A couple of weeks ago we got our first chance to pick up a rifle and duck for cover in Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days. In our brief first play, we took a look at the single-player campaign. This time around, we armed ourselves to the teeth and took aim at the Arcade mode. Arcade mode recycles locations from the single-player story but mixes things up by giving you the choice of playing as Kane, Lynch, or one of the various crew members on the heist. The mission here is simple: locate the loot, stuff your pockets, and then stay alive long enough to make it to the dust-off point to meet your driver. Unfortunately for you, there's no such thing as easy money, and plenty of obstacles stand in your way as you accrue enough cash to buy your next weapon upgrade or spring for that gold-plated toilet seat you've had your eye on.
In our first job, flanked by an AI-controlled squad (System Link and online team play will also be supported) and toting a machine gun and sidearm, we were plonked down on the concourse of a smoky subway station and asked us to search out a cash-laden bunker. Onscreen heads-up markers identify your current objective, and if you tap right on the D pad, your character’s perspective will snap to showcase it. After a brief saunter down the stairs past terrified onlookers, we entered the room and faced off with a handful of armed police officers. Killing police earns the kitty a cash bonus and makes it less financially attractive to let your teammates do all the heavy lifting for you--capable as they may be. Cash is collected by standing near money bags for a few seconds, and while there are no button presses or holds to perform, you are considerably more vulnerable while you're stationary.
Friendly fire is enabled by default, and though you can execute only one of your buddies or grab him for use as a walking human shield, once everyone is loaded up with cash there's a risk anyone on your team could go rogue at any time for a bigger cut. There seems to be a generous buffer protecting you from the group's ire for the odd stray bullet during firefights, but if you decide you want to be a rat, you'll be signing your own kill order as the rest of the group singles you out to clean house. As far as we could tell, you'll be identified as a traitor whether or not there are any witnesses, meaning you won't be able to hang at the back of the pack and systematically pick off teammates. That said, if someone is taken out, whether by a fellow player or defending forces, you can pick up their share of the money from their corpse to bolster your own piggy bank.
Depending on whether you're keeping up with the group or lagging behind and picking off the stragglers, your actions will have a major impact on how you proceed to the end of the mission. Getting to the getaway point first gives you the option to divide the take evenly with your driver and split, while criminal Good Samaritans can hold out and wait for others to catch up. Vehicles appear to be vulnerable to gunfire, and while we didn’t blast any to the point of explosion, we can see potential for the odd revenge kill for leaving the band hanging at the finish line. That said, even in last place you won’t ever miss out on a ride completely. Circling vans and choppers will always let you complete the level, provided you can hold out and stay alive long enough to call in the favour.
Completing the level tallies the score and begins the scenario over at a higher difficulty, not unlike Horde mode in Gears of War 2. In latter plays, enemies rely more heavily on cover, take more damage, and improve their shooting accuracy. The game also throws new enemy types into the mix, with police attack dogs joining the fray with their sights firmly set on your delicious jugular.
You'll receive three lives in Arcade mode, and rather than being revived from the brink by a teammate to continue the fight, once floored you'll need to start the attempt from scratch. Johnny Law isn't your only danger, and you'll also need to keep a watchful eye on the rest of your posse. Failing to secure enough cash makes you a liability, so it should come as no surprise when the group tries to cull the dead weight.
Traitors and loyalists both profit, and regardless of whether you play as a team or as the lone wolf, you’ll earn dollars which can be spent in the store between missions. Money carries over between rounds but doesn't accumulate across maps, meaning that you'll be starting from zero to unlock a more powerful arsenal. Pistols, shotguns, submachine guns, and assault weapons are all available--some with associated level requirements, no doubt for a leveling system we have yet to see.
Kane & Lynch: Dog Days is due out on the Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3 in late August this year. Keep an eye out for our ongoing multiplayer coverage over the coming weeks.