Wednesday, July 13, 2011

REVIEW: Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days

"Cheated again, by the same girl"

I remember when the first installment was coming out, I was eagerly waiting for it. The promise of a dark story with two well developed character and a co-up based gameplay was really tempting. When the game came out I bought it but was later greatly disappointed. The game was nothing I was looking for. It's like really looking forward to date a girl, but when you actually go out with her, she turns out to be a mess. Now the girl is back at your door, claiming that she has changed, and this time she's going to be different. You look at the expectations, and agree to date again. What will come out of it this time?

Unfortunately, terrible. Aiming is really hard, and you spend most of your bullets on the walls. Of course, aiming is supposed to be automatic, but the auto lock system is simply broken. Sometimes it stops working, many times it works badly and hits something else. The AI of the enemies is a disaster. Sometimes you run into them and they won't react to you at all. They keep running into walls, and doing stupid things such as not running when you throw a grenade, or sheltering behind something that fully exposes them to your threat. Is your companion any better? Unfortunately, no, he's not. You will miss Ashley Graham and Shiva of Resident Evil games when you play this one. He will repeatedly gets himself killed, and he always puts you in sticky situations. Seriously, the NPC AI of previous generation was far better than the AI in this game.

And one point: did you know what is the strongest gun of the game? A handgun. Yes, it's more powerful than automatic weapons. This ridiculous fact alone shows the care the developers have put into making this game.

There are some so-called innovations. It seems the whole game is recorded with a hand-held camera. It's similar to videos people put on youtube. The question is, why? Why it should be different? Does it make the gameplay better? No, at times it makes it worse. When you want to aim on the head of a guy far from you but the avant-gard style stops you. Is it related to the plot? Does it enforce the message of the game? The developers may have thought movies such as Paranormal Activity or Cloverfield are cool [read with emphasis], but those movies at least had a justification for their choice. What justification do they have? None.

The only reason that I didn't stop playing after the first troublesome level. The story starts very good and engages you right away. But the game destroys this as well. As you progress through the game plot hole after hole rains on your head. The story becomes flat and it becomes boring. The ending is a disaster. What other game do you remember which engaged you at first but at the end the story became a disaster? Oh, yeah, the first Kayne and Lynch.

When you have a story which relies solely on its two protagonists, you should at least make them interesting. The game doesn't even do that. Kayne and Lynch are not plausible, and they don't arouse your sympathy, admiration, or anything. They're flat, ridiculous, and seem to have no real motive.

The only thing positive I can say about this game is that some of the dialogues between them are witty and well written. But that's hardly a reason you play a game, since reading a quotation page on the internet gives you the same pleasure and doesn't cost that much.

One can forgive bugs when it comes to open world or really huge games. But Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is a linear game, and most action takes place indoors. In that case, the developers have a little to worry about, and we really don't expect little details, messy objects, lame explosions and bugs, tons of bugs.

The lame uber-intellectual noisy-youtube-like rendering has given the developers an excuse to look ugly. They try to hide their lazy designs behind this effect. This part is really offending.

When you don't have plausible characters, you won't have good voice actings. Although, I feel the need to compliment the voice actors, they have done their part of the jobs excellently. But as I said, when what you say makes no sense how you say it is not important, therefore their effort is sadly wasted.

I was satisfied with the music too, there was a little music but it was mostly beautiful.

But the sound effects are again a failure: You will hear a lot of noise, many identical, and in crowded places there's no balance, and far and close sound the same. The realism the developers were hoping for is nothing but an illusion.

I have a great respect for IO interactive, because they are the developers of one of my most favorite series, Hitman. But why this one is such a mess I have no idea, and I'm sad.

Almost at the same time of the first Kayne and Lynch, another game was released with basically the same idea behind it: The Army of Two. That game was a shellacking disaster as well, but The Army of Two: 40 Days, the second game, was much better, and it was playable and especially the PSP version was good. However, the rival, Kayne and Lynch, has miserably failed again.

So, we've been cheated again. The girl lied, she hasn't changed a bit, she's the same ugly, stupid girl she was before. There may be a third part to the series, but I, in my own, announce my permanent break up with these series.

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