STAFF REVIEW of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men (Xbox 360)

Saturday, December 15, 2007.
by Chewy

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men Box art Sometimes there is a game coming up the pipe that we get excited about. Something catches your attention and says ?That is going to be the game for me?. Kane and Lynch was that game for me. After I had heard the information about the co-op/backstabbing multiplayer I was hooked. I am not much of a fan of the tactic less, charge in guns a blazing? kind of multiplayer that games like Halo have made popular. I had hoped that Kane and Lynch would finally be the game that I could convince my buddies to pickup and get them away from playing Halo. Wow, was I wrong.

In the last 5 years or so there has only been one game that caused me to want to snap my controller in two. Not just a little bit of frustration, but the seething anger that boils your blood and causes your vision to go red. I am normally a pretty calm guy. I get frustrated with levels on some games but this game was different. That was Ninja Gaiden. I had heard good things about it so picked up a copy. I hated that game. The controls were very tight, but it seemed to me that unless you were a 14 year old hopped up on Monster Energy Drinks (your welcome Maximus) and caffeine pills there was no way in hell that you could have the reaction time needed to click and pound your way through that game. Early on I found myself clutching my controller tighter. Then I found myself actually getting angry at my controller. Then I found myself snapping my controller in half. This anger came up not because of the quality of the game, Ninja Gaiden was a very polished well done game, it was just OMGWFTBBQ hard. That was the only game that had me trying to snap my controller in two, until Kane and Lynch.

At the start of the game you are Kane on death row. You are broken out of jail, but instead of being a good thing, this isn?t much of a rescue effort, but more of a hostage taking. A group you used to be a part of, The7 has broken you out of jail to get something that you have taken from them. They are not terribly impressed with you and send Lynch along with you. He is to check in on a regular basis and if he doesn?t your family will suffer. After the beginning cut scenes you finally get into the gameplay.

Ah the gameplay. Well, let us start with the basics. If this was an early beta that I had received I would have probably been able to give this some kind of positive feedback, but this is a finished game. Well, let me rephrase that, this is a game that has been released in a final copy to retail outlets. It really is far from a finished game. The controller snapping anger that boiled up from the depths of my soul while playing this game had nothing to do with the difficulty of the game, but far more to do with frustration. Frustration at not being able to move where I wanted. Not being able to stick to cover how I wanted. Not being able to complete levels how I wanted. Not being able to shoot what I was pointing at.

The graphics in Kane and Lynch are fairly well done. The characters, guns and levels are fairly well done and some of the levels are well designed. It has a nice dark gritty feel befitting of the genre that this game is gunning for. The cut scenes are excellent and it also has some great voice acting to go along with the cut scenes and in game as well. Some of the levels are very well designed and some even pull off some things that I haven?t seen done before in a video game. One of the levels is based in a night club, and when the club is full of people and you have to work your way through the crowd, the lights and the music, it really does a great job in making it feel like a club. But all that is window dressing. This is not a movie. I don?t just sit back and look at the pretty pictures on the screen. I want to be able to control the characters and immerse myself into the game and that is where Kane and Lynch falls apart.

The controls are awful. I don?t mean, ?Opps, I didn?t mean to do that? I mean ?You stupid @#$%#$% move that way, no #$#@#*%!!!! over behind the &*@#$@ box, not up on it you @$&@#$? (Snap goes the controller) The problem is that when the controls are broken in a game, it doesn?t matter what else the game has going on, no matter what else the game does well, it is still going to be marred by bad controls. You stick to cover when you don?t want to, can?t stick to cover when you really need it. Climbing up on things is a complete crap shoot. Anytime you come up on something you think you should be able to climb up on you have about a 50-50 chance of being able to do it. Other times you will slide off to one side, or just plow into the object not climbing at all. Then the gunplay begins. That is where a game like this should thrive. Nope, not Kane and Lynch. You enter aiming mode, line up the shot and BANG right into the box you are ducking behind. (snap goes the controller) Why the hell is my cursor pointed at the bad guys? forehead if you slam the bullets into the cover I am hiding behind? Please, someone? And then on top of the difficult controls they short you on the ammo end of things in this game as well. Luckily your cohorts carry unlimited amounts of ammo for just about any firearm that you have managed to pickup during the game. That is lucky isn?t it? NOPE. Lucky would have BEEN GIVING YOU ONE OF THE DAMN UNLIMMTED AMMO BELTS instead of sticking it on a brainless, psychotic moron you have as an ally.

Brainless moron, a perfect lead into the AI. Wow, it is awful. There are many examples of this but there is a simple one that keeps popping up constantly. I am in cover and I am looking across at am enemy who is also behind cover with just his head exposed. I crack off a couple shots (and of course I miss, snap goes the controller) and what does the AI baddie do? Duck back into cover? Nope. Call in reinforcements? Nope. Fall back to a better spot? Nope. He stands up, runs around in front of the cover so now I have a completely clean shot at him. Wow, just wow. That is a special kind of stupid. Because of how tactical they try and make the game, glaring AI stupidity like this is just magnified much more than in a run and gun kind of game.

The multiplayer. The multiplayer is the entire reason that I have wanted to play this game for the last six months. I have read all kinds of wonderful things about the backstabbing yet co-op style of the online play. Read. Yep, good thing I read about the multiplayer, because otherwise I wouldn?t know anything about the multiplayer. I have tried probably around 50 times to connect to a multiplayer game. In those 50 times I probably made it into the lobby three times or so. I eventually made it a drinking game. One drink for every time I couldn?t connect. Needless to say I passed out before I got to play a game. Now, I play other games online, it is not like I can?t connect to LIVE at all, but this game just doesn?t want to connect. I even went as far as manually bypassing my router and directly connecting my 360 to the internet. Still no luck. Now, if this was a game that I had really enjoyed the single player in I might have invested some more time and energy to trying to resolve the problems. The idea of the horrible controls rearing their ugly head but in larger numbers online just stopped me. The last thing I wanted to hear was the crunching sound of massed snapped controllers from all across North America entering my living room. Kane and Lynch also does local co-op multiplayer, but there is no person that I hated enough to subject to this game that I would be willing to let into my living room.

This game was so close to being able to pull off a 90% kind of score. A couple more months of cooking in the development oven could have made this a really good game. Instead we get an unfinished game put out onto the market. I would recommend printing out an ad for this game and post it all over your house and in the houses of anyone who might possibly be purchasing you a Christmas gift this year with a warning ?Anyone found giving me this gift this year will not only be responsible for returning it for something better, but may as well have to call the doctor to have my boot surgically removed from their ear hole. Merry Christmas everyone!!!!? I had originally written this review that only said ?In honor of the 1000 word minimum for reviews here are 1000 words worth of games that are better than Kane and Lynch.? and then proceeded to list games that included Tic-Tac-Toe and Pong. Then I figured that would be as bad of a review as a game and the loyal Xbox Addict fans deserved better.

Please guys don't rush your game out the door next time. This had all the ability to be a top notch 360 game, instead it ends up being a painful gaming experience.

Overall: 4.0 / 10
Gameplay: 1.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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