Some of you may have already spotted the new Kane and Lynch 2 demo appear on XBL or the PS3 network in the last few days. Now before I go in to any detail, I would like to say I was a big fan of the first game. I know the mechanics were a little clunky, the graphics were hardly anything to scream about but the biggest win in my book was the amazing story line and the fact you can play two player co-op. In basic the game opens with a voiceover of a letter, addressed to a girl named Jenny, which is being written by her father, Adam ‘Kane’ Marcus. Kane is traveling to death row after being convicted of manslaughter. Another death row inmate, James Seth Lynch, lets on there will be a breakout.
In some parts of the original each player would have a separate task, for example early in the story line Kane would have to bag the money from the safe in a bank and Lynch’s job was to keep the hostages quiet. At the time I was playing as Kane, bagging the money and we were playing over XBL, so I couldn’t actually see my brothers screen. By the time I get back to the front of the bank all the hostages are dead, I said to my brother “WTF happened?”. He said they “all started shooting and had rabbits for heads”. For those that don’t know Lynch is a little nuts and I didn’t believe my brother till I played it through a 2nd time as Lynch. The reason why I wanted to state I enjoyed the first one (Dead Men) is because of the whole Game Spot debacle. I like GS reviews because they are short sweet and often not far from the truth. GS ended up giving the game a 6/10 and apparently the original writer was fired because Edios had spent/spending millions in advertisement with GS. Ok it’s easier if you just read the Story Here. For those that care, that game was an easy 8/10 in my book.
Ok so the demo came out and I had to get my hands on it. The first area that caught my eye were the 4/5 menu screens which depict various areas of Shanghai. It’s gritty texture gives it a fantastic sense of realism. This gritty texture is also throughout the game which I can only describe as a poor early 90′s hand camera. It’s pixelated grey and green with harsh streaks of purple and yellow stemming from neon signs and other street lighting. The beginning FMV are nothing to scream home about but they show a clear story of Lynch settled down with a local woman and reminiscing about his previous violent history. The demo starts with Kane and Lynch catching up in a restaurant when the place is suddenly stormed by 20 or more organised, armoured and semi automatic equipped bad asses. Straight in to the action with only a few inches either side of a fridge to try the buttons. Now I can’t remember if the 3rd person was so close in the first game but this definitely too close for comfort. It almost felt like another person with a hand cam was leaning over my right shoulder. One step to the right to see what I’m dealing with and bang, I hit the deck. I thought I was dead but this is actually all part of the new combat system. Once you hit the floor you have a few options, the first is to press A and get back up again or alternative you can shuffle around a little, reload or fire very inaccurately. Nice, it’s got a little realism to it. I wont be diving out so fast next time. So pinned down I managed to go through about 3 mags of ammo and I’m clean out. A little indicator tells me to press down on the D pad to find more ammo from fallen enemies. Another nice little feature, got to be a little more careful now. I had to duck and dive several times to pick up a MP5 with about 15 bullets in it. Also new was the destructive environment. Hiding behind a wooden beam only lasts a few seconds so choosing your next item of cover is essential.
So what other things did I notice were different? When dashing the camera also jolts around with the action of the character. It’s confusing at first but it really adds to the action, even as little as dashing and dodging bullets from one dumpster to another. One of the other things I noticed was the blur effect when a player is shot in the head. The graphical effect is similar to what you would see if an image was blurred out by the news because it’s too graphic for the viewer. A lot of people have asked is this just in the demo? It’s already been confirmed this will be in the full game. Surprisingly I wasn’t used to this type of effect which actually made it quite disturbing and realistic.
Ok so this is all the new stuff and it all sounds great but what about the bad. Well the AI was pretty poor, in fact it looked like they are using the same coding as the first game. The AI didn’t really pose a threat and never tried to flank me. Instead they took cover firing from distance till I HSed each cop individually. The graphics are sub par but the dark, gritty effect trumps it as it’s good to see something different and original. The demo comes with multi player which is quite a nice little download package when you think about it. The bad thing here is finding a game, it again reminds me of the first KAL; finding a game, joining lobby, closing lobby and finally in a lobby on your own. Once in a game the net coding is quite poor with a lot of AI and human players jumping around the screen a lot. I hope this will all be tidied before the final version. Although I doubt this as the game is out in just a few weeks. Just quickly to rap this up, the multi player has a lot more interesting features from the first one. Basically in the first game players had to rob several places together and get back to the getaway vehicle. During this period players can gun each other down to get more loot. Now back then I thought this was genious but because it didn’t have enough guidelines and rules players just randomly shot each other up with no real game plan. Now in the demo there is a similar senario except players are given a yellow card should they shoot another player, this basically gives you a warning and at this time you can fireback without being flagged as a traitor. Seeing a yellow card is probably better to ignore as it may have been a few stray bullets and having an extra accomplyce will help you get further through the mission. If anything just cap him at the end before he gets in the van.
Now in the 2nd one you can also hold players hostage, by pressing B from behind. While being held hostage the other player begins to steal small amounts of the loot and can fire back. The hostage may tap several button combinations that appear on the screen to escape. I had a classic stand off when another gamer took my friend hostage just before the getaway car and I had to accuartly shoot over his shoulder to save my friend and share the loot. Another great option is when you get to the get away car that pulls up every 10 seconds or more after the 3 minute mark. If you are the first one to the car you can share the loot with the driver 50/50 or you can tell the driver to wait. Depending on how much fire power is coming down from the cops, will help you make a decision. If you become a traitor and you are killed you have to wait till the end of the round, if you are killed by a cop then you become a cop. The demo game is called “Fragile Alliance” although there is various other forms of multi player games like under cover cop, cops and robbers and more. I suggest you download the demo and watch the videos for clearer explanations of each game type. I will be buying this game because as I stated before, I loved the first one but also because this is original and I bet it’s going to get a bad rap as graphically, first version and online issues its just not of the same calbre that gamers are used to. Again this is just a brief overview and I highly recommend you play the demo and if you have time buy the first game, it cant be much more than $10 now.
To my knowedge no other game has offered this type of online betrayal game play, happy backstabbing.