By Sam Coles:
Kane and Lynch Dead Men was a controversial title and not because of its content with violence or the game being particularly bad, but it got a former Gamespot employee Jeff Gerstmann fired because he gave the game a 6 out of 10 and they’re being sponsored by the company who published the game at the time. Is the game that bad? No, but it does have a few flaws that makes the game frustrating in some sections? Yes. However it is an enjoyable action thriller with tense situations.
You play as Kane (singleplayer) who is on death row for his crimes as a mercenary however it’s not long until he meets Lynch who proceeds to tell him to get down and then a truck runs the police van off the road. You’re then embroiled in a daring escape as you dodge gunfire from the police and hold them back as you defend yourself in a donut shop as SWAT surround your position. They then escape and it turns out that Kane’s old mercenary friends have kidnapped Kane’s wife and daughter as they want something back from him. The game starts out somewhat grounded in reality with the thriller aspects as you rob a bank to making an exchange in Asia, but then it turns into a military scenario where you’re destroying tanks in Cuba it’s just a bit jarring compared to the rest of the game.
The story is interesting enough to keep you engaged with tense situations like the bank heist where you’re holding off the police at the front entrance, coupled with the psychotic episodes that Lynch has where he ends up shooting everyone whether they’re armed or not it adds a bit of unpredictability to the plot. I have to admit there too much profanity I not being prude but they say “fuck” or “shit” in every sentence they spew which can get a bit tiresome.
Gameplay is a third person shooter like Gears of War as was the case with most action games from 2006-2011 before the sandbox game took over. You have your standard cover based shooting which can be a chore sometimes because the game doesn’t have a dedicated cover button and instead you have to angle yourself correctly and this has resulted in with me having several shots in my chest where Kane was making his mind up to take cover or not. It’s not just about shooting although that is majority of the game, there are different scenarios such as you performing a heist where you abseil down a building and then proceed to shoot the place up in a tense standoff. The locales are interesting and varied compared to the game’s sequel.
Graphically it doesn’t look too bad, not great but it’s not awful looking the blood effects are good as it splashes on the wall behind them when you shoot enemies in the head. The animation hasn’t aged well as they seem to act like manikins with stiff and unnatural movement which is a shame because Gears of War came out around the same time which had much better animation with character models.
The major problems I have with this game are the hit detection and the A.I with your partner. The hit detection can be awful where you can’t tell if your bullets are doing damage or not. I would highly recommend grabbing a friend and play it all the way through because your A.I partner is not very smart as he tends to charge out into the open, you can play it locally which is great.
Kane and Lynch Dead Men has its flaws but is an enjoyable action game with really tense situations it’s super cheap these days and is a great laugh to playthrough with a friend.