Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days review
By Chris Holt | Macworld.com | Published: 16:00, 24 August 2010
Available on the OnLive gaming service, it's a shame that the first title to simultaneously launch for the Mac (through OnLive) and other platforms is such a disappointment.
So, first, the plot: after psychotic killer Lynch and his fellow deathrow escapee partner, Kane, survive a run in with The7 and their own betrayals (depending on the ending you chose in the last game), they're now in Shanghai when a deal goes bad. They've "accidentally" killed a very important crime lord's daughter, and now many of their old friends, various Chinese mafia types, and the entire police are after them. In my book, it's fine to start off with moral ambiguity, but you at least need to have some redeeming qualities for your characters. Kane and Lynch, as characters, possess none of these.
Unlike the first game in the series, for the majority of Dog Days you play as Lynch, the balding sunglasses-wearing psychopath, who can be counted on to shoot every person he encounters. Spoiler alert: he shoots a lot of people. The plot essentially involves a revenge arc in reverse. Since Kane and Lynch killed the mob boss' daughter, the mafia man kills Lynch's woman (in a gory and remarkably emotionally dead sequence) and tortures Kane and Lynch. The two then set off to kill him so they can escape. Even Kane admits that there's a code and they're breaking it by going after the daughterless mob boss, but they still do. After that's done, they battle through the airport to escape. It's at this point the dramatic second half of the game kicks off...
...except then it doesn't. The last part of the escape is ridiculously easy and after slogging through an office building full of soldiers, its anti-climactic. The five or six hour campaign is short, forgettable and features a variety of grimy locations in the worst parts of Shanghai.
It also doesn't help that the cutscenes further little of the plot and the "deal" that brings Kane out to Shanghai in the first place is never fully discussed. The dialogue and writing, where every other word is four letters and not repeatable in this space, is ambiguous and hackneyed, so like Kane, you have no idea what the heck is going on. People are angry and they're shooting at you. The moments where the two characters talk to each other and try to make sense of this, an entirely noble goal, is frustrating because unless you're close to your partner during combat, you can't hear him. You only hear your half of the conversation.