Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Expect one wild ride with "Kane & Lynch"
If you are looking for insane action, intense gunplay and drugs, "Kane & Lynch" may be your game. Just don't forget the Quaaludes.
The action shooter, released by Eidos and developed by the folks behind the popular "Hitman" series and the underground classic, "Freedom Fighters," Io-Interactive, takes gamers on a truly wild ride. The game follows the violent journey of two men - an ex-mercenary and a guy I will say is so mentally challenged, he makes Sybil look like Orphan Annie. You know the backstory - both men are wronged and want revenge. Oh, and the way it happens, it's like watching "24's" Jack Bauer cleaning out a city block in "The Sopranos."
The opening sequence in the game sets up the entire game. You play the single player campaign as Kane and you are on your way to prison for some foolishness. On your way, the bus you are in is blown to pieces and you are rescued by this set of ruthless, machine-gun-toting tough guys. You will end up facing a ton of cops, but don't worry - a pickup truck rolls in to take you to safety. You learn you are wanted by some old *friends* want to know information, hence why they busted you out.
The story gets even crazier, from robbing a bank (and Lynch has a mental episode during the heist) to dodging a huge dump truck to save your daughter. I won't even mention busting INTO a prison to get a crew to enact your revenge.
The weirdest part of the game? Covering Lynch while he carries a woman out of the club she owns. And you guessed it, her muscle isn't too fond of it. You have to literally shoot your way out of place - then, she escapes and you have to do it all over again.
Cool gameplay? No doubt. You can do several things in the game that make it fun to play. Your character can rappel from buildings, fire on the run or from moving cars and trucks, lay down cover fire, hurl grenades and use cover to stay alive. The enemy A.I. isn't a pushover either. During the prison mission, you have to fight tooth and nail to get out after breaking in. The enemy A.I. at times is rather clueless, but they do seek cover and will try to outflank you. I'll give credit where credit is due - several times, I didn't think the enemies would do certain tactics and I would end up dead.
The one feature I like but got frustrated with the most? The precise enemy sniper. And what's funny is - you will be hiding behind a car or structure and a small box will appear on-screen and you will see yourself in someone's cross-hairs. They miss their targets at times, but not very often.
Your crew will get you back on your feet *most times* when you fall unconscious. I don't know how many times you have to fall before you are died, but if you have some life, one of your crew, more than likely Lynch, will whip out a syringe filled with some powerful drugs, jab you with it and immediately, you are resurrected. What I find funny is how police or SWAT team members are standing around, watching your crew get you back on your feet. I would rather see the officers whip the devil out of my crew instead of waiting for everyone to recover. Mercy is one thing, but letting your enemy back into the fight? Only in movies and video games.
You can also fight alone and let your crew draw fire, hurl grenades and distract enemies. While they are taking the heat, you can sneak around and get the jump on the baddies.
The game is linear - don't expect open sandbox with this game. With this game, it wouldn't work because they settings take place in several areas. I would have loved to see how this would be in an open sandbox. Nonetheless, the environments, from an executive boardroom, to a Cuba-like country in the midst of a civil war to a jam-packed night club with tons of patrons, you won't be bored with the environments.
The graphics are good - the character and NPC movements aren't choppy - they work well. Some of the environments depicted, like rappeling down a high-rise, are just spectacular. Other environments? Not so much. The environments you are put in seem large and give you plenty of places to hide and fight from.
The sounds are ok - the characters are foul-mouthed and the screams are chilling. I found myself numb to the sirens.
If you have a friend, you can tackle the campaign mode together. The action is delivered via split screen.
The multiplayer game is an interesting beast. Up to 8 gamers can play in 'Fragile Alliance' mode. In the mode, players work together to pull off a heist. The surviving players share the loot - dead players respawn as a guard and try to stop the heist. And just like real crimes, you can turn on your crew and become a traitor.
It's a wild ride hanging with "Kane & Lynch."
The good: Interesting storyline, tons of locales, funny dialogue, focused A.I., crazy multiplayer modes and intense action
The bad: Controllers may be awkward at times, drug use in the game, the staggering body count and lastly, how mentally unstable you realize your partner, Lynch, is.
The ugly: The bank after Lynch's episode
Overall: 8.0 (out of 10) - while "Kane & Lynch" isn't perfect, it is an intense, action-packed game that brings some pretty cool ideas to the genre. I would have loved to see a healing system instead of the Lynch injections, which could promote the use of drugs. However, it's worth your time to see you like shooters. In the regard, it won't disappoint.