Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days Hands-On Preview
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days box art
System: X360, PS3, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: IO Interactive 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Eidos Interactive 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: August 17, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 (2+ Online) 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The game’s more responsive controls also help to improve upon its frantic pacing and feel, having a few new tricks of their own. The basic A.I. commands have been dropped (probably a good thing since Kane seems fine on his own anyway), but you can use the D-pad to locate downed enemy weapons via on-screen icons.

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days screenshot

Taking a page from Call of Duty, players are also given a second chance to kill an opponent if you take enough damage to fall down. Intuitively, from this position, you can get back up and automatically into cover, a helpful strategic maneuver. Scattered fuel cans and other projectiles can also be thrown into a crowd of enemies and shot automatically by firing your weapon. If you need to beat a hasty retreat, Lynch has unlimited sprinting stamina, though the jarring effects of the shaky cam while doing so may make some gamers nauseated (it did me in, and I’ve never gotten motion sickness from a game before).

Maneuvering their way through a series of back alleys, construction sites, and city streets, Dog Days captures the grit of Shanghai’s underbelly well. Much like the first game, the demo consisted mainly of a series of blazing shootouts in varied locales. , Despite some non-reactions from either Kane or Lynch to shooting civilians, the overall level of detail that’s been shown by Dog Days’ development is impressive. Shanghai is a harshly lit, fluorescent nightmare, and even outside of the game’s visual filters and imperfections, the character and level modeling and detail far outstrips the original game’s. One particularly memorable scene involves a shootout against the Shanghai police in a small video store, characterized by its hard light and shelves full of DVDs flying off their racks and lying strewn on the ground.

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Aside from getting a taste of the single-player campaign, which ends just before the two men get to Xiu’s apartment, the Xbox 360 demo also lets you play the game’s expanded multiplayer modes, as well a new arcade mode. They’re all variations on a heist theme, in which a gang of Kane and Lynch’s criminals (it remains to be seen if you can play as the titular anti-heroes in the final game) pulls a smash and grab job worth $4 four million dollars. Fragile Alliance is a team-based mode, where you work together to kill whomever’s protecting the cash, grab as much as you can, and make it to the getaway vehicle under time restrictions.

You can play this mode both online as well as in arcade mode, which runs the scenario over a number of times while increasing the difficulty of the opposition a la Gears of War 2’s horde mode. However, this also ups the chances that one or more of your teammates will turn on you to get more cash. On the other hand, you can also double-cross your friends and take their cash, but doing so will make you very unpopular, so tread carefully. Playing as a randomly selected character, you still have control of your loadout, and each level has various paths through which to achieve your objective. With the shaky cam dialed down slightly, this mode was surprisingly fun, and should prove to be a good addition to the single-player game. The other two multiplayer modes were cops and robbers, in which an eight-person team is split on either sides of the law, and Undercover Cop, where one randomly selected person on a team has to thwart the heist from taking place.

Being a far more ambitious undertaking, Dog Days is shaping up to be a promising (and intense) sequel. The only thing that has me concerned is the shaky cam. Although IO has promised the full game will have an option to turn it off, it was conspicuously absent from the demo. If for some reason this isn’t actually addressed in the retail version, it could be disastrous for many gamers. In fact, after about ten minutes of gameplay, I felt like I was going to throw up, a disconcerting and sobering thought to say the least. Hopefully, they’ll be able to make adjustments to the camera without sacrificing the games’ stylistic integrity. Still, Kane & Lynch fans are going to be thrilled with the across-the-board improvements IO has made in Dog Days.

By Steve Haske
CCC Freelance Writer


Game Features:

  • New shooter experience: With unmatched levels of realism and intensity, Kane & Lynch 2 delivers a grittier and more relentless experience than any other game in the genre.
  • Play as Lynch: This time, play as psychopath Lynch, taking full advantage of the opportunities Shanghai has to offer and allowing nothing to get in his way.
  • Online co-op: Play cooperatively with a partner through the entire story mode of the game.
  • New shooter gameplay: Kane & Lynch 2’s new shooter mechanics are built from the ground up include a button-activated cover system and refined A.I.
  • Acclaimed Heist multiplayer: Fragile Alliance is back with innovative new modes including Undercover Cop, Cops & Robbers, and Arcade mode.


  • Screenshots / Images
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