Kane & Lynch: Dead Men

Reviewed by Kyle Bell, Posted on 2007-11-16


Developer: Io Interactive Publisher: Eidos
Release Date: November 13, 2007 Also On: PS3 & Xbox 360

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men may go down as one of the worst game titles in the history of gaming. Although it would not be easy to get the name confused with the likes of Cain and Abel, Starsky and Hutch or Rocky and Bullwinkle, I would not be surprised if a few people did. Funny names aside, what matters most is how a game plays. I am happy to report that Io's crime thrilling third person shooter is an entertaining, yet equally disturbing, experience.

The awkward title comes from the two main characters: Kane, a death row inmate, and Lynch, a psychopathic "babysitter" whose job it is to keep watch over Kane. A group called The Seven rescue Kane from imminent execution. As a former member of the group, Kane lost something that they want back. Playing as Kane in single-player (Lynch can be played in co-op), Lynch will follow you from level to level and aid you in getting the mission done.

This is a game very much about teamwork. Whether you play by yourself or with a friend in co-op, the story will remain the same. There are parts that can only be experienced through co-op, since there will be times that Kane and Lynch split apart and do different things. This means that you can play through once alone and a second time with a friend for a slightly different experience.

If you play alone, Lynch is controlled just as any of the other NPC's. There are three commands that you can issue in any given situation. They can be told to follow you, defend a specific area or they can attack an area or person that you select. The AI is combat effective and is certainly capable of performing the desired task. You can also assign NPC's to your partner in co-op, as well as swap weapons.

As far as the health system goes, it leans more towards arcade shooter than a realistic game. You can get torn up by bullet fire and survive by taking cover. Your screen will become blurred and eventually gray before you are about to die. If Kane or Lynch take too much fire, they will fall and have a limited period where you can inject them with adrenaline to bring them back to life. This can create a game where you and the person playing with you can constantly revive each other with little or no consequence. However, there are plenty of situations where the enemy will swarm you in such a way as to make it impossible to not avoid dying.

The controls in Kane & Lynch are the linchpin of a good game in many cases. A clunky system can cripple a game, making it unplayable. This is not necessarily the case in Kane & Lynch, but the controls at times do not lend themselves very well to making the game better. The camera is controlled with the right analog stick, the left controls the player. One thing I thought was cool was that the camera could be controlled during cut-scenes. L2 targets, R2 fires, while leaning against walls and other objects automatically give you cover. The problem is, even when you go near a wall, you will not always lean against it for cover.

The cinematics and storyline make this feel like a Hollywood production. The plot is there, the crazy characters and personalities are there and so is the violence. What's missing? Refined controls and a little more flair to the graphics. It is fun to play alone, but more so with a friend in co-op. This game feels a lot like Freedom Fighters. The only problem with that is the mistakes with that game have not been corrected four years later. When it comes to third person shooters, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men is not going to be remembered as a classic.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 7.2
Written by Kyle Review Guide

Reviewed by Kyle Bell