Update: We've updated with the correct name of the "Down But Not Out" feature; it's actually called "Down not Dead" and according to Io, will be a "highlight throughout the campaign."
The original Kane & Lynch didn’t quite live up to expectations and is probably better known for sparking that hullabaloo over at GameSpot. But this time around, Io Interactive plans to really make an impact. Before, they went for gritty; this time they going for all-out psychotic. Before, they presented us with a relatively standard third-person shooter; this time, it will look like no other game out there, thanks to a unique perspective. In other words, they’re taking the concept utilized for the first title and building upon it, pulling no punches in the process and actually landing a few right upside the gamer’s noggin. In all actuality, this may be a game that’s tough to watch. The main character is a legitimate sociopath, the violence is brutal, authentic and in your face, and it’s bound to generate plenty of controversy. In short, if you thought the first game was pretty hardcore, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
This is indeed a direct sequel, although the story takes place many years after the conclusion of the original. You will control Lynch, an absolute nutjob who played the background role in the first title, and he drags in Kane for one last major score in Shanghai. Lynch promises that everything will go smoothly and Kane signs on once more in order to make some money for his daughter (guys like this shouldn’t procreate, but whatever). Of course, nothing goes smoothly and it isn’t long before you’re at the threshold of hell. Massive gun battles will be the focal point ad if you’re at all squeamish when it comes to such things, you may have to look away. We haven’t seen much in the way of gory media but based on what we’ve heard, the action will be intense in every sense of the word. Lynch’s plan falls apart fast and not surprisingly, the two criminals must carve a path to freedom…all the while leaving a trail of blood and corpses in their wake.
It’s the aforementioned perspective and viewpoint that injects an extra amount of over-the-top grit into this sadistic adventure. Everything seems to appear like a streaming, low-quality YouTube video of sorts; it’s as if you’re simultaneously participating in and recording the debacle. When you get shot, the screen will shake and you’ll lose a certain amount of visibility; extra bright lighting will cause details to bleed across the screen, and in general, the entire 48-hour adventure will look like an amateur home video. When we say “48 hours,” that’s not to be taken literally; the entire storyline in the game takes place over only two days, but we imagine the game will be of a normal length (8-10 hours, maybe). During your time, that amateur camera of sorts will be fixed on the actions of either Kane or Lynch, and the good news is we should have a refined combat system. The gameplay controls have been tweaked to give us a better cover mechanic and – we’re hoping – better AI and collision detection.
One new feature is something called the “Down not Dead” element: if you fall under a hail of bullets, you’re given one chance to crawl towards cover. Either that, or you can rise to your feet for one final insane attack and go down in a blaze of glory. …the latter option probably shouldn’t be relied upon that often. But there will be the return of a familiar feature; this one attached to the multiplayer and known as “Fragile Alliance.” This was one of the lone bright spots in the original, as this unique contest involved some real psychology. It was essentially cops versus robbers and if you were the robbers, you could turn on your fellow lawbreakers and take ‘em out. Doing so would net you a bigger haul but would also up the risk…with less allies, it would always be tougher to get out alive. But again, the good idea fell apart a bit due to merely average controls, which is something Io will have to address in the sequel.
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is designed to be filthy and just plain evil. This alone may be enough to convince some to try it, but they’ll still need to get past the mediocre reception of the first game, which people do remember. If they can pull it off, though, you’ll be looking at one of the most psychotic pieces of interactive lunacy ever.