[8bit Review] Kane & Lynch: Dead Men

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Platform: Xbox 360
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer: IO Interactive
Website: www.kaneandlynch.com

I’m not sure where to start with Kane & Lynch. I had high expectations for this game and I think they were met, but I’m not totally sure yet. Lets start with what my expectations were.

1. It’s coming from Eidos/IO Interactive – it must be good. I’m a big Hitman fan so my first thought when hearing Eidos was putting this together was – nice.

2. Coop play where I actually have to sit next to my friend to play, no, please go on. In a time where it seems coop play, and when I say coop I don’t mean online in mom’s basement, is slowly dying like a clubbed seal I was happy to think that I’d get to hang out with a friend and play an awesome game. You know like the old days, the good for nothing days.

3. A good ‘ole revenge story starring two nut jobs – fan-fuckin-tastic!

So as you can see my expectations were pretty high and I couldn’t wait for it to come out, but alas, I did wait, a really long time. Is it me or does it seem like games are getting delayed more and more often these days? It’s called a schedule. Stick to it guys. Check out Google Calendar, it’s great and free. But I’ll save that for the [8bit Rants] section.

Wow, did Michael Mann write this?
No, but Eidos definitely had the Mann playbook and ran every play in it. The opening of the game was very familiar. Ever seen Heat? Either way, the story is pretty straight forward, you know, the usual nut jobs on death row, one for “allegedly” killing his wife. The other used to work for this cool gang, but is in some shit because he might have taken some money from them, so now they’re pissed and want the money back so they grab his daughter and wife as bait and so on. Get it? If not go [here] for a minute, read the first three paragraphs and then come right back. Go ahead, I’ll wait…….ok so the story is pretty cool but nothing ground breaking.

Cover system, we don’t need no stinkin’ cover system
Ok, so one aspect of shooters these days, that should be #1 on the list of to-do correctly by developers, is a good cover system. We are in the next-gen world of gaming, come on, you can’t get this right? This was one of the biggest let downs about this game in terms of game play. Auto cover systems just aren’t going to work. It seems Eidos went in thinking simple for this game which they definitely accomplished, but really? So you’re saying I’ll be able to just move up against a wall and bam I’ll take cover? Maybe on paper this works, and apparently there is a lack of QA being done, or the intern that is QA-ing the game doesn’t want to speak up because they’re afraid they’ll get fired from their cool job, but in actual game play this doesn’t work. Besides that the rest of the game play is what it is. Character movement, shooting and aiming is ok, but in a world where AI has an IQ of 47 it doesn’t really matter now does it?

There are other annoyances, as well. The camera was in the wrong place at times. There are a few missions where you mount up on a jeep or vehicle of some sort, and the camera just doesn’t seem to want to be your friend. Then again, I don’t want to be your friend. So I can see where the camera is coming from. A big thing they played up with this game was the idea of having team members. If you’re going to emphasize this aspect of the game, don’t make those team members useless. That’s all I have to say about that.

On the bright side, I did like the HUD system, mostly because it’s not there unless you want it there. A quick R3 click and you have your weapon info. A quick L3 click and you have your map. Making the screen less cluttered, and more open to view the carnage, which is always nice.

Graphics, sound and multi-play oh my
I’m just going to clump these into one section. There just isn’t much to say about them. The graphics are great, smooth animations and great background detail, but they should be. They’ve nailed the mouth animation of the word fuck amazingly. Sound is also great thanks to Jesper Kyd, the brain child behind the Hitman series soundtrack, doing the score for K&L. Multi-play isn’t bad. The fragile alliance game is interesting but also all that there is which hurts the replay value of the game in general. A friend and I ran through the coop campaign mode, the only reason we got the game because we still believe in the coop, in about 9 hours. That was on morphine (the hardest level of play) and pretty drunk for about 5 of those hours. Safe to say it’s a short game and more or less feels like you’re just playing along in a movie. Clearly there are plans for these characters beyond the game console. Thank you, Lionsgate. I hear Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton are rumored to play Kane and Lynch.

What is, is never what it should be
I definitely took a trip to negative town on this review. I won’t lie. I was disappointed. It was fun in the fact that I got to hang out with a friend and that we got to play some cool levels in a decent shooter. But I can’t get around some basic stuff like the cover system, especially after playing Rainbow Six:Vegas, and where the story takes you. The first half of the game is great in terms of story and location, but then out of nowhere you’re in the jungle shooting down an airplane. What? Really? For a game that was delayed this much you’d think the game would have been consistent, but instead the second half of it seems like an 8th grade science project thrown together the night before. I only wish I had read this review before the game came out. Is that shameless self-promotion? Yes, I would’ve saved my money and rented Kane & Lynch instead. Shit happens and so do games.

[8bit Take]: Not really worth the hype. Rent it.