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Kane & Lynch: Dead Men Review
publisher: Eidos Interactive
developer: IO Interactive
PIV 2000, 1GB RAM, 7GB HDD, 128MB video card
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Nov 14, 07 (released)
|» All About Kane & Lynch: Dead Men on ActionTrip|
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men was definitely on our list of highly anticipated games for 2007. We had it marked as Eidos' big entry to the holiday season release frenzy. Coming straight from Hitman creators Io Interactive, this game puts players into a dynamic story-driven experience. We took the time to check out the PC version (it's also available on PS3 and 360 platforms).
The whole thing kicks off with Kane and Lynch, the two central characters, busting out of prison. Following a successful breakout, Kane meets up with his merc friends, a powerful group called The7. Things heat up when The7 declares Kane a traitor, giving him three weeks to make up for his alleged disloyalty. You also get to go around with Lynch, whose unstable temperament adds more to the suspense. In short, unless he keeps taking his meds, he becomes enraged and trigger-happy. Lynch is more of a bystander in all this... or so it seems. The plot thickens as you play on, but I guess shouldn't spoil things for you guys.
The single-player portion shows a great advantage over most modern-day action games. The narrative is exciting all the way and you'll find a fair amount of twists and character depth, as each chapter unfolds. Kane & Lynch becomes fun thanks to its cinematic atmosphere, depicted via well-animated characters, intense action scenes and solid dialogue. The visuals may not be up to today's standards, but they do the trick. What's more, voiceovers were done with great care, so every character appears quite convincing. Actors get two thumbs up for voice performances. Likewise, audio design in general perfectly blends with the game's ambiance and that refers to everything from gunfire sounds to the dynamic soundtrack.
Gamers familiar with the Hitman series should feel right at home. Even if the camera movement and gameplay mechanics are a bit different, overall, it does sometimes feel like a revamped Hitman game. Bearing in mind that this is 2007 after all, that move didn't help, obviously. The gameplay in Kane & Lynch is far from perfect. To begin with, concealing yourself from enemy fire was a strenuous experience to say the least. Supposedly, all you need to do is stand close to a wall, pillar or other objects, and your character should automatically assume the appropriate stance. And, even if he does act promptly, he'll frequently face in the wrong direction. If you try to lean against a wall (or any other object), most of the time the character just stands there instead of using the cover in front of him. It's something you have to do often throughout the game and it gets very wearisome when the character doesn't respond in time.
Other aspects seem unpolished as well. The aiming system isn't exactly as intuitive as we expected it to be. It just feels a bit clunky and, on the whole, underdeveloped. Other quirks include faulty AI. Opponent behavior exhibits mostly common AI routines such as ducking behind cover or firing insanely. At times, they leave their cover for no apparent reason, which makes them sitting ducks. Without taking even the slightest precaution to avoid gunfire, they also tend to rush towards your crew aimlessly; again, making themselves easy targets.
Friendly AI improves the situation a wee bit. You are allowed to give orders to crew members, but from my experience, this was unnecessary since they seemed quite capable of defending themselves and aiding me when I was in trouble. Basically, teammates revive your character by injecting adrenaline into his heart, should he succumbs to his wounds. None of the crew members will assist you though, if you don't watch their backs as well. Players can also instruct their teammates to take certain positions or attack specific targets. This proved helpful a number of times. The bad news is that coordinating an attack will be a pickle, especially when you have more than three crew members with you. Furthermore, some friendly characters will find themselves out in the open, usually in an attempt to follow your character, even if they weren't ordered to do so.
The game takes you through a linear single-player campaign, but the environments change often enough, breaking the monotony. Io did a praiseworthy job with making some of the locations look authentic. The nightclub scene is the best example. Cool-looking indoor lighting, smoke, laser effects and techno music swelling in the backdrop, as Kane & Lynch make their way through the club. All these effects convey the mood of a real-life nightclub.
The overall presentation of the game, the cool narrative and a compelling movie-like ambiance are bound to hold your attention. For that reason, I'm sure plenty of you will feel motivated to finish this one, despite its rusty gameplay mechanics.
The game has a decent range of weapons like, handguns, rifles, shotguns, snipers, grenades and so on. Each weapon in your arsenal can be given to a crew member, in case you want to change battle tactics on the fly. You're also able to employ different melees attacks, frequently used to disarm or knockdown enemies (permanently).
Compelling story, good direction, cinematic atmosphere, a variety of unique areas to go through, neat multiplayer concept;
Doesn't fulfill its potential, flawed AI, gameplay underdeveloped in single-player campaign.