Review by blueninja4444

"Kane and Lynch? Some Heroes... You Two Might As Well Be Dead Men..."

IO Interactive... The team that brought you the Hitman series is bringing you a new third person shooter, and though they share the same elements, this game, Kane and Lynch: Dead Men, is not a rip off. Kane and Lynch is an exciting and captivating new game, intended solely for mature audiences that also delves into the world of underground crime. Kane and Lynch may sound like a lawyer duo at a law firm but this game is about a sinister duo who can't seem to get along despite being on a “team”, and it's a story and game so epic, I'll have to break it down to you further so we can truly see how Kane and Lynch compares to the other modern day shooters of the same genre....

Graphics: 10/10
Exclusive to the next-gen systems, Kane and Lynch was touted as a beautiful game from it's conception and you'll have to agree, it delivers. Kane and Lynch will push your PS3 to the limits for a variety of reasons, included a Tokyo night club level complete with realistic lights and tons of people dancing around you, as you and your psycho friend try to make it through unnoticed. The cut scenes are great, very well done, and some very cool special effects happen if you get caught in the enemy tear gas, or if Lynch accidentally forgets to take his medication.

And what's really neat here, in addition to the above, is that the split screen co-op can often have you two seeing different things even though you're looking at the same objects, case in point: Lynch losing his cool and thinking inanimate objects and NPCs are cops that he has to kill. Kane can clearly look at the NPC and see it's just a helpless old woman, but Lynch's screen will show a cop getting ready to fire at ya. Hey what's a guy to do? Gotta kill that cop, right?

Needless to say, the graphics are quite amazing, and if the creators thought they couldn't pull something off then they just left it out. I noticed there wasn't any close water in this game I could really take a look at to see if it looked good, and there aren't many explosions either. But hey, we've all seen water before, but a night club level complete with raving young snobs? Now that's part of what makes Kane and Lynch so unique. That and the fact that the characters are balding, old, and not too muscular. Completely the opposite of what games in the past have used.

Sound: 10/10
Man! Where to begin? The music is composed by Jesper Kyd, an award winning composer who created the sinister music from the Hitman games. It might go without saying, but I'll say it anyways: The music is flat out good. At times it's eerie, other times it's conveys the action well. Sometimes the music gets sad to go with sad twists in the story. But whatever the case may be, Kyd did a great job matching up the music with the current emotion, be it during the gameplay or during the twisted story cut scenes.

The sound effects aren't anything to laugh at either. Different guns make all different noises, different enemies shout all sorts of taunts, and of course, all sorts of screams of agony as you throw grenades at squads of baddies. But a truly interesting aspect of the sound is when you die certain events of your life “flashes before your eyes” in audio form only. The background noises are not heard any more (or barely) and you can hear past events from cut scenes or even things that took place before the game like Kane talking to “The7”. It's truly dramatic and that music, is flat out disturbing. Well done.

Now, as you may already know this game takes great pride in being story driven. The right voice acting talent can make or break a game like this, so how does Kane and Lynch do in this category? Well, flat out perfect! Kane and Lynch have extensive lines and bickering in this game and the voice actors are extremely talented. There's talk of a Kane and Lynch movie coming to Hollywood and if you like that movie, you better thank the guys behind the scenes here for bringing the roles to life.

An example of a line well done that sticks out in my head goes something like - Kane says, “Lynch?! What are you doing?? Snap out of it!!” and Lynch replies “Snap out of it? What the **** is that supposed to mean?!” which sounds extremely juvenile, but with the voice acting here, it sends goosebumps down your spine, trust me.

Controls: 8/10
There isn't anything you've never seen in the controls section before, this is a third person shooter and it handles just like one. R2 shoots, L2 focuses your aim, R1 is the grenades, the right stick lets you look/aim and the left stick moves you. It's all pretty basic and there are multiple control schemes to chose from, even the ability to invert the Y-look. But I am a little disappointed that the PS3 version of this game did not get exclusive controls for the SIXAXIS motion capability (see games Rainbow Six Vegas 2 or Army of Two).

Story: 10/10
“Kane, if they don‘t kill you soon... I will!” - Lynch
Kane and Lynch is a game designed with story in mind! Some games are thought up, and then a boring side story is thrown in just for the sake of it, but every thing you do in this game affects the story somehow. Unlike the similar Army of Two game, the titular characters are not friends and don't even know each other before the game starts. Kane is a criminal on death row, Lynch is a psychopath assigned to keep watch on Kane after they escape death row.

As a team, Kane and Lynch can barely function. As a story, Kane and Lynch is an epic tale of bad guys versus bad guys. Kane's ex-teammates, The7, are out for revenge when their last mission together, years ago, went horribly wrong. Lynch, a man with many issues, is keeping tabs on him and is fed lies to fuel his drive. The story includes deceit, surprises, sad stuff, funny stuff, and the whole nine yards. I don't want to give too much away, since that's half the fun of this game, but there's no doubts about the quality and effort in this part of the game.

Gameplay: 8/10
So with great graphics, a perfect story, superior sound and the whole nine yards, all Kane and Lynch needs is outstanding gameplay and it's the complete package, right? Unfortunately, it's another classic scenario of you win some you lose some. In the midst of the finely tuned packaged the makers forget to make the gameplay itself epic!

The game is a basic third person shooter, and more of an unrealistic “all out war” game than a true-to-life Rainbow Six game. You can have two weapons and two grenades at a time, and are given the ability to steal weapons from fallen enemies. There are multiple gun types in this game from shotgun to pistol to sniper rifles to more, and each one is fun and has it's own unique advantages.

The first thing you may notice, even if you love cooperative shooters like this (as I do) is that even the easiest difficulty level (of the three difficulties) is extremely difficult and can get frustrating fast. The game is loaded with checkpoints because they figure you'll need them that much!

Another odd point here is the healing factor. Like in other games of this nature, while alive and taking damage your screen will start to turn red and you need to hide from enemies until your X-Men's Wolverine-like healing powers kick in and you're back to one hundred percent. And when you die your buddy is given a certain amount of time to heal you with a syringe. But unlike other games, the amount of time you are given to heal your buddy varies, and I'm not quite sure what factors into that. During one death you could take 30 seconds to get over to your buddy, and heal him no problem. But the next time you try this on a different level you will get the game over screen in 5 seconds, not leaving you without enough time to heal him.

Another downside here is that the enemy does not act realistically to taking gun fire. For example, if you're in a situation where you see an enemy's feet only so you figure “I'll pop him in the knee and that'll stun him long enough for me to move around the corner and finish the job!” but after shooting him in the knee, he doesn't even flinch or get stunned he just turns around and busts a cap in you. Of course head shots work perfect, but body shots, not so much.

Even though there are some downsides, one of the most interesting positive aspects is that thanks to the power of the next-gen systems, Kane and Lynch can be forced to carry out separate aspects of the same mission alone. One early example includes player 1 heading down to the bank vault, while player 2 stays up stairs and fends off the horde of enemies that are coming after player 1. Other interesting tidbits include Kane and Lynch taking out vehicles in a most interesting high speed get away scene.

This gameplay may not be perfect, but it is fun and it is solid. The story is also interwoven into the gameplay in a great way. You won't be disappointed.

Replay Value: 7/10
The game is world renown for having a really impressive online mode, but I'm not a big fan of online and can't tell you a lot about the unique “Fragile Alliance” mode, but I will add points because I've heard so many great things about it. If you love online death matches of the sort, you'll like this game which is good.

Also of note, if you love split screen co-op games with your best bro, this is a game for you. Player 1 is automatically Kane and Player 2 is automatically Lynch. Playing two player is so fun, I would dare say that you're actually missing out on the experience if you play solo. Nothing is greater than seeing a Lynch flip out with your own eyes.

Once the game is over, the movie is over and that sort of kills the replayability. A lot of the early “twists” and “OMG he didn't!!” moments are spoiled for any chance of a second play through, topped off with the fact that all three difficulty levels are frustratingly hard. A second play through is highly unlikely, but you're guaranteed to have lots of fun with your first one anyway.

Overall: 8
Shallow gameplay doesn't stop Kane and Lynch from feeling and playing like a great game, albeit a rushed great game. It is often pointed out that this game was released right before the holiday season, so perhaps it was indeed rushed just to make sales. But a great story, cast and genuine next-gen experience are enough to want you craving more Kane and Lynch, which is great because a sequel has already been announced. In the mean time, sit back, grab your medication and a SIXAXIS controller and get ready to shoot someone... Even if that means your partner in crime. A great 8 out of 10!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 03/28/08

Game Release: Kane & Lynch: Dead Men (US, 11/13/07)

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