I'm one of the most forgiving writers you'll find on the subject of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. No, it wasn't a good game, packed full of balancing and technical problems, but its commitment to miserable protagonists and unconventional gameplay situations made it a guilty pleasure of mine. Having just given the demo for Dog Days a go, I am hopeful that this game is everything the first one could have been.
First off, I loved the new visual approach. The swaying "handheld" camera, the grainy quality, and the pixelated nudity/gore make for a surprisingly effective graphical quality. I was dreading that the "Mockumentary" style would distract me from the gameplay, but it enhances the experience rather than get in the way, providing a unique and engaging atmosphere that certainly resonates in the "Reality TV" culture.
As for the gameplay itself? The word "improvement" is probably something you'll see in a lot of reviews. It's tighter, grittier, and above all, far more competent than the first game. Player characters still feel quite flimsy and go down quickly, but the new "get up in cover" option that appears when you're downed is a big help. Firefights can feel a little too drawn out, but otherwise the action is much, much better than the first.
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days honestly looks like it'll be so much better than the first, finally giving the game's two brilliantly rotten antiheroes the kind of title they finally deserve. I shot guys in the head and I had fun, and that's all you can really ask for at the end of the day. I'm really looking forward to getting the full game after my time with this demo.
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