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Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.4

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days (OnLive)
November 15, 2010 | Jon Carr

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Assault On The Office

Mac OS X: 10.6.3 | CPU: Intel Processor | 5mbps Broadband Internet Connection | OnLive

Kane and Lynch: Dead Men was an interesting title released back in 2007 which had Mercenary Kane and Psychotic Lynch forced to work together for The Nine, a mysterious group of powerful men who turn on them when they can't complete a job in time. Kane led the way from bank heists in America, kidnappings in Tokyo, and even to a full scale war in Venezuela by the end. It was critically panned on a number of levels, but still managed to sell a million copies.

In Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, available through the OnLive game streaming service, the antagonistic duo is back with Lynch as the star, trading the first game's sprawling story and scope for a tightly focused narrative solely set in Shanghai. It starts with Kane flying in to meet Lynch on the proverbial last job, for an arms deal, which quickly goes south. The story is pushed forward at a breakneck pace as you frantically race through the streets and buildings of Shanghai either chasing, or on the run from, various adversaries.

The game does a good job of conveying Kane and Lynch if you haven't met them before. Kane's character holds up throughout the tale, but Lynch is surprisingly toned down compared to the original outing to the point where I hardly found him psychotic. The first title included everything from him freaking out and killing innocent people during a bank heist because he thought they were enemies, to pumping shells into downed police women begging for mercy. It was harsh, but it fit his psychotic profile. The craziest thing he does takes place during a cutscene when he shoots a man who deserved it anyway for reasons I'll withhold as to not spoil the story. Newcomers won't notice, but any fans of the first game definitely will, myself included. I kept waiting for him to do something outrageous but it never happened. Even without my prior experience, the marketing makes a point of Lynch's psychosis which never really shows itself.

While the story and characters may disappoint a little, the gunplay has significantly improved. Although the first game isn't available from OnLive, it's worth noting for those who are familiar with the first title the effort the developers put into Kane & Lynch 2. It's now a rock solid shooter with powerful weapons and intense firefights. My only complaint is that they leave out gun names, leaving you to identify them by their icon. It's fairly straightforward third person cover action, with you being able to hide or crouch down behind just about any surface. You can then either blind-fire (which is surprisingly effective) or pop out to aim and shoot. You can only carry two weapons at anytime, and will burn through ammo quick, leaving you to scrounge for more supplies as you scurry about in firefights. It creates a good tension and balance since you are forced to be more strategic and conservative with your shots. There is enough weapon variety to keep anyone happily blasting away throughout, as different enemies and areas offer different firearms to use. Sadly, there are no grenades, but Lynch (and Kane if in Co-op) is able to pick up fire extinguishers and canisters of fuel to toss and blow up with a shot, a tactic which can devastate a group of foes. There are a few minor stealth sections, but since melee attacks have been removed in K&L 2 there's not much to them. You can also take a human shield, but it's far more effective to just blast everyone in the room or area.

A lot was also made of the graphical style, which is a hand-held like Youtube effect. The camera sways when you run (although there is an option to turn this off if you want) and whenever you get hit the screen glitches and artifacts for a moment. Also, any excessive gore and nudity is blurred out using a standard TV effect. Level loading is "buffering" and there are other minor additions. It's a convincing experience in that regard and definitely a novel style, but not one you'll necessarily want to see in other games. All that aside the graphics are good, with textures, effects and lighting being pleasing to the eye. Sound also holds up well with quality voice acting and strong combat audio. The only real music is heard while navigating the menu screens, but at least it is enjoyable.


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