So here’s the deal, Mr. Gerstmann, I’m comin’ to join ya. But here’s what I’m gonna say, I feel as though even Gerstmann gave Kane & Lynch a little too much credit. This game not only fails to live up to hype and expectations, but I feel it even fails to live up to some things I would find standard in this new age of quality shooters.
The story, first of all, is atrocious. While some of it may seem fresh at the start (you are rescued from a death sentence only to find you have to work for a mercenary group you once “betrayed”) it eventually turns into another tepid tale of revenge. That’s it…the only reason you continue on, revenge at all costs. Oh yeah, and your character is a despicable human being. Real bad. So bad that you really don’t care about your character or his well being at all. In fact, most of the main “protagonists” are so vile that you may end up hating them more than your villains. This game is also killed by the fact that there are major holes left in the story after completion, and all of these holes lie within character development. You wonder things like “Why does Kane have a Scar?”, “What is the story with that Japanese guy?” and “What did happen on that fateful day that you betrayed your group?”. None of these question are ever really answered, leaving your characters as superficial and loathsome as before. After experiencing rich stories like CoD 4’s or being immersed in an environment and scenario of grandiose proportion like in Bioshock, the story of Kane and Lynch is so banal it makes it makes The Great Muppet Caper seem like an epic Heist and revenge story by comparison. I’m sorry that was mean of me…The Great Muppet Caper deserves much better treatment than that.
The only thing that can redeem this story is that Kane and Lynch form a group of “Dead Men” who don’t suck nearly as much and seem to have much richer character, even though you heard them talk for about 4 minutes total in the game. They also provide a little bit of humor and freshness to a story that at the point of the game that they are introduced, is well needed. There is one more character, your daughter, and she is the most loathsome, angry, emo bitch ever. Not that some of her reactions aren’t undeserved, having grown up without her daddy and all…still annoying. So I suppose storywise, if you’re into cliches, then you’ll love it. Now let’s roll into gameplay.
Ok…so if we thought graphics were bad…just you wait. Let’s first begin with the staple of any shooter, combat. The combat style is very similar to that of Gears of War, only much much worse. First, you have no choice about when you edge up next to cover; all you can do is run up next to a wall and hope it snaps you into place. This auto-detection system becomes really frustrating not only because it doesn’t work most of the time, but sometimes you’ll snap into place when you need to be mobile. Second, shooting from the hip is worthless. Shooting while stopping and aiming is only SLIGHTLY less worthless. In fact shooting in general is just an exasperating mess. The accuracy of weapons doesn’t seem to change whether you burst-fire or you continually fire. I’m sure that it does, but you miss so often when you burst fire that it is almost easier to just spray the field with bullets and hope that one hits. Now before people come out to say “Well Kane and Lynch aren’t trained soldiers so of course their accuracy will be worse than what you’re used to,” that’s bull. If you believe in the lame excuse of a story at all, then Kane is some what of a successful mercenary and part of what is essentially an elite crime/merc organization. He should know how to shoot a gun.
That all being said, there are some amusing parts to the game. Neither of these are the club or the bank robbery, both of which are really just annoying or poorly thought out. The two moments that stood out the most as exciting to me were the prison break (it actually felt like you were staging a prison break/riot to “liberate” your crew) and when you repel through a window to take out a board meeting. Those were two novel experiences for me and I think that they were pulled off very well.
The remaining aspects were mediocre at best. The visuals of the game were nice, but definitely not up to par with some of the great stuff that has been coming out. The sound was present, and the story was completely voice acted, but nothing spectacular was put together. And the multiplayer? There’s only one mode and it becomes repetitive and a bit annoying at it’s finest. There may be some fun to be had in the multiplayer, but I never found it.
Art Direction: Nothing incredible done here. Some of the environments are nice and pulled off much better than others, but overall the graphics in the game fall in line with what I feel should be a standard for FPS now and in the future. Designs were well done, but nothing terribly creative or striking to make the art a big factor.
Sound Design: The voice acting for this game is actually rather good. Nothing ever sounds forced, but there can be issues where the characters say something at times that don’t make a whole lot of sense. For example, when I kill a guard and then he yells “HEY! What’re you doin’ here?” I dunno, it just feels a little unrealistic, ya know?
Gameplay: There are soooo many annoyances that I’m surprised that this game wasn’t delayed to fix some glaring issues. When my pistol is more accurate long range than my assault rifle, we have a slight problem. Also, locking into cover is frustrating and seems to occur only when you don’t want it to. There was a lot of potential there, but I feel that it lived up to none of it.
The Story: This was possibly the most disappointing aspect of the game. There was a lot of great potential, but it fell apart as the story became a trite tale of revenge for a character you could care less about. In fact, I didn’t want to get revenge because I felt the bastards deserved it.
Overall: Two Stars