Kane & Lynch: Fragile Alliance Hands-on

We explore the backstabbing, double-crossing world Kane & Lynch promises to provide online.

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men has, like one of its titular characters, a split personality. All of the content we've seen up to this point has been from the offline campaign mode. However, recently we went to Eidos' London home to check out Kane & Lynch: Fragile Alliance, the game's online multiplayer component, on the Xbox 360.

The online multiplayer has a very simple concept, in keeping with the campaign storyline: You and three to seven others are dumped into a scenario where the aim is to steal as much money as you can then get out.

Players all start out equal to each other. There's no class or character selection to speak of and no initial weapon selection: You're just dumped into the action. In the case of the level we got to play, Withdrawal, all players spawn outside a bank, with instructions to raid it for as much loot as possible. You then need to get to one of a number of getaway vehicles that will arrive out the back of the bank after a time--between three and seven minutes--set by the game's host.

Ladies and gentlemen, the heist is about to begin.

The matter is complicated by the artificial intelligence-controlled SWAT units that swarm in from the rear as soon as shots are fired, as well as the bank's own security team (though it didn't seem to pose much of a problem).

If you successfully navigate the level, reach the getaway vehicle, and escape, you bank an equal share of the money stolen by you, as well as anyone else who made it out alive.

Because of the large number of cops pouring into the building, it's imperative you work as a team to clear your way through--at least initially. And that's where things start to get messy. By doing some simple maths, you can see that the fewer of you who make it out alive with the cash, the more money those who do survive will carry through to the next round, assuming you can still get it all to the getaway vehicle. This gives you a hefty incentive to kill your teammates and steal the money they're carrying--the amount is handily displayed with their gamertags over their heads--so you can then flee without having to share that precious booty.

Co-operation is key, at least initially.

There is a second complication, however. As soon as you kill a member of your own team, you become flagged as a traitor, meaning you show up in bright yellow on the minimaps of other players and a bounty is placed on your head. Players who kill you will get an automatic cash bonus for doing so. While this bounty doesn't carry over from round to round in a match, if you turn on your own team, you will spawn in a slightly different spot and find yourself wearing an obvious black shirt the next time out, so everyone knows to watch out for you. Also, if you leave the alliance by turning traitor, you will finish with the cash you have on you rather than a share of the group haul. This means that while you don't have to share your swag, you could be missing out on a serious wad of cash if you mess up.

Next, there is the simple matter of what happens when you die. Rather than simply respawning outside the bank or going into spectator mode, in Kane & Lynch: Fragile Alliance, you respawn as a SWAT officer. The aim of this is to stop the others from escaping, thus pulling ahead of you in the rankings, which are based entirely on the amount of cash you've managed to grab and keep. As a SWAT officer, you have a number of ways of earning money. You can just pick up cash that's lying around, having been dropped by careless (or recently deceased) robbers for a 10 percent finder's fee. Or you can get reward money for killing treacherous mercenaries, with the bonus being significantly increased if the traitor in question killed you earlier. If you die while playing as a SWAT officer, you are then left stuck in spectator mode for the rest of the round.

Sooner or later, though, it's all going to get very messy indeed.

Holding onto your cash isn't as simple as just staying alive, though. When hit by gunfire, you will initially drop money rather than lose health. While you can pick it up once you've dispatched the miscreant firing at you, unscrupulous teammates can swoop in and nick it while you're still occupied. Those who are even more unscrupulous can just pepper you with nonlethal shots over the course of the game and slowly bleed you dry of cash.

In Withdrawal, the bank seemed to have between $1.5 million and $2 million available to steal. But because the cash is stashed in various areas of the bank and the game itself is fairly intense, we never quite managed to steal it all. Our most successful round involved sneaking out with one other survivor and netting about $720,000 for our trouble--despite only getting into the van with about $100,000.

This demonstrates another element to the competition: As long as you get to the van and the money gets there, you don't actually need to steal any yourself. This means that it's perfectly possible to hang back, hide, and generally act like a coward but still walk away with a slice of the loot. However, that's not going to make you popular with your teammates, who might decide they'd be better off cutting out the dead weight and executing you at the start of the next round.

Time for a bit of revenge...

Finally, money can be used to upgrade your weapons and armour. There are three packs available to purchase after each round for use in the next: medium, heavy, and special. These range from $30,000 to $90,000. Thess packs give you heavier body and head armour as well as grenades and a slightly beefier assault weapon.

Weapon choice doesn't make seem to make much of a difference when fighting inside the bank because people go down fairly easily if you shoot them accurately--also, if you shoot people accurately enough, not only do they go down quickly, but you're also rewarded with a satisfying smear of brain and skull across the wall behind them.

Weapons do come into effect when you're outside, as you consider the last-ditch attempt to stop your teammates from escaping, whether it is a SWAT member or just a greedy mercenary. The getaway vehicles are destructible but they move quite fast and can take a fair amount of beating... if you're trying to take one down with a pistol having wasted all your grenades and assault rifle ammo, you're just going to find yourself stood on the pavement feeling poor.

While we only saw one multiplayer scenario on our visit to Eidos, the game will feature many along similar lines and feature the same cooperative/competitive hybrid gameplay. We look forward to bringing you more information as soon as it becomes available.

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Discussion

236 comments
Lifeshifter
Lifeshifter

Multiplayer definately looks fun, i'll give it a shot! :)

freshgman
freshgman

sweet. this game will keep me busy till mass effect not that it isnt a good game

BMI_2005
BMI_2005

jugglejuggler the game will feature a co-op with you being kane and your buddy being lynch as for more than 2 player co-op on single player campaign i dont know but i find robbbing banks more fun than playing single player right now :) now all i can think of is oceans 11 bank heist

juggleJUGGLER
juggleJUGGLER

if this is only online im going to be pissed. COME ON PEOPLE!!!!!! some of us have friends sitting next to us not on xbox live(not that theres anything wrong with that)

Stone524
Stone524

you think they will put up a demo soon?

OtakuRay
OtakuRay

mmmm.......... I'll wait a demo, looks like Army of 2

Von-Dozier
Von-Dozier

I never once heard of this game, but after reading this, it's a must buy for me. Such a great concept.

TheoleDominion1
TheoleDominion1

The bad thing is, you know some idiot is going to try this in real life. "Why did you did do it, sir?"(IF this dummy lives through it)" Reply: "I got the idea from a game I was playing". I hate that a few dum-@$$ people are going to hurt the gaming industry. Cjherb- If watching a movie or playing a games makes you WANT to go out and try this stupid crap in real life. My advice is for you to stay AWAY from them since you're so easily influenced by them. People like you admitting that, is the reason have the politicians have the ammunition to try to shut down violent and criminal games.

homer1561
homer1561

This game sounds amazing!!! I started reading it and i am speechless!! it sounds like the perfect game for me! I seem to really really enjoy movies that are like robbing banks and double crossing people and that! But could it come to REAL LIFE bank robbers using this game to plan their heists?

Sannerkind
Sannerkind

Look It's made by the Hitman boys....so It will be at least a pretty good game after all.

AL13NK1LL3R
AL13NK1LL3R

now people can rob bank... in virtual reality :p

Oblivion2032
Oblivion2032

Sounds like it'll be a laugh! There's nothing quite like double crossing your mates for cash! Haha :D

buck_choi
buck_choi

wow, a completely different take on videogames.. and it looks great ... this will be something to watch out for:D

outbombin
outbombin

this is gonna be a game that im probly be playing all the time =)

wavey_gravey
wavey_gravey

This sounds great. I can't wait to check it out.

Shinomune
Shinomune

This mode is sick! This game looks to be really great! :D

blairstheman
blairstheman

This game is gonna be sick. The competitive coop sounds great. SWAT is an awsome addition too.

cjherb
cjherb

Talk about taking cues from Heat. But, hey, Heat always made me always want to go rip off a bank with an ak-47 and get in a shootout with my buds. Admit it , any human who ever saw Heat and the shootout scene in LA has to admit, it makes you want to rob a bank. Great, this game will just make me want to rip off a bank more..

MajorBrian
MajorBrian

This game sounds...well interesting! Cant wait to see how it turns out.

EL_Punisher85
EL_Punisher85

SPEECHLESS CANT WAIT TO GET THIS GAME..................

AmnestyErr
AmnestyErr

This definately is an interesting feature to the game, I love the idea of being respawned as a SWAT member hunting your own buddies. Kind of reminds of RESIDENT EVIL OUTBREAK: File 2 - when you died you turned into a zombie and withing X amount of time ravished hell onto your friends...knowing full well where they were going and how they would be getting there...Excellent.

dylanbennett
dylanbennett

Looks awesome, The whole dieing and coming back straight away as the enemy? genius. In theory anyway. is there a subscription?

Stone524
Stone524

this looks sweet but there are bigger and better games that my moneys going to (unless this gets a 9or higher)

Hey_Cage
Hey_Cage

Hm, this looks pretty cool. I like the whole thing where you come back as a SWAT guy. I'll definatley get it.

ukillwegrill
ukillwegrill

Dang sounds awesome gotta get me some of that perfect chance to own some 8 yr olds

zouhou
zouhou

u no this game looks like they pulled the bank robberies straight out of heat??

bigrome420
bigrome420

This game is going to be great , Mann has written and directed some great movies so you know the story line will be terrfic. Plus the guys at IO putting it all together in a game. Im sure this game will be getting a 9,8 Superb.

outbombin
outbombin

ino this is off topic but im new and i want to see how many people want to be my friend so hit me up bye =)

outbombin
outbombin

man is it gonna be good i cant wait !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Crusade_17
Crusade_17

this and M.E on the same day.......man im gonna hav to practice my im sick phone call.

Greatcook42020
Greatcook42020

This game sounds sick. I watched the videos of gameplay and ir looks pretty sick too. I have to get this game.

zaphod_b
zaphod_b

The online play sounds like it will be pretty frantic. Might be time to get a gold account!

SPOONNEYRAY
SPOONNEYRAY

im getting this game,even if its the last game i get.

BigDaddy973
BigDaddy973

I must say when I first started to read this article I said to myself "Wow no competitive multiplayer". Then they mentioned the turn on a teammate and then that teammate becomes a enemy SWAT! This game has strategy and lots of revenge possibilities!!!!! I think this could be a very fun and different take on the online shooter world!

ahadj
ahadj

I really liked the concept lets hope the gameplay matches the concept

miguel_69692003
miguel_69692003

I was excited about this game based soley on the singleplayer experience, now I am totally stoked to buy it, more bang for my buck! Swat A.I is sweet, also the fact tha you come back as a swat officer is a great idea, revenge is a bi*ch. However I do agree you will need to find the right people to play with to make the experience the best it can be. And by that i don't mean people that will teamkill, I mean people who will do it in the right places, I dunno give a heads up or somtheing. I can't wait to have a bag full of loot and then see some guy eyeing me, so I can say "what the hell are you looking at, you want some, come take some" Plus if it's just you and one guy left you gotta work together, and no I won't shoot him in the back of the head as we make our run to the get away car ( although it does sound like a grimy idea haha). The tagline should be no honor among theives. Buying Three games November alone, CoD 4, Kane & Lynch & Mass Effect

sancezz
sancezz

This does sound veyr interesting, though I probably won't play it simply because i can't afford this AND CoD4, which I am completely sold on already, thanks to the beta.

Maha_Bristol
Maha_Bristol

Not sure why people think that there's going to be a lot of team killing. Basically, you are your own team, the others are merely convenient acquaintances sharing the same goal. I wouldn't worry too much about the 12 yr old kids ruining the game either. They'll be the ones wearing the black shirts and getting offed at the beginning of the next round. This game sounds interesting, very unique twist on an fps. Hope it plays as good as it sounds!

kori911
kori911

Interesting, this sounds like it will take a lot of balancing.