I have to admit that I am a fan of the Kane and Lynch franchise from Io Interactive. I own the PC version of Dead Men, and recently grabbed the Xbox 360 iteration of the sequel, Dog Days. These games are about as linear as you can get, with no side bullshit to get in the way such as collectibles or secrets of any kind. They are straight up run and gun shooters. They are mindless fun if you can look past a few of the issues like the cumbersome controls that mainly plague the first game, but aren't totally revised in the second.
The story lines are not too bad, and the voice acting gets the job done. It's the script that bugs me when it comes to what Kane and Lynch have to say in Dog Days. During combat, they both gripe continuously about how shit never goes right, and here we go again, and when are they going to catch a break blah blah blah... These lines seem to be repeated every time they enter a new building or come across an small army of cops, gangsters, or what looks like private military contractors. That shit could go. It's one of the drawbacks to the game that I really didn't appreciate. Aren't these two clowns known troublemakers that chose this kind of lifestyle? I thought so anyway, so why all the bitching about it. They sound like factory workers that have fifteen years under their belts pushing the same buttons on the same machine stamping out the same fucking parts all day long.
The new camera presentation I personally felt added allot of immersion to the title. It was like the two had a youtube cameraman following them around the Shanghai underworld the entire time. From the blurred out head shot victims, to the sensitive lighting and sometimes awkward focus of the camera, I really felt as if I was watching a documentary of sorts on the crime and punishment associated with it. Of course this documentary was not filmed by the Discovery Channel, but one hell of a ballsy entity with a shoddy camcorder from the late 80's.
Many people that have played and written about the game complain of the length of the game, and I see why. In all honesty, I don't think I got more than five hours out of it, and that includes watching every cut scene like I normally do. Game length never bothers me, so as long as the developers use that time effectively. I'm not going to go so far as to pat these fuckers on the back and say they did a great job of putting content into a small jar, but I will say that what they did put in was non stop action.
My favorite part of the game had to be the gun ride mission in the high jacked chopper late in the story. I normally hate gun rides, totally despising the lack of control I have over everything other than the trigger of my weapon, but there was something sweet about hovering next to a skyscraper with a mini gun that had an endless amount of lead in the mag. Watching glass and desks and fire extinguishers, oh, and countless foes take a beating from both Kane and Lynch armed with said mini guns was thrilling to say the least. I almost wished that section was a bit longer, but being that the game was so short, too much time in the chopper would have thrown the games pacing out of whack and we don't need that.
With a few cool and different than your bread and butter multi player modes, Dog Days makes up for the short story. Toss is an arcade mode that basically puts you into multi player themed games solo, and you more than have enough content to justify the standard pricing of today's games. Combined with coop done right, i.e., online with your partner and not limited to split screen like Dead Men forced upon us, not only does the replay of the campaign get a nice boost, but you get to save your eyes a bit. However, if split screen is your thing, it too is included.
I'm not going to say this game is worthy of high review scores and needs to be considered for game of the year or even needs to be nominated for anything at all at the VGA's, but I will say that I was pleased with what I experienced and will likely get more playtime out of it before I ship it off to Goozex. If you are on the fence about the game, give it a rental, trade in some shit at GameStop for a used copy, or even try putting it in your queue at Goozex. Already GameStop has it marked new at $49.99, and $39.99 for the PC version. Within weeks I expect more price drops because I don't think initial sales were through the roof, and stores will be itching to move the inventory which is a great time for buyers to grab games like this.
In the meantime, I think I may just crank up the 360 and give the Cops and Robbers multi player mode another go round. I managed to grab a few million bucks worth of coke the first time I played it, escaping to the chopper on the roof all within the four minute time limit! Maybe this time I'll stick around and see what it's like playing as the law? I'm out!