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Kane & Lynch: Dead Men (Xbox 360) artwork

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men (Xbox 360) review

"Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. A story about a flawed mercenary and a medicated psychopath. The title says it all: Kane and Lynch are dead men. The game comes from the creators of the Hitman franchise and Freedom Fighters. The game obviously comes from good stock, and the story appeared to be quite promising. So, how does the game hold up? "

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. A story about a flawed mercenary and a medicated psychopath. The title says it all: Kane and Lynch are dead men. The game comes from the creators of the Hitman franchise and Freedom Fighters. The game obviously comes from good stock, and the story appeared to be quite promising. So, how does the game hold up?

Kane and Lynch: Dead Men is about the two characters the game is named after. Kane(real name Adam Marcus) was a man who went off to be a mercenary after his two year old son shot himself with his gun. His wife blamed him for the incident, and he decided to leave the country. Kane cares dearly for his daughter, Jenny, but has not gotten to know her. Lynch is a schizophrenic who worked at a meat packing plant, and took a large amount of medication to keep his illness under control. He finds his wife murdered at home one day, after one of his blackouts. He dials 911, and is later charged with the death of his wife. No one knows, not even Lynch, if he killed his wife. Both men end up in prison, and are about to be transported to death row, when suddenly, Lynch tells Kane to cover his head, and the prison transport is attacked.
Lynch and a group of armed men lead Kane away from the prison convoy, and after an intense gunfight, they escape in a black van. Kane discovers why he has been rescued: A group of mercenaries he once worked for, known as The7. On their last job, it appears that the operation went badly wrong, and Kane was blamed for leaving the rest of the crew behind and stealing the loot. Kane protests, claiming he did no such thing. But The7 are insistent, and they inform Kane that they have his wife and daughter captive. They assign Lynch to watch over Kane while he tracks down the loots. The7 agree that if Kane can bring the loot back, they'll spare his family, and only kill him. The7 tell Lynch that he can become of one them if Kane is successful. The7 leave, and Kane and Lynch are left alone to their own devices.

Kane and Lynch: Dead Men plays a lot like the other games from it's creators. The game is a third person shooter. The right trigger controls attacks, the left trigger allows you to refine your aim. The left analog stick controls movement, and the right analog stick controls the camera. The D-Pad controls your choice of weapons, with the up button that allows you to swap between your primary weapon and your sidearm, and your down button allowing you to switch between your two grenades. The right bumper throws your grenades. The The X, Y, and B button are used for simple commands to issue to your crew. These include "attack that area/enemy", "Move to and guard this area" and "follow me." Unlike some tactical shooters that require you to use complex commands, K and L allows you to simply put your cross hair over or near the area, and press the button, and your squad will obey. A is your context sensitive button. It can be used to perform a vicious melee attack, climb over boxs or press switches.

The majority of the gameplay centers around big gunfights, and commanding your small crew. You can choose to do most of the work yourself, or work with your crew to equally share the work. Enemies will throw grenades of smoke and tear gas to try and make thing difficult for you. Luckily, you can pick these grenades off of the ground and throw them back at them. With escalating deaths, the police will bring in SWAT teams, snipers and better armed police officers, giving you a variety of enemies to dispatch. Most levels involve fighting your way from the beginning of the level, to the end of the level. Some levels feature a semi-stealth option, where you can remain undetected for a small amount of time.

The music is composed by Jesper Kyd, award winning composer famous for creating the music from the Hitman franchise. A series of dark, guitar heavy themes are included, as well as lots of instrumental scores. Sounds effects aren't anything outstanding, but they aren't dull, either. The voice acting is extremely well done, and the voices reflect emotion and character traits extremely well. Sounds effects become louder of muffled as you move closer and away from the area where the noise is located. One your character takes enough damage, your character will lapse into a state where he recalls past events in his mind, and you can hear the background music and noise being muffled while the voices are talking, creating an extremely effective dramatic effect.

Graphically, Kane and Lynch is nothing to be impressed with initially. But before players looking for graphical superiority throw up their controllers in disgust, it appears that Kane and Lynch looks better as one progresses through the game. While the first two levels are nothing astonishing to look at, the third level of the game is pretty impressive, with elaborate uses of lighting and reflection. It appears that the developers concentrated much more on the interior graphical designs, as most of the insides of buildings look fantastic, while the street levels are nothing special. Later on, when the game mostly takes place outdoors, we see some excellent graphics in scenery and destruction.

Kane and Lynch includes a multiplayer mode known as Fragile Alliance. Up to eight players can work together as mercenaries attempting to pull off a series of heists. Number of rounds can be set before game. The players can then work together to complete the heist. If someone gets greedy, however, they can kill another member of the alliance to ensure that they do not escape with any loot, and can then take it for themselves. These people are then branded as traitors for the round. Dead players respawn as police/gang members/ security guards and attempt to stop the heist. Dropped money can be picked up by these players and they earn 10% of it. Money is also rewarded for killing alliance members, and players are able to take "personal revenge", when they kill the alliance member that killed them. Money can be used to buy different sets of weapons kit, complete with a different primary weapon and armor. Players who decide not to be too greedy can choose to love the heist early, with whatever money they managed to pick up.

Kane and Lynch: Dead Men is a fine specimen of a story driven game. The characters are deep, seriously flawed, but the situation they are in is easy to understand and relate with. The settings and plot elements are those typically fond in story focused action movies, with a unique sense of dark and cool injected into it. For those looking for a great story, but not innovate gameplay, this game is definitely worth checking out. For players interested in a good multiplayer experience, this should be worth a rental, but is not likely to be a purchase, unless more scenarios for Fragile Alliance (there are currently only four) are added. Players who want to experience a great action game do not have to look any further, as Kane and Lynch is a deeply engrossing game, with it's only gameplay flaws being the linear levels and the cover system, which does not work as well as one might imagine.

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Community review by Probester (December 21, 2007)

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