Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days Impressions

IO Interactive's 'Dead Men' are resurrected for Kane & Lynch 2, as we got to see when the developer visited London.

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men never quite lived up to its promise when it was finally released in 2007. Developer IO Interactive is aiming to better realize the potential of an action game set in a tangled underworld of criminals with Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days. The upcoming sequel catches up with the titular heroes after the events of its predecessor. It brings with it a brand-new visual style, a new setting, and a focus on Lynch rather than Kane. Campaign director Karsten Lund was understandably excited about the overhaul when he showed us the game recently, allowing us to see it in motion for the first time.

The first game focused on a couple of criminals called Kane and Lynch--the former a ruthless mercenary and the latter an unhinged psychopath. They were broken out of captivity by The7, a mysterious group of criminals who demanded that Kane and Lynch hunt down a precious object for them. The duo were separated at the end of the first game when Kane left Lynch to be with his daughter. In the sequel, the focus is on Lynch, who has subsequently taken refuge in Shanghai. The two are reunited when Lynch calls Kane about the possibility of a big job, which is where Dog Days begins.

Our short hands-off demo took place early on in the game, starting out in a Chinese restaurant and then moving through the city itself. With the Xbox 360 projecting onto a huge cinema screen, it was the game's striking visual design that made the biggest impression. The word of the day for Lund was "real," and he used it frequently throughout our demo to highlight the driving principle behind the game. "'Real' means a lot of different things to a lot of different people," he says. "We researched how other forms of media communicate 'real.' We looked at user-generated content and why it looks and feels real and how that hasn't been explored in games." The director goes on to show YouTube clips of Shanghai filmed with pocket cameras, highlighting their shakiness, graininess, and overall low quality. According to Lund, all of these things have come to exemplify what we now think of as "real," at least as a generation of Internet video junkies.

In Kane & Lynch 2, this lo-fi visual style has been re-created to realistic effect. The camera frames the action from a familiar over-the-shoulder perspective, but it's as if the camera operator were a panicked bystander, frantically struggling to capture the action on a handheld camera. The image cuts out when you're shot, light sources blur through the lens, and explosions distort through compression artefacts. In a world of ever-increasing high-definition graphics, it's a massive gamble for IO to take, and while it's bound to turn some people off, it's certainly a refreshing visual change.

Thankfully, there looks to be more to Dog Days than just shaky cams and video artefacts. The game has an interesting premise set in Shanghai, a city of 20 million people and "the best place in the world for two criminals to hide," according to Lund. The game has been tailored to Lynch's character traits, and because he's an irrational psychopath, that means improvisation is favoured over military-style planning. Lynch calls in Kane to help him out with one big job for a man called Mr Glazer, who is the head of an international network of Euro expats. After something goes wrong, though, the pair are hunted by the police and the city's criminal underworld over the course of two days and nights.

Lund promises revamped shooter mechanics and aggressive, unpredictable AI. In our demo, the action took place in a restaurant, and the two found themselves embroiled in a shoot-out with the police. We watched as Lund played the game; Lynch appeared to be disciplined in terms of snapping to cover and using blindfire to keep the cops at bay while popping out for precise shots. As Lynch ran through the restaurant and down into the basement, we noticed a group of people tied up, suggesting that the restaurant is a front for criminal activity. As Lynch made a break for it through the streets of Shanghai, the neon signs and bustling markets combined to bring Shanghai to life--the result of the team's extensive visit to China's largest city.

Kane & Lynch 2 boasts a YouTube-inspired visual aesthetic.

It's clear from this short demo that IO's visual design really does add to the frantic nature of the game. Blood splatters the camera lens as you're shot, the view shakes wildly when there's an explosion, and in one memorable scene, an enemy's blown-off face is masked by the blocky effect used to hide explicit material on TV. Lynch is also well designed; his stained vest and floppy hair detail a man who is still very much the unkempt antihero from the first game.

While we sadly didn't get to play the game, we did manage to extract a lot more information out of Lund. The campaign will be playable in single-player and in both offline and online co-op. The Fragile Alliance multiplayer mode, where you can turn on your teammates and steal the loot, will also make a return. The game is also expected to receive a PEGI 18 rating in Europe, so expect the same level of violence and bad language as in the first game. The developer also hinted that Shanghai's ancient monuments and leafy areas may appear next to the skyscrapers, but we'll have to wait for the next preview to find out more. In the meantime, make sure you check out our video interview, and we'll bring you updated info on the game in the run up to its second-quarter 2010 release.

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Discussion

221 comments
raith616
raith616

hopefully this will be "real" good, really enjoyed the first one, but the corporate buzz word's thing always leaves me wondering what the "game plan" is promises by developers mean as bout as much as the promises of politicians when money's inlolved

483paul
483paul

I liked Kane and Lynch and look forward to this one. Especially Co-op ability!! And for those who complain about the language i was more annoyed in GTA 4 that every single person who you talked to, bumped into, or walked by dropped the F bomb. The F word doesn't bother me but there comes a point were it just becomes silly and over done. The language fits Kane and Lynchs character

roscoe19151
roscoe19151

SQUARE ENIX published this game... before you go all crazy get a good look at the game case or go to gamestop.com and look at the game case

SwiftusMaximus
SwiftusMaximus

Looks great! Now all they have to do is change its name to Hitman and make it a Hitman game instead. ;)

Chosen_Typhus
Chosen_Typhus

Hats off to them, they are trying something new and i think thats great and i hope it works out ...i loved the 1st one but thought it kinda went off the point when they ended up in a war lol

Chosen_Typhus
Chosen_Typhus

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

richioso
richioso

@Virus-7 Listen mate, there's no hate involved here its just an opinion which is shared by a large portion of the people who spent there money on the game. We'll see if they can improve for the second installment and I personnally will be waiting for player reviews before I consider revisiting this franchise.

Dramacide
Dramacide

first game was compressed crud in disc form and my hopes aint much higher for this one just cos a games violent doesnt automatically make it good.

Virus-7
Virus-7

@richioso Half Life? WTF!? I enjoyed the shooting scheme in K&L! You were able to take cover behind objects for god's sakes! No kidding - I got through most of the levels, such as the club scene and the bank heist, pretty quickly and easily, killing everyone with head shots. I'm an assassin in a multiplayer environment. As I was saying, Kane+Lynch was for hardcore game players. It was a little difficult. But all these hate responses here were unnecessary.

richioso
richioso

@Virus-7 Judging by your response I can see that you think I'm I'm some sort of 14 yr old retard who's never played half life. I did enjoy the story line but you should be able to admit without throwing a hissy that the shooting mechanics in that busted a$$ game should have been better. They can make a movie from it all they want but a sequel that breaks up the most attractive portion of the game (the 2 main characters and their differences) does not appeal to me.

KamikazeCanuck
KamikazeCanuck

The game I really want is Freedom Fighters 2! I loved that game and its one of my all time favorites. Kane & Lynch was good but all throughout it I kept thinking about how I'd rather be playing Freedom Fighters.

trapezanidis
trapezanidis

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

penyada7
penyada7

@every 1 who the f is jeff , and why in G ' s name are we crying about spilt milk, god these comments either turn into teenine weenie lambogenie fanboy wars or its another soap opera

CellAnimation
CellAnimation

Here's hoping they actually have some customer service once this game is released. I'm still waiting for my PC version of Kane and Lynch to be patched so I can run it on my quad core/GTX 295 without it stuttering due to the use of USB keyboards and mice... :roll: Seriously though I hope this game is good, the first 1 looked interesting it's just unplayable here.

Revla
Revla

The movie for this actually looks like it'll be good. Bruce Willis is confirmed as Kane & Kevin Gage (the long hair psycho from Heat) is Lynch. Now if that isn't perfect casting for this I don't know what is.

rob_dAmAgE
rob_dAmAgE

can we all just move on from the jeff g. comments? he has- and good riddance!!! i loved k&l & although i'm going to miss playing as kane, i can't wait for this game!

commodore_gamer
commodore_gamer

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

spike94
spike94

You all know Jeff works for another site, right? (If I get banned for a few days or permanently, don't be surprised)

desmasic
desmasic

Kane & Lynch had one of the most memorable characters and really good storyline which actually felt real (mostly thanks to the main characters). Gameplay was fun as well, especially the bank heist mission, it was really awesome. Bring on the Dog Days. Can't wait. :)

advocacy
advocacy

Wonder what score Gamespot will give the game this time around.

nbalakers
nbalakers

i liked the first K&L too, the only downsides were the aiming and the graphics if they make that better i'll love this one as well.

remysola
remysola

I liked Jeff reviews... but I loved the first K&L.

Mohmikee
Mohmikee

First game was fun, hopefully the second will be better!!

kikosurf99
kikosurf99

This game will sell a lot! This game is very good I'll love and all others who played!!!! Visa is per sessionexits in 2010 this year!:)

Jhoalot
Jhoalot

@Abecale or maybe if you review the game bad you get banned from gs?

NoLifeGamin
NoLifeGamin

let's hope another reviewer doesn't get fired this time around

bukkookkub
bukkookkub

I hope Justin reviews this one, leaves, then joins Giantbomb :)

metalkid9
metalkid9

Jeff was apparently too honest for business. I have high hopes for this game since the first one had a good concept. The only way I will consider buying this game is if they improved with the graphics and the control system.

AtomicBaconBits
AtomicBaconBits

Great,who's gonna get fired for reviewing the game THIS time?

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

Who would dare "review" this game? LoL :)

Mister-Lee
Mister-Lee

That lo-fi poor quality shaky camera visual style has been done before, in Manhunt on the PS2 and Xbox. The first Kane & Lynch promised so much but delivered so little. The atmosphere, pace and visuals were spot-on, but playing it was a f'n chore. It will take more than a visual overhaul to convince me im afraid..

Abecale
Abecale

There is going to be a second one? Whaat? The first one wasnt bad enough already? Remember, dont give this game a bad review, you might get fired for it.

TheHolyDevil16
TheHolyDevil16

Loved the first one..hope i don't get disapointed

_Doomsayer_
_Doomsayer_

I'm looking forward to this... I just hope that the handheld camera effect can be pulled off.

Lothos_Delion
Lothos_Delion

I can not believe Eidos is actually releasing another one of these titles considering how horrible the sales of the first one were. I hope they actually spend time on the targeting, controls, and game play this go around. Loved the online heist that was awesome but the rest left me sorry I bought it. I'll hold my judgment till closer to release but if they mess this one up they will lose any respect I had for them.

jeffv541
jeffv541

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

kwey
kwey

this looks like it'll bring something more interesting to the genre. looking forward to seeing how it pans out in the coming months.

gabvendramini
gabvendramini

Can't wait for this one. Just loved the first game.

The_End_99
The_End_99

Game looks awesome ! but when will we see more of Hitman 5 ? and maybe they should combine Hitman and K&L ? stealth bank heist game. A new genre is born !

ginolee1710
ginolee1710

I like that "bowling-opening-the-door" tricks....lol can't wait to get in!!!

Virus-7
Virus-7

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Alex_09
Alex_09

Although a game with built in censorship is kind of lame..

Alex_09
Alex_09

@terror ninja What are you talking about!? The characters were probably the best thing in the first one. Certainly more personality than any Gears character, story or crappy subplot. The truth is, Kane and Lynch was far better than Gerstmann made it out to be, and there are a lot of sad trolls that still will try and drag it through mud. I don't think you're one of them, but I also don't think you finished the game. It had issues, but the online is probably some of the best out there when you find a fast game, so all I want is a smoother online game, team deathmatch mode, and the ability to start a game with only two people, or even by yourself.

terror_ninja
terror_ninja

I didnt read all of it because the first Kane & Lynch was ..... well not very good. It was OK but I dont feel that the characters and story behind the world can really make any one think "Hey the first one seemed cool I bet we can make a sequel thats better" ... any one who does think this is delusional. Bet it will be just as crap if not more so than the first one.

buft
buft

if this game can overcome the problems with the first it may well be one of my day one pickups this year