The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
When Kane steps into frame for the first time, he displays the body
language of a sullen, defeated man. His clothes are disheveled, he’s
poorly groomed, and he is clearly lost to the world. Lynch, on the
other hand, while still in dire need of a shampooing, is
uncharacteristically calm, almost beaming with life. We’re led to
believe that he’s found his lot in life in Shanghai, the setting for
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days.
The reunion of these two
trigger-happy maniacs is sharp of tongue, as expected, yet has a sense
of sincerity. Kane and Lynch have changed in their time apart, yet it’s
clear that neither is comfortable in their new skin.
can check in to his hotel, Lynch asks if he can run an errand first.
This errand begins with Lynch kicking in a door and ends with the
game’s credits rolling. Any notion that the characters have evolved is
stripped away once the bullets start flying.
Kane & Lynch 2:
Dog Days is a relentless yet faceless shooter. The protagonists’
personalities – which were prominently on display in the first game –
are muffled under the constant rattle of machine guns. The entire game
is one long firefight, giving little time for the player or plot to
breathe. The interesting personality flaws of Kane and Lynch rarely
bleeds into the action, but we know that in their time apart, they’ve
both learned how to shoot a gun properly.
Most of the firefights
are intense tests of skill that nicely mix up the weapons and ranges.
Your foes, which are either poorly dressed gangsters or Shanghai
police, are intelligent enough to flank in the larger environments, and
recognize the fastest and safest route to cover. However, they have
problems reading player movements in cooperative play (either
split-screen or online). On occasion, when my teammate and I would
shift position, enemies would run into the middle of the fray or would
try to position themselves in the same cover location as another enemy.
Rather than moving to a different spot, their body joins with their
teammate, creating a glitch-tastic visual. This problem also occurs
with your teammate in single-player.
Kane and Lynch: Dog Days
earns the right to be a called a respectable shooter. It doesn’t earn
the right to be called a respectable game. The lack of face time with
the characters isn’t the only bewildering omission. None of the levels
have a pulse. Outside of one exciting helicopter-based moment, every
fight can be classified as a by-the-numbers shootout. The result is a
game that feels more like a carnival shooting gallery than a gritty
I hate to say it, but the true star of this game is
the camerawork. Designed to mimic a poorly recorded YouTube video, the
camera is intentionally imperfect. Shots are framed poorly, off-screen
light sources bleach the image quality, and artifacting and distortion
occur when the camera is jostled. As odd as this is going to sound, the
grungy effect is beautifully realized.
If your interest lies
outside of single-player or co-op, Dog Days offers a much deeper
multiplayer experience than the first game. Fragile Alliance, the mode
that starts with players working a heist together then possibly turning
against each other, is heightened by a better selection of maps, not to
mention gunplay that actually works. A variation on Fragile Alliance
called Undercover Cop also delivers a thrilling experience, as players
know one of their own will surely turn on them. Enjoyable deathmatching
is also offered in the new Cops & Robbers mode, although it doesn’t
have much in terms of progression outside of achievements and trophies.
your preference is single-player or co-op, Dog Days’ lack of
personality (both in the characters and on the battlefield) results in
one of the blandest shooters out there. Given how little the story
matters, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck could have been swapped in as the
protagonists and I probably wouldn’t have noticed. Corners are even cut
on the ending, leaving the story wide open with no hint of resolution.
Email the author Andrew Reiner, or follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Game Informer.
While gravely flawed, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men had soul. Dog Days
does not. Lobotomized characters and a throwaway narrative do nothing
to bolster mediocre gameplay. Easily one of the most formulaic games
I’ve ever played, Dog Days repeatedly relegates you to one
room-clearing mission after another – the only real variable being the
state of your character’s clothing (or lack thereof). The gunplay has
been tightened and cover system reworked (it’s now notably less
magnetic), but the tweaks can’t counteract the glaring omissions.
Interactions with your partner are curtailed, removing all instances of
ammo sharing and squad commands that I enjoyed in the first game. AI is
hit or miss and notably more troubled when playing co-op. Multiplayer
continues to be a point of intrigue, but with other perfectly tuned
online offerings available, it’s hard to justify a purchase for this
single redeeming feature. The minor technical improvements can’t offset
the fact that there is nothing in Dog Day’s gameplay or design that
hasn’t been done by dozens of other shooters to significantly more
success. Dead Men had interesting ideas in a poorly executed package.
Dog Days disregards any and all brand capital established by its
predecessor, and as a result is stunningly ordinary.