I finally beat: Kane and Lynch

Kane and Lynch

I finally beat: Kane and Lynch

A little late for this review, but it will draw inevitable parallels to Army of Two. In order to have those parallels, I have to discuss Kane and Lynch first.

This game got lynched in the reviews. Receiving fairly “eh” to poor scores, not to mention the whole Gamespot fiasco (where a reviewer coincidentally gave the game a low score, ads were removed, and then he, after 10 years, was fired within 24 hours or so). The game was made by the Hitman team in the vain of their other project: Freedom Fighters (which received a very high ~9.6 at Gamespot and is an excellent game). So, where did Kane and Lynch go wrong? Well, first you’d have to prove it did go wrong.I propose that Kane and Lynch does not suck. At least, not for what most people said. Everyone complained about the cover system, AI and gun accuracy. The cover system and AI were crap, but it wasn’t broken. The problem was the map design. Freedom Fighters had excellent AI who used cover well. The maps were significantly more abstract. Crates,waist high cement walls, and convenient turrets made map progression clear. Cover points were visually defined and had hard corners. AI only had a few paths to deal with pathfinding. Kane and Lynch, however, has realistic environments. Rounded corners of an open lobby. There is no clear attack plan or cover. This means you’ll run to a cover point only to discover it isn’t actually designed to wall-hug. This is initially forgivable since the maps are interesting as settings (robbing a bank). As difficulty increases, however, you begin to wish you had better cover.

Friendly AI is hardly an issue since a vast majority of the game has you with just your partner (who should be controlled by a human). This is contrary to Freedom Fighters constant recruitment of new party members throughout the levels (as your squad could be killed and re-recruited from various points on the map as you progressed). Now, I definitely preferred the larger squad tactics of Freedom Fighters, but that’s not the AI’s fault. The game is designed as a co-op shooter rather than a Squad Shooter with co-op play.

Weapon’s accuracy was poor. Assault rifles have a fairly large spread. However, most enemies are only a couple of hits. Again, the map design placed enemies at the far end of streets. Spray in their direction anyway and you’ll kill someone before your clip is gone. Guns are balanced for the average mid-range combat, but enemy placement in large open areas can increase the difficulty greatly. This isn’t because they are a better shot, or better equipped than you. A single enemy at long range is hardly a threat. But when there are a few dozen enemies at that range you have to take constant cover or slowly be shot to death.

I take that back. A single sniper is an absolute horror to deal with in this game. Even if you manage to figure out where they are, you still will have incredible difficulty approaching them, even if there are no other enemies around. Meantime, there often ARE other enemies. While engaging them the sniper will one-hit you and you’ll go down.

Oh,…on the note of realistic damage and combat: if you ever find yourself on a roof, a ‘boss’ attack helicopter approaches and you find a collection of rocket launchers,…RUN. Two men trapped on the roof of a building holding a pair of RPG’s will get GUNNED DOWN by the Hind. Sure, there is cover, but the helicopter’s guns and missiles go right through that. It doesn’t even have to see you, since it will occasionally spray an area. If you happen to be there, then you die.

Still, it is a game built around co-op play. The two main characters are fun to play as. The story is interesting and NOT built to be a trilogy (or at least, hides it better than a blatant To Be Continued.. ending). While the map design is lacking, several of the settings are interesting in play, and all try to have personality. It is fun to rob a bank and then shoot out the back of a moving van. It’s fun to work your way through a crowded night club. Perhaps not worth $60 bucks, but not a game to be purposefully avoided. I recommend it as a rental to play with your friend. If you like it, go pick it up.