Kane & Lynch 2 is a third person action shooter told primarily from Lynch's point of view; he's the balding one on the cover. You kill a lot of people, then move onto the next location and kill a lot more people. The story is secondary to the killing of bad guys and cops. It injects some emotion early on and attempts to sustain it throughout, but it’s rudimentary, arising from acts of merciless violence. The level of violence in the game means it’s definitely not for the very young.
The camera takes on the role of a third protagonist. It’s technically a fixed perspective, but that perspective is from a cheap, grainy, low res handheld digital camera. When the action gets frantic the image pixelates, throwing up deliberate screen artefacts as the ‘operator’ gets shaken or attempts to keep up. It’s a stylistic choice that helps enhance the action, and while it'll certainly irritate some players there’s no denying it feels cinematic. If you've watched Alfonso Cuarón’s film Children of Men (2006) you’ll likely remember the lengthy scene that takes place on the war-torn streets? Playing K&L is exactly like being in that scene for an extended period of time.
It’s a short game, but for once that’s a good thing, any longer and it would begin to feel like it had overstayed its welcome. I got the feeling the lack of anything to do outside of the singular objective was to keep the player from getting bored; too much wandering around, hunting for collectibles, etc, would cause the game to lose momentum. I enjoyed it mostly, but felt a little empty at the hurried and deeply unsatisfying ending.
I didn't play the online or co-op modes. I imagine the co-op would allow for some interesting flanking manoeuvres? Otherwise, what would be the point?
Available on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
3½ lacerations out of 5