View Full Version : New Kane & Lynch Review!

12th Nov 2007, 22:12
A new review is up: http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=175473

Good score, 8/10. It sounds like everything I hoped for and more!

Games and movies are getting close by the day. Though there are stark differences, there is common ground to explore. In fact, every developer working on a new IP for this generation of hi-def consoles swears blindly that their's is the one that will genuinely guarantee an experience mirroring a million dollar popcorn blockbuster. Where other developers hire big name movie talent to inch closer to the feel of a film, IO Interactive doesn't need any of this.

Hitman was always genuinely cinematic in scope and execution and Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, IO's latest foray into the sinister underbelly of the criminal world, goes even further. Kane & Lynch wears its influences right there on its bloodied sleeve for everyone to see. There's absolutely no qualms about it, K&L relies not on name actors, Tinsel town scribes or blockbuster scorers, instead on sheer brute force, bad attitude, high-class medication and an adoration for the men-in-suits gangster flicks made famous by the Hollywood hip generation and veteran helmers.

It's a Mann's world
Kane & Lynch is best described as a blisteringly anarchic ode to Michael Mann, Tarantino and Scorsese flicks while serving as a spiritual successor to IO's 2003 novel squad-based shooter, Freedom Fighters. Not the prettiest looking game of its generation (in fact, we'd go so far as to say this may have even started out as a PS2 title before shifting platforms) it packs in a wedge of action, reams of shoot-outs, some of the most colourful language of late and a body count that's worthy of its own place on the mantle of gaming's history of violence. Check out some of our screens and the moment where you have to shoulder and shoot your way through a heaving nightclub.

Sinister, sick and just downright dirty, this grit-spitter tale sees both Kane (the one with the broken nose) and Lynch (the one with the mullet) thrust together on a mission to hell and back. You see; Kane was once a family man, driven to the brink of insanity after his two-year-old infant son shot himself dead with one of Kane's pistols in a freak accident.

Nearing the mouth of madness, he finds himself hip deep in **** with a crime syndicate known as The7 and right in the middle of a botched heist in Venezuela that takes with it the lives of 25 innocents. This then leaves Kane with an opportunity to break away with a cache of cold hard cash, leaving The7 out of pocket and out for revenge. Queue a shift to the present and Kane is en route to Death Row and The7 aren't going to let their money go up in smoke with their Judas' corpse. Shoehorned into this murky and murderous tale is the foul-mouthed trigger-happy Lynch, Kane's crime spree chaperone who's been brought into break Kane out of prison and grab the stolen cash - or his daughter will be killed.

Naturally they don't get along, leaving plenty of room for caustic face-offs, savage swearing bouts of abuse and moments of complete and utter madness at the hands of the extremely unhinged Lynch. He's a paranoid schizophrenic in constant need of meds, especially when you branch off into Co-op mode. Just wait for the pig head hallucinations when Lynch starts to wiggle a toe over insanity's edge.

Prison Break
From the moment the game kicks into action with Kane & Lynch's breakneck prison break at the hands of The7 (and possibly one of the slickest tutorial missions ever), which culminates in a very Tarrantino doughnut shop shootout, it's pretty clear where IO is going with this. Kane & Lynch wants you to hurt; it wants to bring out the worst in you as you slowly become sanitized by the duo's downward spiral into madness and murder. There's no room for redemption and murder is a necessity for survival. Easily offended? Then this is absolutely not the game for you.

Still, there is no denying IO knew what it was doing and this is purely the beginning of a brand new gaming series for the Hitman developer. And as for the film references? It couldn't have asked for a better compliment when indie studio turned big hitter Lions' Gate snared the rights and set two teams of scribes to work on the script.

In just one mission, we blasted our way down three stories of a skyscraper gunning down security guards, Yakuza and 'real' people before changing into a suit and heading out through the front door in a scene reminiscent of Mann's street shootout in Heat. Unashamedly cinematic in its delivery, this is a game that so desperately wants to be a film it shouts it out with every shootout. Is this a good thing? If you love slick crime flicks then yes, if not, it could end up as just another shooter. It's not. It runs a lot deeper.

Like 2003's Freedom Fighters you start off on your own before quickly being able to send Lynch off in a series of directions to either a) man a post from a cover spot b) take someone down or c) stay by your side providing backup. Here you can switch between your own weapons and Lynch's, trading each one back and forth if, say, pistols aren't your thing.

As the missions unfurl, you recruit more team members. In fact, conscripting your gang is one of Kane & Lynch's finest hours, a rampant prison break that sees you and your mulleted cohort ram through a wall in a dump truck and storm the facilities hallways and cells in search of some old faces to form a squad of mercs and take on The7. Sheer brilliance.

Jungle fever
Since Eidos launched its marketing campaign for Kane & Lynch, all you've seen are stacks of shots showing the duo in action on rooftops, buildings and city streets. What you didn't see was the twist: Kane & Lynch take to the dense Havana jungles and war-torn streets in the middle of civil unrest in full-on combat merc gear with their squad of soldiers.

This is the closest Kane & Lynch comes to resembling Freedom Fighters and oddly, some of the game's best missions including a face off with a Hind chopper, tanks and an entire army in a town square. Best of all though, is that you get to recruit a swarm of rebels too, which makes for some palm-sweating, small-country-conquering action.

Scripting problems
Of course we did have some issues. There were a number of bugs we found over the course of the game - like aiming squarely at an enemy, blasting them and somehow missing. Plus there was a moment where we found shelter and couldn't properly shoot from out of corner cover. Worst of all was the enemy AI earlier on in the game, which made for some infuriating moments including not being able to take out enemies because they had yet to be scripted into the gameplay.

It should be said that you get more from Kane & Lynch when playing with a friend. This game was designed as a Co-op romp, with a buddy rampaging as Lynch - and it certainly feels more complete played this way. You'll see more of the game as your friend splits off to run through Lynch's missions and it's always better covering your friend's back than a faceless NPC.

Rough edges aside, Kane & Lynch is still a solid squad-based shooter with plenty of action, great characters, tight story and a slew of cinematic influences so brazenly clear you can't help but smirk at them.
Suit up and go to work...

12th Nov 2007, 22:19
8/10 is a good score. :)