Kane & Lynch: Dead Men Hands-On - New Levels on the PS3 and PC

We play through a couple of previously unseen campaign levels on the PC and the PlayStation 3.

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Currently scheduled for release toward the end of November, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men is a game that we've seen an awful lot of over the past year or so. While covering the game throughout its development we've played through a number of the story-driven campaign missions, and earlier this month we were afforded our first look at its innovative "fragile alliance " competitive multiplayer mode. Until our latest meeting with Eidos, though, we had only ever seen Kane & Lynch running on the Xbox 360. Last week we had an opportunity to check out both the PC and PlayStation 3 versions of the game, and we played through a couple of previously unseen campaign levels in the process. Minor spoilers are included in this story.

The first new level we played through is titled Withdrawal, and will see you (as Kane) teaming up with Lynch and a "vault breaker" acquaintance to pull off a bank heist. The bank in question will also appear in the aforementioned fragile alliance mode, but the job is a little less straightforward in campaign mode. For starters, it's not even money that you're after, it's the contents of a safety-deposit box inside a well-guarded vault. In a gameplay sequence not wholly unlike something you might expect in one of IO Interactive's Hitman games, the team doesn't just shoot its way into the bank--rather, it quietly takes out a couple of security guards and then, after going in through the back door and finding a way up onto the roof, one of the guys dumps something into the bank's ventilation system to make everyone inside drowsy.

Getting into the bank is the easy part.
Getting into the bank is the easy part.

Once back inside the bank, Lynch is tasked with taking care of hostages in the main lobby while you accompany the third member of the team to the vault. Predictably, not everyone in the bank has fallen foul of whatever was dumped into the ventilation system, and the security guards and cops that you come up against en route to the vault are equipped with body armor that makes them much more difficult to take down (three headshots appeared to be the minimum) than their colleagues earlier in the mission. The blade that Kane carries at all times ensures that his melee attacks are still reasonably effective, but even if you can get close enough to the guys you need to take out, you'll find that they rarely go down without a fight. When you reach the vault, your job will be to watch the back of your vault breaker as he attempts to get you in, which plays out in much the same way as your journey to the vault, save for the fact that you won't get any help from your comrade as the guards and cops come at you.

Your next mission, of course, will be to escape from the scene of the crime. A small army of SWAT officers has been tasked with stopping you, though, and their artificial intelligence looks to be every bit as effective as their arsenal. We didn't make out of the bank on our attempt--we were disoriented by tear gas grenades and then, while attempting to take cover until our vision returned to normal, a small SWAT team stormed the lobby and made its way up to one of the balconies overlooking the ground floor that we were on. At that point we were sitting ducks, and even our colleagues' multiple attempts to revive us weren't enough to turn the odds back in our favor.

The second mission that we played is titled Exchange, and will appear much later in the game. Without wishing to give too much away, Kane and Lynch have kidnapped the daughter of someone important for blackmail purposes and are in the process of trying to make the exchange when things go awry. Set in a park underneath a network of Japanese freeways, the level is quite different from any that we've played through previously in that it takes place at the dead of night and features far fewer objects to take cover behind. During the gunfight that ensues you'll need to use your colleagues wisely to stand any chance of making it out alive, and when you're pinned down inside a gazebo by snipers positioned on the freeways above, your only option is to radio in their positions to Lynch so he can take care of them.

The Withdrawal level will also feature in fragile alliance mode.
The Withdrawal level will also feature in fragile alliance mode.

Ultimately, you need to escape the level by getting up onto one of the freeways and reaching your getaway vehicle. Predictably, the freeway is swarming with cops by the time you get there, and there aren't too many places to find good cover since the road appears to have been closed to traffic. It was while sending our colleagues into the firing line ahead of us that one of the Eidos representatives we were meeting with told us about one of Kane & Lynch's more interesting Xbox 360 achievements: Apparently it's possible to make it through the game without firing a single shot and just instructing your colleagues to do all of the dirty work--and that's exactly what you'll have to do. We were also told that Exchange will be one of the levels used in Kane & Lynch's competitive online play.

Although we must've seen the majority of what Kane & Lynch: Dead Men's campaign has to offer at this point, we're still eager to get our hands on the finished game next month. The PlayStation 3 version that we saw was almost indistinguishable from the Xbox 360 game that we've played previously, and although the PC version was being shown on a laptop that we very much doubt did it justice, switching between the two platforms during our session wasn't jarring at all. Our only concerns with Kane & Lynch at this point are that the auto-cover system doesn't always seem as eager as to back us up against objects as we are, and that some of the AI-controlled colleagues in the game are a little too quick to move forward when instructed to target a specific enemy when they could just as easily remain in cover.

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men is currently scheduled for release on November 20. Expect more on the game, including a full review, in the not-too-distant future.

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