Kane and Lynch 2 is an enjoyable shooter that hits with a lot of brutality and leaves quickly.
I'll preface this review early by saying that I bought this game off of Steam when it went on sale for $5 so that does color my enjoyment of the game somewhat. It does however hit a sweet spot for me with its short length but intense action. I'm starting to move towards games with the production quality of big name games that have short lengths, as life becomes increasingly more hectic I find it preferable that games offer this: lots of action condensed into a short time span. Portal did it and everyone loved that, COD even does it but I'd wager that's more because the focus is on the multiplayer but I digress.
I would not have enjoyed K&L 2 nearly as much if I paid full price but if I paid $20 or $25 I bet I would have liked it just as much as I do. Games should at least try this more, offer lots of action for a short time but price it accordingly. The game itself follows the titular Kane and Lynch as they attempt one last job and, as is always the case, everything goes **** up from the get-go with misunderstandings and back stabbings and lots of dead Chinese. It's extremely refreshing for a pair of 'heroes' that have nothing heroic about them but are in fact hard men who will kill to achieve anything they want but they have their justifications with Lynch's being more so than Kane's in the sequel.
The gameplay is simple, find cover or die, blindfire is optional. The cover mechanics here and shooting are vastly improved over the gooey original that never really worked. The guns are also extremely deadly with the shotgun being the standout even at long range. Things become even louder and more deadly when the option to pick up and use the Type 88 LMG is there.
The levels are all well constructed with some experimentation allowed in how you approach each situation with possible flanking approaches and taking high ground. I played on the Extreme setting which means that only a couple of shots and you're one dead dog...(I'm so sorry for that). These possible approaches greatly helped when you're so fragile, I only wish there were more as they do help to change the game and avoid breaks to the flow in the action.
The visual style is easily the most standout feature with its gritty and realistic look. The camera shakes as if it were following you and trying to keep up, explosions cause it to shake and blink and the grain adds an air like what I imagine a snuff film to have. It all adds to an extremely realistic package and ugly (not in a bad way mind you) game that helps to pull one into the world. I sincerely hope more games adopt this style. For those not inclined to it there is an option to turn off the sway of the camera off in the options.
It took me a good 7 hours to complete the story mode on Extreme with a few of the later levels making me replay a checkpoint almost a dozen times, it never devolved into pure frustration however like the end of World at War on Veteran (Emperor help me, nothing is that frustrating). As I've said I really enjoy the short length of the game as it allows me to experience a good deal of action, beat the game and move on. I just wish it were priced accordingly at launch.
Doublefine seems to be at least attempting this theory of big action for small cost, Costume Quest and Stacking being their latest with Trenched on the horizon. It also helps if a developer wants to attempt something new or unique as there's a lower risk of financial loss for the publisher but this way the game world can avoid stagnation and continue to grow and experiment. Golden Throne this seems to have turned more into a thought on the gaming market than a review.
If you can pick up K&L 2 for $10 or $20 than I say do it and be prepared to enjoy gritty action that hits hard and fast.