For most people, an average day consists of waking up, going to work, and maybe going out for dinner. For Kane and Lynch, a normal day may consist of freeing every inmate in a maximum security prison. While this may seem absurd, Kane and Lynch could care less what you think. They have business to take care of, and if it ruins the days, or lives, of a few people, then who cares? They get what they want when they want it. And what they want is revenge on The7, a mercenary group who has it in for the two men.
Kane and Lynch takes the concept of playing as the bad guys to an entirely new level. The story starts off with the two men being transported to their executions. Kane is in a state of depression and is not paying any attention when Lynch tells him to duck his head. Suddenly, the vehicle is blown apart, allowing the prisoners to escape. That is, escape out of the vehicle. There is still the issue of dozens of police officers shooting at the inmates to deal with. This is where the player comes in, thrust into the midst of a frantic firefight.
Players will quickly see that taking cover is a necessity. And, though the cover system works well, it is not perfect. Just because you are in cover does not mean you cannot be hit if an enemy has a better angle. This becomes a serious problem in later levels when there are enemies everywhere, because it effectively eliminates much of the cover. That being said, there are some effective tools that were put into the game to make this easier to cope with. One of those tools deals with snipers. When a sniper has a lock on you, a targeting icon will appear above your head. When the sniper is about to fire, it turns red. That’s your cue to start running in circles so that the sniper is unable to get a lock on you.
The alert that a sniper is going to fire is not the only tool to aid players in their quest to take revenge on The7. There are also squad commands. Players are able to command other members of their party to move up to a position and hold it, attack a target, or follow them. What makes these commands unique is that they are extremely effective. For instance, when the attack command is used, your squad will provide cover fire. The cover fire draws attention away from you and forces enemies to either take cover or attack other members of your squad, allowing you some breathing room.
Another feature that sets Kane and Lynch apart is the fact that players are able to take any weapons their squad members have. If one of your allies has a weapon that you are particularly fond of, simply walk up to them and take it. In addition, if you find yourself low on ammo, an ally will gladly give you some of his. The selection of weapons is also impressive. Weapons range from a simple hand gun all the way to rocket launchers.
While there are many weapons to choose from, it is how they function that makes the game seem realistic. In some shooters, a bullet is a bullet. It does the same damage no matter what gun it is fired from. But in Kane and Lynch, a bullet fired from a high-powered rifle will almost always kill in one hit, while a shot fired from a pistol will not take an enemy down in one shot unless it is a perfect head shot. Also, riot police are more difficult to take down than prison guards or other police officers. Players can fire round after round into the bullet proof armor or riot shields and do only minimal damage.
While the gameplay of Kane and Lynch makes it realistic, it is the graphics and the audio which give the game its tense atmosphere. The game’s tension comes from the fact that it is violent, but not over the top. When a person is shot, blood may splatter the wall behind them, but it does not spray everywhere. The only part of the game that is not realistic comes into play when you or one of your squad members die. When that happens, there is a limited time to resurrect them with a dose of adrenaline. Players may see that they have holes riddling their bodies, but that they are fine otherwise. If a player dies too many times in a short period of time, it is possible to overdose on adrenaline. If players wait a few moments without taking a hit, however, they will be healed.
The graphics make the game seem more realistic, but it is the audio which makes the game come alive. The voice acting is superb. And, though the F-word is the preferred adjective to describe everything, the tension created by the voice actors is incredible. The sounds of guns firing and people screaming further adds to the realism of the game.
In addition to the realism, there is another concept in the game which is one of the most innovative things I have ever seen. Lynch is schizophrenic, and when he has an episode, he views the world differently. For instance, while playing co-op with a friend, we encountered a group of civilians. I was playing as Kane and simply walked through the crowd. But my friend, playing as Lynch, began shooting at them. Lynch was having an episode and all of the civilians appeared as police, and then morphed into people with pigs’ heads.
Beyond that innovation, though, there are some more subtle effects that were placed in the game. When tear gas is thrown, players must throw it back or else the entire screen will become blurry and distorted, making aiming all but impossible. There is also a general rule that if it looks like it can explode, shoot it enough times and it will. Almost all vehicles in the game are destructible.
Beyond the single player, the online multiplayer also has some unique features to it. There is a mode called Fragile Alliance, in which players rob a bank and then split the loot. Players can choose to take more than their fair share by killing allies. The advantage is more money to buy better weapons. However, these players become traitors and are then targeted not only by guards and police, but also by other members of the robbery. When players are killed, they then become a guard or police officer and are able to help stop the robbery.
There are only a few downfalls to Kane and Lynch. One of them is that co-op is only split screen. It is not an online mode. Also, in co-op and the single player campaign, weapons revert to a default assault rifle for Kane and a shotgun for Lynch at the beginning of every level. Other than that, just make sure that there are no children in the room when playing this game. It is M-rated for very good reasons.
Overall, Kane and Lynch: Dead Men is a great shooter and genuinely a lot of fun. It implements several unique concepts very well. And though the difficulty can be unforgiving at times, it is still a terrific game. Kane and Lynch gets 4 GiN gems out of 5 for being a great shooter with a lot of innovation.