I don’t think a dog’s life is truly what we want out of life, because this expression doesn’t really have a positive meaning. But Kane and Lynch, the same, weird heroes in the second game of the series, still made by IO Interactive (Hitman, anyone?), will find themselves right in the middle of such days filled with the most unfortunate and most of all bloody events. Of course, one can ask: were the problems of the predecessor solved? Partially, yes, as now we’ve got an online co-op mode, the controls are better and the story a little stronger. On the other hand, new problems plague Dog Days, both technically and gameplay wise.
This time around, Lynch rules, with pills in one hand and the gun in the other, calling for his friend Kane in Shanghai to take part in an illegal, but lucrative business. However, everything falls apart, the Chinese triads want to cut the two in little pieces (literally), so the whole game becomes a crazy race to get out of town, preferably alive.
Unlike the first title, there are no more special missions, no more misfired stealth assignments. Everything is clear: kill them all, then shoot them again, just to make sure. Next area, same story. And so on, because that’s all you do during the whole, horribly short campaign: 4 or 5 hours at most on the normal level of difficulty. Since the shooting itself becomes repetitive and the story is very slim, I wonder what’s worse: to have poorly done missions, but somewhat diverse, with heists, stealth and action, or only action with blood all over the place and nothing more?
Anyway, the creators of the game did listen to criticism and put in an online co-op mode for the campaign, with the split-screen option now remaining a console exclusive. Controlling Kane in co-op isn’t very different from Lynch, but the coordination is done better to flank and eliminate efficiently the impressive number of opponents.
The camera is drunk
The first thing you see when starting the game is a video camera. Unclear, old, with images which aren’t recommended to sensitive stomachs, that depict our two heroes being thoroughly tortured, probably with a razor blade. Afterwards, you don’t see the camera anymore, but it’s always there, just like amateur movies, made while running, with a camera held in the hand, on the shoulder or on the head. Consequently, the image shakes a lot, takes weird angles, the light is reflected strangely, everything you could wish from an amateur cameraman. Fortunately, the shaking camera can be deactivated, but for those that want more of a challenge besides the cheating AI, we recommend to leave it just the way it is.
The whole gameplay consists of finding the best cover spots and eliminate everything that moves in front of your crosshair from there. Concrete pillars and other tough structures are the best, as we have realistic destruction and a wooden crate isn’t a bright cover place. And trying to add another level of challenge, now you don’t need to wait to be rescued in case of a fatal wound. You can crawl into cover while fighting, which will be a very frequent situation, no matter the difficulty level.
The enemies will not hesitate to use the cover points, they also shoot from cover and flank you, so it’s obvious the need to cooperate with a human Kane. The allied AI isn’t too bright because it manages quite often to close your field of view, but it isn’t completely useless either. Besides the smart use of cover, the AI also has the numeric advantage because there will always be more than 10 opponents ready to fill you with lead. And once you take them down, make sure they are really dead, otherwise they tend to continue shooting.
Body count: +1000
Yes, you get an achievement for killing 1000 enemies in the campaign. It’s an impressing number for such a short story, worthy of the psychic or personal problems the heroes have. And helping to get the achievement is quite a rich, but very inaccurate arsenal. At least in the beginning, whether it’s a pistol, an automatic gun or a semi, none of them shoots right, the misses are incredible and you will discover that a perfect headshot can have no effect whatsoever.
The inefficient guns were made like that to turn them into realistic ones, but it’s only annoying because the opponents don’t have such problems. The need to find a decent weapon is as great as the need to survive and the enemies are very tough. Fortunately, decent guns are to be found on the battlefield, along with the needed bullets, so you don’t risk to be left naked (except during one mission. Literally).
Almost all the guns are available from the start, but you can only carry two at a time, so you kind of have to guess where the game will send you and what kind of enemies you’ll face. There are no grenades, but you can use gas canisters and fire extinguishers instead (and you can also throw them). I think the best gun is the shotgun, at the opposite end being the automatic weapons that spread ammo without too much result.
In multiplayer you can also buy guns, but since the goal here is to get as much money as possible, it’s a matter of choice: will you spend on weapons to get easier kills (this is where the cash comes from), or take what you find around you?