Teaming up for a final "smuggling operation", events turn decidedly sour when Kane unwittingly takes out the daughter of a corrupt government official, Shangsi. The plot is littered with some pretty uncomfortable moments, but it primarily takes a back-seat to the shooting.
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days' campaign is uncomfortably short, spanning just 3-4 hours — though multiple replays are encouraged as the game can be played entirely in online co-op. The game also features a complete multiplayer component and an arcade mode to round out the package.
Kane & Lynch 2 is one of the ugliest games you'll play on the PlayStation 3 this year. It's a travesty in the name of style. Kane & Lynch 2 is supposed to look terrible — the game is packed with visual filters that obliterate the final image and give it a seedy, underground documentary vibe. And it really works. Some people might be put off by the shaky camera, but that can easily be turned off. We recommend you try playing the game with it on though, as it really adds to the effect. The visual filters don't make up the visual style alone, however. Shanghai itself is littered with bright neon lights and dark, dirty alleys. It's a cool setting. The linear level design can feel a little constricted at times, but Kane & Lynch 2 makes sure you get to hang out in the focal points of the city — a DVD-shop shootout and in-door market are particular favourites of ours.
Aside from its visual design, Kane & Lynch 2 is a bit of a one-trick pony. The cover-driven shoot-outs are vastly improved over the original title, and are genuinely enjoyable. The game is peppered with destructible elements that add brutality to the shoot-outs. Sadly, shooting is all Kane & Lynch 2 really has going for it. The game's extremely short and fails to really deviate from the point-and-shoot formula throughout. In that sense its brevity is welcome.
Kane & Lynch 2 could have easily opted for a standard-fare Deathmatch mode. The shooting mechanics are competent enough to make such an option viable — but kudos to IO Interactive for trying something different. The game's Fragile Alliance mode (and its variants) have you working with a gang of criminals to steal money, drugs and other desirables. The hook is in the risk and reward dynamic — any player is free to betray their team-mate, lessening the team-share. Betrayed team-mates are able to respawn as cops however, and can try to block the goons from escaping; all while taking a finders-keepers cut of the profits for themselves. It really is a brilliant mode, as you're never certain who to trust. You need to work as a team to escape the AI cops, but those who want the most money will need to be cunning. The formula's heightened further with the Undercover Cop mode, which sees one randomly assigned player working for the cops alongside the goons. The Undercover Cop's task is to stop the other players from escaping with the stolen money, without alerting their team-mates about what's going on. The multiplayer's unlikely to draw anyone away from their typical shooter stomping ground - be it MAG, Battlefield or Modern Warfare - but it's certainly different enough to warrant interest, and IO deserve kudos for that.
Kane & Lynch 2 is a brief game, with a campaign spanning little over five hours and too few multiplayer maps to hold the player's interest for too long. With so little on offer mechanically, Kane & Lynch 2 relies on its short campaign to ensure the package doesn't overstay its welcome; but with a few alternative mechanics it could have been a much longer experience without succumbing to repetition. Sadly, it's hard to recommend the game at full-price.
Kane & Lynch 2's peppered with some uncomfortable moments. The game's clearly trying to provoke a reaction from the player, but there are times when this gets a bit too much. One mission sees you controlling a naked, mutilated Kane & Lynch for an extended period, which is particularly uncomfortable. We get the vibe IO are going for, but it's a bit too dark for our tastes.
We really enjoyed Kane & Lynch 2's multiplayer component, but our experience was soured by some annoying connection issues. These may be limited to our set-up, but we can only report on our personal experience. The game would often crash during the creation of a game lobby, and would subsequently take extended periods to populate. Sometimes the population of the lobby would be immediate, but other times it took upwards of ten minutes. We enjoy the multiplayer a lot, but there's really no point in creating a great experience if it's such a hassle to play. This is the reason games like Modern Warfare 2 are so popular — because the experience is more about playing the game than waiting for things to happen. Hopefully IO releases a patch which smooths over the issues we encountered.
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days looks terrible in the best possible way. The game's unique, low-budget crime documentary feel adds a depth to the gritty streets of Shanghai. Sadly, the visual filters feel like paper over the cracks of a somewhat unambitious co-operative shooter. IO deserve respect for attempting something unique with their multiplayer component, but the whole game lacks longevity.