Sunday, September 14, 2008

Kane and Lynch: Dead Men

Game: Kane and Lynch: Dead Men
Platform: Xbox 360
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
American Release: November 14, 2007
Reviewer: Dan

When I heard about this vicious game in which two criminals go on a rampage through hundreds of police officers and civilians I thought, cool. It’s not like I haven’t been behind the sticks doing that before, but when I heard the fine fellas at Eidos Interactive (responsible for Tomb Raider, Commandos, Hitman, and Legacy of Kane) were putting together this “blockbuster” game, I was excited.

Good co-op games already earn my excitement and more than likely my $60, and when I saw the disgusting amount of advertising for Kane and Lynch I thought, surely, this game has to be something special. On November 14, 2007, almost all of that advertising mysteriously disappeared and critics gave Kane and Lynch mediocre at best scores. I sadly had to put my wallet away, and once again just fantasized about connecting to Live with my friends to rob a bank.

It was only a couple weeks ago when I was wandering the clearance aisle at a certain unnamed department store, and sandwiched between a hundred copies of Madden ’07 was Kane and Lynch, begging me to steal it from the store in a hail of gun blaze. I’m too much of a pussy for that, so instead I plopped the discounted $20 down and excitedly came home.

The game starts with Kane and Lynch being transferred to another prison and predictably hit by another car. After the smoke clears, half a dozen men with guns start screaming commands at your character, but they don’t do the greatest job of directing you. Then the cops show up. Still trying to figure out the controller setup, the game throws the tutorials at you while thirty of the boys in blue shoot at you, the giant, bright orange target. The game continues to force you to figure it out through trial and error, deaths and reloads.

The game play was reminiscent of Army of Two. It was nothing special, something that probably would’ve come out for the Playstation 2 in the early 2000s, but it works, especially when you have someone to play with. The one curveball the game throws at you is your mentally ill partner, Lynch. Every now and then he freaks out and all the civilians appear to be cops. This is a fairly cool effect, especially when playing split screen and seeing both characters’ views.

The story is sub-par, essentially stringing together ideas for levels. At one point the two criminals are leading the revolution through Cuba like a fat and bald Che Guevera and Fidel Castro. It punishes you for spending 10 minutes on a part by sending your somewhat retarded NPC allies into the fray. I momentarily forgot Eidos was at one point responsible for good games, and I cursed their name every time the “Game-Over. A teammate has died” screen popped up.

The writers also thought the more cursing the more extreme. The F-bomb is incorporated about every third word. I love four letter words, but this game used them so often that by the third level when one of the NPCs screamed “We gotta get the f*ck outta here,” you just don’t feel the urgency.

For how predictable this game’s plot is and mediocre the game play is, I still had a blast gathering 400 or so gamer points with my brother on the split screen. Would I have bought it a year ago when it came out? Hell no! I feel I got my $20 out of it. So if you want a short, fun game, rent it or search those bargain bins in the mall. Don’t spend the full price for this one. Or look for it shortly on E-bay because if I can get $7 back on the game, it’s going up there.

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