Review: Kane & Lynch 2 – Dog Days (Xbox 360)

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My problem with Kane and Lynch’s first outing was its heavy handed and clumsy take on making these two guys reprehensible bastards at nearly every turn.

There’s the kind of cool badness that Robert DeNiro can deliver onscreen, and then there’s the annoyingly preachy kind that has to remind you with every line of dialogue just why a character has had a maladjusted life after making that point several scenes earlier. Both Kane and Lynch fell into the latter category.

That, along with a lame boss fight against a giant dump truck, trashing its gritty start with a sudden about-face as a jungle shooter, and its weak multiplayer, Kane & Lynch felt squandered like so much loose change at the toll booth. So now we have the sequel, but while it improves a few things, it also manages to commit new criminal acts along the way.
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Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days Public Demo

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…hit the Xbox 360 on Live and PCs on Steam. The PS3 slice of this crime caper hits tomorrow on Tuesday. This is the public demo, meaning that you don’t have to sign up, text a phone, or do anything else to appease the marketing gods in trying it out.

Honestly, I didn’t think I’d even be wasting the bandwidth on it given how I wasn’t looking forward to the sequel after the first game, but like it, it does have a few interesting ideas that may make me think twice on where it’s going.

For the sequel, the designers opted to view Kane and Lynch’s third-person Shanghai through the lens of a digital camera. The way how light and color stretches onscreen, pixelizes, and otherwise seems imperfect (polys notwithstanding) puts a nice twist on seeing the game – similar to how Pandemic’s black and white take on The Saboteur had delivered.

Oddly enough, though, with as much lead thrown around, the demo was bloodless (other than your own splattering onto the screen to indicate how close you are to death) making it feel weirdly sanitized. Another sly dig at the digital medium where anything can be edited, or just more marketing censorship? Probably the latter.

Part of the story is told in the single-player part which sets both guys up to escape from a restaurant under assault from the authorities who aren’t there to order dumplings to go. Wooden walls blow out, cover disappears under a blast of lead, and a regenerating health system tries to keep you alive as you and Kane fight your way out. Lynch still talks to himself.

Multiplayer focused only on Fragile Alliance where you go in with a few other players as criminals on a heist stealing cash and hoping that none of your friends decides to gun you down for your share just as in the last game. Fellow thieves killed respawn as cops who are sent to stop you and whoever gets away with as much loot as they can steal is a winner.

Performance was…pretty wonky with character models sometimes moving around onscreen like stiff-limbed chess pieces. Hopefully this will get straightened out before release next month, but it works decently enough in that it didn’t crash out and die on me. And it was pretty fun.

For more single player pics, hit the jump. The full game comes out next month on the 17th for the Xbox 360, PS3, and the PC.
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E3: A look back on Day Two

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Day Two started off earlier, mainly due to the first day starting at noon. A few appointments were penciled in including another one with Activision who had given us a chance to check out the new True Crime. My brother was ready to hit most of those leaving me to wander the floor to take a look at what else was being shown. The first day was a brief tour in the West Hall. Now it was time to hit the South Hall where the third parties, and Microsoft, was lurking.
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