Kane & Lynch 2 Dog Days Review

Kane & Lynch 2 Dog Days Review 1

Probably not the nicest area of Shanghai

I played Kane & Lynch 2 Dog Days originally not long after it came out in co-operative split-screen mode and decided to replay it again recently.  Co-operatively again, only this time online on PC so without split-screen so this could be considered a re-review if there is such a thing.

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Good luck shooting guys.

This game got truly slated in most reviews.  Every reviewer said that they didn’t like it and that it was bad and ugly and nauseating to play and many other derogatory comments.  But I found this to be very unfair as this is a game that is very very easy to misunderstand.  The problem was that most people just didn’t seem to get what the developers were going for with it.  Their design idea being the aesthetics of the game was to make it “authentic and genuine” like a documentary.  To this end, the game is intentionally designed to be disgusting and does it extremely well.  Everyone in it is an ugly asshole.  The majority of the game is set in the slums of Shanghai so the streets are littered with dirt and rubbish.  The “background music” is rarely more than a buzzing white noise.  Every light is abrasive and neon and causes strobing and lens flare obscuring your vision.  The whole thing is shot in a “found footage” motif with your point of view being from a camera man who is following the unlucky pair of Kane and Lynch.  He does a good job keeping up with you most of the time but it’s this point of view that causes your view to wobble around constantly especially while running and to be obscured constantly by blood splatter, dirt and even more lens flare leaving you unable to see most of what is going on for a lot of the time which just adds to all of the chaos and confusion.

Kane & Lynch 2 Dog Days Review 2

Can’t see anything? Get used to it.

Despite being primarily a cover-based shooter, the shooting is loose and has no feedback. You can’t easily tell if you are hitting your target or not until they fall down dead, which is probably what real shooting is like without all the electronic aids. Aiming is rarely any more accurate than running and shooting from the hip.  You regularly get knocked down flat on your arse when you get winged with minor damage causing you to scrabble to get to your feet again in an undignified mess.  Not once do you feel powerful.  Not once do you feel like a hero fighting the good fight.  You just feel like the main characters are terrible people.

Kane & Lynch 2 Dog Days Review 3

You’ll get knocked down. A lot.

The 2 main characters are completely unlike-able terrible people who start off in a dicey situation doing an illegal deal and keep getting into progressively more and more awful situations only making them worse every time they try to solve them.  But at least they’re honest about being bastards.  They don’t spend the game-play murdering everyone they lay eyes on and then play the role of reluctant hero in cut-scenes like some protagonists do.  They’re just bastard-coated bastards with bastard filling 100% of the time.  They also usually rarely have any clue what they’re currently doing or are going to do next and just fumble through areas screaming incoherently at each other (and sometimes themselves) further adding to the feeling that you never ever for one single second have any kind of semblance of control on the situation and that everything is just on a continuing downward spiral towards even worse things.

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The madness

It’s a hell of a wild ride trying to escape the city as all kinds of shit hits the fan.  There is never a single moment of down-time where the two characters stop to mull over the consequences of their actions or what their next move should be.  There are no big dramatic set-pieces or cut-scenes.  You just keep moving through area after area slaughtering enemies and civilians alike unapologetically without a moment’s thought about what it is you’re meant to be doing and why you’re doing it.  But somehow, it never feels repetitive in doing so.  This is probably due largely to the enormous amount of uncontrollable chaos happening at all times around you.  You don’t have time for it to start to feel repetitive or boring because you are always on the back foot just trying to scrape your way through each situation.

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Some of the nastier injuries will be pixellated out

It’s a video game nasty.  It’s a straight to DVD film release.  I just wish they would make one final entry in this series.  Without spoiling anything, I can only say once you see the ending, you will know why.

Kane & Lynch 2 Dog Days Review 5

Hey, remember DVDs?

Kane & Lynch 2 Dog Days Review Summary

In every single conceivable and quantifiable way, it is absolutely terrible.  But somehow, it all comes together.  It all works.  It’s a beautifully honest, brutal, unashamed disgusting chaotic, haphazard nausea-inducing mess and I love it.  And if you give it a try, you just might find that you love it too.  Or not.  Not everyone will get it.  Those of you who get motion sickness easily may want to turn on the “steadycam” option which steadies the camera in the hands of the film-maker a bit more.  I probably haven’t explained it very well just how good this is.  But trust me on this one.  It’s a work of genius and it makes me sad that it never got the recognition that it deserved.  That’s why I will keep spreading the good word.

Final Score: 5/5

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Kane and Lynch are not nice men.


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