinter Cell, it was the fifth game—Conviction--that turned heads. Now, Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, a gritty third-person cover-based shooter has managed to grab headlines, curiously, with its low-grade YouTube-like crappy video compression of an extremely shaky surveillance video. Supposedly trailing the titular duo as they attempt to escape the streets of Shanghai in the 48 hours after a simple arms deal goes horribly awry, the buffering-video presentation is suspiciously contrarian in an era when many gamers are playing on high-definition TVs; however, the presentation quickly takes a back seat to the thrilling, yet repetitive, run-and-gun action.



Get To The Chopper!

More than anything, Kane & Lynch 2 strives to feel like an action movie of the more plausible variety—think more True Lies than Live Free Or Die Hard—and it serves the game well. It comes across in the “mature” cuss-laden dialogue, and especially in the sublime set pieces that you’ll fight tooth and nail in and then subsequently riddle with bullets. From the neon glow of the Chinese storefronts and DVD stores in malls to construction sites and an airport, the AI challenges you at every step to never back down. You’ll easily be gunned down if you’re too stubborn to take cover or if you get so frustrated you charge ahead, red faced, without clearing a path. Patient progression is usually the best approach, that and always keeping an eye out for snipers.

However, that extra degree of realism has its drawbacks. For one, there’s only one enemy that could be considered a boss: a la True Lies, you and Kane face down a chopper while making your way through a skyscraper. While you eventually get automatic weapons, the enemies you face don’t really change up. Get used to blasting the same basic enemy solider in different clothes throughout. Eventually, there are attack dogs to euthanize, but that’s about it. The difficulty never really ratchets up ever, either, making an exciting, but one-note ride.

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So Happy Together

The main story is short. We’re talking not just beatable in a rental, but beatable in an afternoon. There’s a wide variety of reasons to play through the game again in co-op (you can be revived when downed, enemies you killed will stay that way after respawning), but once the credits roll a lot of emphasis is placed on the multiplayer modes, which, unfortunately, are very enjoyable, but as limited as the main experience.

Fragile Alliance mode returns, but the true stars of the online experience are the Heist and Undercover Cop modes. In both, you have to steal wads of filthy sweaty cash and be the sole survivor who makes a clean escape either via helicopter (in Heist) or in a getaway car (in Undercover Cop), unless you’re the undercover cop who has to keep up appearances until he can find a way to isolate and eliminate all the other criminals. What makes these modes such standouts is how they play to your suspicions and paranoia. In Heist, you can choose to kill some of your comrades, but only if you think you can escape alive. In the Undercover Cop, if you try to kill someone who isn’t the cop, all your allies will be alerted that you’re a traitor, and they’ll kill you. Trust no one—you’ll live longer.



As Bad As They Wanna Be

To the untrained eye, Dog Days is no different than any other game that transforms you into a walking gun cabinet and gives you tons of meat with legs to shoot at. And in a way that’s true, but its defiant allegiance to realism, vibrant setting, an unusual reality-show-like camera all make it a worthy purchase (after picking up the requisite Dramamine).


Still want to play it? Why not rent it at Gamefly?