Kane & Lynch: Dead Men - Game Review

By: Sinan Sin.

Kane is an anti-hero broken by a family tragedy who becomes a cold-hearted mercenary; Lynch an unstable paranoid schizophrenic who might have killed his wife (or been set up) during one of his frequent blackouts. Both death row inmates are sympathetic yet frighteningly violent and unpredictable, and their fates become intertwined when their transport is ambushed by a mysterious organisation.

In a year overflowing with high-quality shoot-'em-ups, Kane & Lynch is outclassed because of its significant flaws but the game's compelling story, characters and thrilling set pieces will still keep you playing. Stages include bank heists, jail breaks and a unique scenario set in a packed and throbbing Tokyo nightclub.

The action is viewed from a third-person perspective, with players expected to make appropriate use of cover and issue simple orders to allies as they try to gun down enemies. But the automatic cover system is sloppy and unreliable, and team-mate artificial intelligence is frustratingly often found wanting. It's just as well you can revive others with a shot of adrenaline, even if they don't always return the favour when you are felled.

Two mates can play through the campaign co-operatively but it is split-screen only - you cannot play with an online, faraway friend.

An unusual online multiplayer mode is some compensation, enabling up to eight players to work together to pull off a big heist (or stab each other in the back to grab a bigger share of the loot). It's a novel and promising diversion but suffers from the same annoyances as the solo campaign.

This is an interesting shooter with strong characters and some thrilling, Hollywood-style action sequences but would have benefited from much more polish.

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