Bargain Bin Reviews: Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days

It’s The Pletteau’s favourite video game related feature: The Bargain Bin Review!

Here’s how it works: I dredge the depths of video game stores / Steam looking for cheap games in the $1-$20 range. Games that were once $50-70 and were either very bad or have been out for a long time. I then review said title, taking into account the quality of game and its price. I pass this information on to you and we are both richer for it.

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days

Remember Kane & Lynch: Dead Men? Released in 2007, Kane & Lynch looked incredibly promising. It followed a pair of prisoners, Kane and Lynch, forced to team up. You played as Kane and the catch with Lynch was that he was a heavily-medicated psychopath. It seemed really cool, but less-than-stellar reviews coupled with “Gerstmanngate” (the incident wherein Gamespot fired reviewer Jeff Gerstmann allegedly for a bad review). Kane & Lynch was, in a single word, awful.

I was surprised then that they made a sequel: Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days. Transylvanilla alerted me to this fact, and so when I saw it at EB for $7.99  on the PS3 I couldn’t resist.

Made by IO  Interactive and published by Eidos under the Square-Enix name (which seems weird to me, but given Square-Enix’s acquisition of Eidos, it makes sense), the game follows after the Venezuela incident of the previous game. Kane and Lynch have parted ways, Lynch setting up shop in Shanghai with his girlfriend Xiu. He receives an offer from Glazer, an English-expatriate, to smuggle guns into Africa, so Lynch calls up his old buddy Kane and offers a 50-50 split in the thing. The take would allow them both to retire and to help out Kane’s estranged daughter Jenny, who survived the last game.

Anyway, you bumble around for awhile, playing as Lynch for most of the game, shooting and swearing. For the most part, it’s good fun. The UI isn’t half bad and the controls typically do what you want them to do. It is your typical run-and-gun style game, where you dive to cover and shoot. Your health regenerates, so you’re typically not at risk of dying, except when there are dozens of enemies on the screen all shooting for you. The AI isn’t awful, but definitely isn’t great, either. Enemies seem to like moving from cover to cover on their way towards you, probably hoping that closing the gap to two metres will make it easier to hit you — which is disappointing, because it’s a half-assed solution to the problem of the player just hiding and taking cover to hawkeye guys as they pop out. Your ally’s AI is typically not much better, save for the fact I never found myself really having to run out and save him (which was a relief). You can only ever have two guns at a time and typically have to retrieve them from fallen enemies — typical shooter stuff.

I did find myself pouring more time into the multiplayer component of the game, called Fragile Alliance. In Fragile Alliance you and several others play essentially a game of cops and robbers, where you’re all robbers against AI cops. As your team bites it, they take over the role of the cops. Ultimately your goal is to make it to the extract zone so you can get out of there. If you’re especially greedy, you can kill your teammates after you begin looting; this means a bigger portion of the loot for you, but if you all die you all lose, anyway. Of course, this is a social experience after all, so while you may gun down all your teammates and make it through, it’s almost a guarantee that they’ll gun you down the first chance you get. The mode gives you the option of working as a team or looking out for yourself and offers both real (such as your teammates hating you) and virtual (such as a bigger share of the loot) consequences. Ultimately I think it’s one of the coolest game modes offered since Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (which, to date, I don’t think I’ve played a multiplayer game more than that one). To be perfectly honest, I spent more time online (and offline) playing Fragile Alliance than I did the core game —  why? Because it’s better than the core game.

In the end, Kane and Lynch: Dog Days isn’t an amazing game. It’s certainly better than the first K&L and it is a lot of fun, but it is a fairly mediocre, fairly paint-by-the-numbers third-person shooter. That’s the single player campaign. The multiplayer game is one of the most innovative and fun experiences you’ll have playing online against other people. It’s truly a blast; it’s fast paced and, depending on your playstyle, can be very competitive or not so much. Pick it up if you have $8 lying around.


Want to write a Bargain Bin Review? Shoot me an e-mail and we’ll talk.
Have a suggestion for a good Bargain Bin Review? Leave a comment — if you can link to the product, do it up.

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