Can Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days achieve what it's predecessor couldn't? Eh….
The single player is played almost entirely as Lynch and seen through the eyes of the invisible camera man who accompanies the dead men. Dog Days certainly does sport a rather gritty, visceral experience. Kane and Lynch are two men who experience the most brutal and twisted aspects of Shanghai. The first thing you see when you start the single player is the duo involved in one of the darkest scenes in gaming. That being said, the single player is short and will only last players about a good four or five hours. It also sports one of the weakest and most abrupt endings ever. Needless to say, when all is said and done, the soul is left with an empty and unsatisfied feeling.
The gameplay has received some tweaks that make it a tad better than the first. However, the games developers didn't really attempt to push the series in a different direction. It's repetitive and doesn't do anything innovative for the genre. Players will spend their time running from point A to point B engaging in the same cover and shoot combat. Gunplay feels rather weak and the cover system doesn't feel useful half the time. There's a number of different guns but they all feel similar. Some guns have a minor noticeable difference like increased accuracy but shots tend to stray far from the crosshairs predicted destination. Shotguns all have the same wide crosshair which makes them pretty much useless from any distance outside of point blank range. Automatic weaponry is useful for short to mid-range combat but even then they prove to be a bit finicky. Players can also attempt to take a hostage and use them as a human shield but enemies don't show any remorse for their comrades and won't waste time gunning them down to get to you. This would be understandable when going against a horde of gangsters but the police act just the same.
Fragile Alliance is back as well with some friends. Players can now return to their child hood with Cops & Robbers or become an Undercover Cop. Each of the game modes has the same rules as Fragile Alliance. Get to the point of interest, grab as much cash as possible then get out with or without your friends. Cops & Robbers however, will immediately form a group of Police to watch the cash drop and kill any criminals that come their way. When the round is over, players switch sides. Undercover Cop places an undercover officers in the group. Once the crime is committed, the cop must eliminate each player if he wants to win. Dog Days' multiplayer has a ton of potential but it's surface marred with issues combined with the imperfections of the overall gameplay. Finding and joining a lobby is difficult and players often tend to lag and their characters tend to glide across maps without moving a pixilated muscle.
If the multiplayer doesn't suit you though you can always play the Arcade mode. Arcade mode is Fragile Alliance with bots minus the ability to play as a cop when you die. Players get three lives to survived as many rounds as possible. As you successfully complete rounds you'll receive a certain amount of the loot to purchase guns. When you start up the next round, enemies will be tougher and stronger. The more money you have the closer they'll watch you. If you don't have enough cash you're expendable to them and if one of your team mates is loaded, he can easily start shooting the rest of you due to his greed. The enemy A.I is much better than your teammates. Where enemies will actively try to flank you and find better firing angles, your teammates run out in the open to be easily picked off or stand in front of your line of fire and accidentally make you a traitor. Arcade mode however, is probably one of the best modes Dog Days has to offer despite it's issues.
As previously stated, the game is seen through the eyes of the duos transparent camera man. It's as though you're watching an episode of cops gone wrong and it looks good. A nice clean head shot will censor the gruesome scene with a pixilated blur. Thin pieces of cover will corrode as it takes fire and the screen will desaturate as players take damage while blood splatters onto the screen. That being said, some of the textures are a bit weak and the glare caused by lights can a bit distracting. It's unfortunate that the shaking camera can be disabled but nothing can. This sequel sounds much better than it's predecessor and the voice acting isn't the worst you'll hear. Those playing as Lynch will notice his constant battle with his psychotic tendencies during gunfights as he tries to keep himself from losing control. There are times however where the cheesy accents are rather cringe worthy.
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is an improvement from the first but not by a whole lot. The repetitive gameplay and the clunky combat still need to have some kinks worked out. Multiplayer has a lot of potential but the overall gameplay issues combined with weak server stability make it hard to cope with. It's also unfortunate that one of the most entertaining modes doesn't allow for multiplayer. If you're looking to play Dog Days, rent it to waste some time till the bigger titles hit store shelves.