It might be gritty, intense and even offer a few surprises along the way but it doesn't live up to its potential.
The game takes place in China and its most attractive features are the scenarios and the atmosphere. The stores, narrow streets, houses and even music provide a nice setting. The graphics are sharp and it's a shame you're not given much chance to explore your surroundings as the action is constant. Models are not as detailed as the environments but still good to look at.
The actual firefights are not bad, they're focused on finding cover and returning fire on enemies that expose themselves. It's also possible to move from cover to cover until the enemies are flanked and vulnerable. The AI does a decent job of finding cover but it's not uncommon for guards to blindly rush to your hiding place or to expose themselves unnecessarily. The enemies don't distinguish themselves much, street thugs, police officers and elite troops pretty much behave the same way, the only difference being their weapon and armor of choice.
The psycho and maniac side of Lynch's character is enough to entertain the action and there's enough diversity on the scenarios during the short duration of the game so the experience does not feel repetitive in spite of the main mechanic being mostly the same. Truth be told, there are a couple of interesting ideas and surprising moments involving a helicopter but the action is pretty much standard.
One thing that bothered a lot of people is the the game's camera. It's supposed to convey the idea that the whole thing is being taped by a third person that tags along Kane and Lynch the whole time. So, the image is sharp and steady if you're standing or hiding but when you run, the camera shakes and you lose focus. It did not bother me at all but if you're considering a purchase, you'd be safer watching some game play footage first.
For a gritty and violent game, Kane and Lynch is surprisingly moralistic in censoring extremely violent images like head shots or even naked male and female characters. It's an odd decision and does hurt the atmosphere. I mean, if you're playing this game, you're surely expecting blood, violence, harsh language and even nudity.
The on line part of the game is currently dead. I've tried to set up a few games but haven't managed to find a single session. I did read good reviews on the matter but sadly could not experience it first hand.
I was expecting more and given the quality of the graphics and setting, I think this could've been a great title. Given its current price range - under $20 - it might be worth checking out and enjoying three to four hours of intense and censored bloody action.