If I ever was in prison and needed to escape, there is no doubt I would take someone like Lynch with me. Lynch is one crazy mofo and is a great counterpart to Kane. IrishPride here with the PC review of the 3rd person over the shoulder shooter, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. Also, I would never drop the soap in prison, just saying...
From the producers of the Hitman series, IO Interactive created a gritty action shooter; something completely different from the stealth and espionage of Code Name 47. When Kane & Lynch: Dead Men came out a few years ago, it was riddled with bad reviews from multiple gaming websites. Being a huge fan of Hitman, I was really looking forward to playing this game when it was originally released; however, after reading multiple bad reviews, I decided to take a pass on it. In a way I was happy I did that, on the other hand, I missed out on a pretty decent game.
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men opens up with you, playing as Kane, breaking out of prison. The setting is a downtown Los Angeles look alike and the first few levels are exciting and action packed. You pretty much learn how the story is going to progress from the beginning. No one is going to be winning a Pulitzer for the writing in this one. It’s your basic story line: your character has problems with previous employers and they claim you stole something from them before you went to prison and they want that item back. Deep shit, I know. Taken lightly, like most of the game itself, the story is fine and doesn’t get in the way. As you progress, you find yourself going to different locals; California, Tokyo, Havana and the jungles of Cuba. This helps the game stay fresh since you’re never fighting in the same area.
Gamers looking for a precise shooter will not find it here with Kane & Lynch. Shooting can sometimes be way off target. It may look like you’re aiming at the enemy; only to see bullets whiz by. While the game may not be a top notch shooter for all you shooter elitists, it’s still an action packed thrill ride that is simply fun to play.
In Kane & Lynch, you will find your basic game modes: single player campaign, multiplayer and co-op. Every mode is what you expect, except for maybe cooperative mode. At first glance, Kane & Lynch looks like it was designed specifically for co-op. There are two main characters throughout the campaign, so you can play as Kane and your buddy as Lynch. One huge drawback is that you cannot play co-op online, only split screen. Remember folks, I’m playing this on a PC. How many friends do you know that play split screen on a PC!?! One player uses the mouse and keyboard setup while the other player is forced to use a XBOX 360 controller. If you ask me, IO Interactive missed a huge standard for PC gamers to play an entertaining co-op experience.
When controlling Kane, you have the ability to give basic commands to Lynch and your other comrades. These commands include target the enemy you are engaging, a move-to command and a follow command; simple but effective. The game also has a built in cover system, so get up close and personal with a wall and you will automatically go into cover. I would have liked to have seen a Gears of War type cover system where you can just hit a button and be able to cover. Being automatic, there were times where I wanted to take cover, but apparently it wasn’t detected. Other times when I was running down empty hallways, I would take cover from Casper, damn that ghost! It’s actually quite comical how the cover systems works, or lack thereof. In the tutorial, the game specifically emphasizes on the importance of taking cover. While it would have been nice to be able to consistently take cover when the bullets started to fly, I found that you really didn’t need it. I primarily made it though the game without taking cover.
This goes to show how spotty the AI can be. A majority of the time, I would stand in the open and shoot. This left me vulnerable, but it was a lot easier than getting shot up when I was trying to get into cover. If I did meet an untimely death, the game introduced one of its strongest points, the adrenaline shot. If you die while playing a mission, Lynch or another party member can shoot you with a shot of adrenaline which is very convenient and keeps the action rolling. It may sound like this adrenaline shot makes you immortal, you’re not. If you’re shot up with adrenaline too many times, you will overdose on the drug. Also, when you do die, dialog plays in the background of events that happened previously in the game which is a cool technique to renew your interest in a lackluster story.
Another great innovation of the game is how you get ammo. In other shooters you are forced to look for crates of ammo to replenish your weapons and making sure you find the correct type of ammo for your weapon. In Kane & Lynch, when you are low on ammunition one of your party members will tell you that they have ammo for you to have. Simply find the teammate that has a bullet logo over his head and receive instant ammo for your weapon. This eliminates the tedious action of looking for the correct type of ammo and keeps you in the thick of the action. Just like the adrenaline shot, don’t expect your comrades to continue to give ammo. After awhile, they will tell you to find your own and you’re left with getting ammo off dead enemies.
Graphics & Sound:
From a graphics point of view, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men is nothing groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination. You can definitely see the graphical style of Hitman so don’t expect to see a new graphical engine. It was nice to see that IO Interactive focused on the details, especially the balding scalp of Kane. This may sound like something little, but it gives you a chance to connect with the characters that you are playing. Yes they are prison escapees that kill a lot of cops, but they too have problems like many adults.
When getting shot to hell, blood will bleed on your clothes and you can actually see the bullet holes. I found myself shooting my teammates to try and make a smiling face courtesy of bullet holes, they were none to pleased. The different locations throughout the game are nicely done and add diversity to the graphics. It was nice not being outdoors all the time in an urban setting. Besides, even con men have to take a break at a night club once in a while.
One major flaw to the graphics was the enemy models. All the enemies looked and moved the same way! Apparently cloning has progressed rapidly in Kane and Lynch’s world. I’ll admit, when shooting enemies, the only thing you want to see is them falling to their deaths after being riddled with bullets; however, a little variety to the character models would have been an extremely thoughtful addition.
The dialog of Kane and Lynch themselves is where the audio really shines. Many games have their main characters be voiceless or are horribly voiced. Kane and Lynch are the exception. The voice actors that played Kane and Lynch were phenomenal. The voice acting really pulls you into the game and helps build an understanding of the main characters. It’s fun to sit and listen to Kane bicker about how psycho Lynch is and continuing to tell him to take his medication. I wish I could say that the voice acting was good for the other characters as well, but I would rather have great voice acting for the main characters for obvious reasons.
Between each campaign mission, there is a loading screen. What makes this loading screen different from traditional loading screens is that there is dialog that plays while the game is loading. Instead of watching a bar slowly fill up, you actually get to hear the two antiheroes talk and it actually progresses the story.
Sound effects for weaponry are nothing spectacular and get the job done. Explosives, on the other hand, are lackluster to say the least. When shooting an armored vehicle with a rocket launcher, I didn’t even know for sure if/when I destroyed it. There was a little puff of smoke and a glimmer of what I think was fire. It wasn’t until I walked right next to the vehicle that I realized it was destroyed.
When Kane & Lynch: Dead Men first came out, I wanted to play it right away. My excitement of playing it turned to skepticism after reading many bad reviews, so I decided to take a pass. When I was at E3, I played a little bit of the new Kane and Lynch game: Kane & Lynch: Dog Days. After enjoying the little I got to play of the sequel, I decided to give the first one a go despite the bad reviews. Only paying $5 for it off Steam during their summer sale didn’t hurt either. At the full $50 price tag when it originally came out, I would have had a hard time recommending it, especially since it only took me a little over five hours to beat. However, if you can find it in a bargain bin for $20 or less, I highly recommend picking it up. While Kane & Lynch: Dead Men is not a perfect shooter, it’s still an action packed thrill ride that I enjoyed from beginning to end.
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