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Xbox 360 Review: Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days

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Who’s filming this? It’s a relevant question for Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days, with a digital video aesthetic that makes little to no sense. From rampant compression artifacts, low light noise, and garish contrast bleed, everything is made to look like it was shot on a low resolution video camera, hence why it’s such a distraction.

You can say it’s just there for show until a late cinematic proves otherwise, and one of the Shanghai military members reaches down to grab the camera, leading into yet another nonsensical cinematic inside a containment cell where someone still holds the camera. Style is one thing; common sense is another.

It’s much like the storyline, tracking the title characters to Shanghai (this apparently before the Army of Two guys recent visit) to complete a final deal. As predictable as it is, things go wrong, and suddenly the rampant murder of innocent civilians begins, with police who are likely as confused as the player as to why they’re shooting, and military forces called in for this pop-and-shoot third-person actioner.

Lynch begins the story, setting up the deal with a local kingpin, and Kane is begrudgingly brought along. Kane is tired of it all, spending much of the first half complaining about being drug into the middle of this. Literally, with one cinematic at the halfway point, the roles switch; Kane is determined to secure some illegal funds, apparently for his daughter who was never mentioned previously.

It’s as if an entire level was deleted, or a cinematic trimmed at the last minute. Maybe that lost plot point joins non-repetitious gameplay mechanics on the cutting room floor. Kane and Lynch 2 is the proper length for something so limited in actual gameplay. Trolling through the various Asian locales, stopping, taking cover, and waiting for brain-dead AI to show their faces is all too familiar after a few hours. The range of weapons, from the hilariously overdone shotgun to the sniper rifles are all standard fare.

This sequel offers one break from the monotony: a grand scaled helicopter assault on an office building, the closest thing this game has that can be considered excitement after the admittedly improved shooting mechanics wear off. Maybe that’s not fair. Kane and Lynch 2 does try to offer some spice to the gameplay, including an entire section of the game where the leads run through the streets completely nude after a torture session, pixelated censorship hiding anything deemed offensive. Regardless, you’re still taking cover in familiar areas fighting enemies who follow the same patterns. It’s baffling how the lowly street thugs show the same traits as the armed SWAT teams.

The multiplayer, in three different flavors, is unfortunately saddled with the main game engine at its base which doesn’t fit the hectic timed trio of variations on the cops and robbers theme. What produces a fine concept, completing an epic bank heist with the ability to turn on your friends to take all of the loot, is muddled by the sluggish aiming and inconsistent cover, neither much of an issue in the campaign.

Maybe that’s more of an excuse, allowing the breakdown of the core controls to be given a pass solely because the AI is too stupid to take advantage of the situation. What little frustration they lead to in solo (or co-op) play is actually sort of a testament to the satisfaction generated from map-long shotgun blasts to the face. It’s much easier to ignore that than the non-existent entity behind the camera anyway.

Kane and Lynch 2 is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Content Descriptors. This game can also be found on: PS3, PC.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.