The first Kane & Lynch didn’t really do it for me, which is something you’ll probably hear from quite a few people, especially critics. But after completing the requisite research for the sequel, and seeing plenty of media and updates, I became moderately enthusiastic; the dark, gritty, documentary-style perspective had promise. After going through the admittedly short demo several times, I’ve come to the conclusion that while the promise is still there, I have my reservations. Obviously, it’s never a good idea to issue final judgment on the product based only on a sample – especially when that sample is only minutes long – so I won’t be passing any verdicts here. Even so, there are certain aspects of a production that can’t be altered too significantly when a game is only weeks away from launch, which means this demo could be true to the final experience. If that’s the case…well, like I said, I need more play time.
For the record, this demo that exceeds 1.4GB will only take you about 10-15 minutes to go through (multiplayer option aside), unless you die a lot and have trouble adjusting to the control and somewhat weird perspective. I died several times immediately after the demo started, in fact. It all begins with a bang as a police raid quickly interrupts the guys, who are hanging out at an interesting little place in Shanghai. You’ll immediately have to duck and cover and you’ll soon realize that only certain objects can stop bullets. You’ll also realize that even if you think you’re in cover, bullets can still find you. This becomes even more evident when you take your fight to the streets; I haven’t decided yet if this is a flaw or if it’s part of the realistic atmosphere. Thing is, it’s clear that along with the view that appears as if the entire game is being shot by an amateur film-maker (shaky, unfocused lens and everything), the developers are striving for authenticity. A few bullets are enough to take you down.
So it’s very cool that wooden obstacles won’t stop bullets for long, and you always have to take this into account. I just didn’t like the idea of being hunkered down in cover behind a car, only to be hit by several bullets. The reason I don’t think it’s a flaw is because my side could’ve been exposed, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that at least some of the flying bullets would hit their mark. I’m just used to cover being cover , I guess. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing; just means you have to really pay attention to your position at all times. The third-person shooter mechanic seems to work just fine, as there didn’t seem to be any collision detection issues. I did, however, sometimes find it a little disconcerting when sprinting: when you do the camera sort of wobbles back and forth (hearkening back to what I mentioned earlier), but your character almost seems to float. I.e., he doesn’t really run with weight. It's a little bizarre.
The AI was hit or miss. One minute, I was impressed that an enemy would get all the way up to my elevated position and the next, I watched in disappointment as one policeman after another went and hid in the exact same spot. I’d mow one down, wait for another to come along and hide, nail that one, and repeat the process. But the environmental appeal is there, as everything always feels sort of chaotic and even frightening. Civilians are running everywhere, there’s always a lot of shouting and cursing; being on the streets almost reminded me of that scene from “Heat,” as other scenes in this sequel will probably do. The whole idea is to have a game that continually feels hectic and uncertain, as the perspective and style prove. In this, I’d like to say they succeeded; I just hope the story really shines in the final version, because we’re really going to need a compelling plot.
Oh, and I don’t know what happened during the preparation of this demo, but the sound balancing was way off. I could barely hear anything during the cut-scenes at the start and end of the play time, but the actual demo itself was so loud, the volume had to be turned almost all the way down. It’s a technical issue that shouldn’t be a problem in the final product; something this blatant wouldn’t allow the game to pass through QA testing…I’d assume. By the way, you can also sample the multiplayer aspect of the game in this demo, which could definitely add to play length, but it probably won't change your opinion of the game.