Kane & Lynch: Dead Men currently has a user score of 5.9 on Metacritic. By most critical standards in media, that’s fine. A 3 star movie is a good movie. But in gaming and to the common gamer anything less than an 8 is a turd.
As the insightful goldmine it is the user reviews section for Kane & Lynch on Metacritic contains powerfully helpful reviews. Ones such as DavidF’s who gave this a 0 and followed this up with “Terrible game. The plot is horrible, the dialog is a joke and the most entertainment you get out of playing is hitting the exit button.“. Virgilivs was another mighty crusader of the metacriticisms also giving the title a 0 and stated “…the plot is not so bad, gameplay is passable, but the game time is too short, and it only relies on endless try-retry sessions in almost impossible fights. I’m happy I only spent 2 euros for this, that’s the money it is worth.” For €2 you can buy a double cheeseburger from McDonalds, and I’ve never once gone onto a feedback form for McDonalds to rate their burger anything and I’ve had some great and some terrible burgers. Now I’m not going to argue and say these are wrong, I’m here to say be a Reycist… all games are created equal and you just need to open your heart to find the joy in any title, even if there’s not much to be found.
So here are the 5 reasons I like Kane & Lynch and why I think you should play it…
1. The characters are well written.
I’ve never written a screenplay or a book but I’ve watched many movies and read many books and I can tell you, if shows like Game of Thrones have taught us anything its that a Character that invokes some emotion is a good Character. Joffrey may be a hated little cunt but there’s good reason for that. He’s quality at what he’s doing. Likewise Kane and Lynch are both hateable characters. Kane is a flawed selfish asshole who seems to blindly rely on his psychopathic friend Lynch who’s very clearly not all together in the head. Both of these people deserve to be locked up. And so this works. You want to know what Lynch will fuck up next and what lengths Kane will go to to try and fix his own past mistakes. These characters are driven by their emotions and reliance on each other.
2. Its like playing Hitman without the stealth.
…and the tense gun play. So yeah it feels a bit like Hitman which is definitely a good thing but at later stages and with some particular enemies your opposition become bullet sponges. Which is frustrating as fuck and I always feel that this is bullshit in any game. Focus… Good things. Good things. You get a full arsenal to play with and the cover mechanics are totally functional though a little clunky. Still, killing waves upon waves of cops is a fine experience. You will get very used to it though as you’ll be doing it a lot, but what else do you expect from a 3rd person shooter?
3. The level design is impressive.
From prison to Tokyo there’s plenty of detailed environments for you to blast your way through. The level that always sticks with me is the Tokyo nightclub in which the developer uses that awesome Hitman engine to fill the club full up partying adults unaware of the lead disco about to go down. The lighting effects are used to great effect as the yakuza running the club draw weapons with flashlights allowing you to pick out your targets in the dark, if you are that way inclined. I prefer the spray and pray approach that results in a potentially international incident between the States and Japan. Other levels have you repelling down the sides of buildings, fighting your way through a construction yard – similar to a scene from the Arnie movie Raw Deal – all the way to fighting your way out of malls and banks. Which leads me to my next point…
4. You get to rob banks.
In the story you get to rob a few banks but the online mode takes it one step further with a criminally under-rated multiplayer experience that has you and 6 or so others robbing banks, shops and other drug dealers before trying to escape with your loot via an impatiently manned getaway vehicle. The real beauty of this mode is its betrayal system and round mechanics. If you betray the team you get to keep the loot you’ve stolen and even get to pilfer the body of your previous and now deceased accomplice, and upon making your escape the value you have amassed is yours to keep whereas it’s normally split amongst the escaped parties. This paints you as a target in the next round but gives you an edge on your temporary allies as after the end of the set number of rounds the player who posses the most cash wins. It’s simple and brilliant and currently an online ghost town.
5. You can buy it for €2.
As our buddy Virgilivs pointed out on Metacritic, this game goes for cheaper than a Magnum ice cream and hopefully won’t melt within 30 minutes of purchase. This begs the question as to why the online mode is empty? Are people simply unaware of the majestic beast that currently lies dormant? Look, at roughly 40c an hour there’s value to Kane and Lynch that I’m sure you’d love to deny because who doesn’t like joining a good old fashioned slamming of a ‘critically shunned’ video game but face it you’ve spent more money on worse shit that lasts less. Why not take the tips you made from your 4 hour shift in Starbucks and expand your gaming knowledge.
Listen to Manny’s experience as he got the grips with Kane & Lynch for his shameful play in episode 8 of the Cooldown Podcast.