The entertainment world has its fair share of famous crime-breaking duos – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, Thelma and Louise and Kane & Lynch. Wait a minute! Kane & Lynch? In looking at all the advertising behind Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, you would think Eidos’ entry into the world of crime duos would have made a larger splash on the video gaming scene. Well it sort of did but for all the wrong reasons (Google GameSpot Gerstmann for those of you who were in Tibet at the end of November). Back to the point – does Kane & Lynch deserve a spot on the list of famous criminal duos? After playing through Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, the answer is a resounding no. Here is the police blotter:In Eidos’ crime caper, you play as Kane, who is out for revenge against members of his former criminal group, The7. Opposite Kane is his pill popping sidekick Lynch. He helps to spring you from the prison transport truck since you have to locate and deliver heist money you allegedly took from The7, back to them. The plot is standard heist and revenge fare but is set in locales that have been jacked from the celluloid screen. Movie fans will recognize levels from crime movies such as Heat and Collateral and game does a decent job of recreating memorable scenes from these films.You play as Kane from an over-the-shoulder third-person perspective similar to Gears of War. But this is where the similarity ends since the aiming in Kane & Lynch is so poorly designed that you feel like you’re the one popping pills in the game and not your psychotic sidekick, Lynch. Kane shoots about as well as Barney Fife due to a terribly flawed aiming mechanism, which makes it feel like there’s a 15-lb. weight tethered to your weapon during the entire game.The control setup gives you the option of adjusting the horizontal and vertical axis for aiming but I tried various adjustments and it still felt like I was aiming at flies when trying to hit a target. The recoil from the weapons doesn’t help your effort either. You’re forced to adjust by going with splatter shooting, which is fine except the enemies can take you out at long distances with uncanny accuracy. To add insult to injury, they are actually using the same d** weapons that you can’t aim with! This balance problem will have you slamming your controller down in utter frustration. In this day and age of slick shooters, this type of sloppy aiming mechanic is inexcusable.The other problem in the game relates to Kane and other team members AI. These guys are erratic as far their ability to shoot enemies and stay out of harm’s way. You can issue commands to your team members but I found it was much better to park these guys behind you and out of the action, while you and Kane go in and take out your enemies. Kane doesn’t help much in providing cover but he is needed to inject you with adrenaline if you die in action since the process of reviving is time-sensitive.The enemy AI is slightly better since they are crack shots but they still exhibit erratic behavior. Some enemies will be effective is using cover during firefights while others just stand around, waiting to get popped. There is a cover mechanic for Kane, where you automatically stick behind cover when you get close to a surface but it doesn’t seem to work on a consistent basis. The other problem is that you don’t really ever get a clean shot off when leaning around an object so you have to revert to going into the open for more accurate shooting. So much for being “like” Gears of War.The graphics are disappointing for a current generation game. The in-game characters look decent enough and there is plenty of detail in the environments but everything has a very dull look due to the flat lighting and monochrome tone of the game. The night scenes are also way too dark and become tough to play, even though it doesn’t really matter all that much since the aiming is so inaccurate. On the flip side, the blood splatters look cool especially when they hit a wall after a well-placed headshot but overall, this is not a good sign if this is the best part of the visuals. The sound is adequate enough so no complaints with that, except for maybe all of the F-bombs that are dropped in the game. I’m not sure where this trend came from but it’s really starting to get old.The multiplayer game is the closest thing to a saving grace for the game due its innovative Fragile Alliance mode. It is here where you play with other online players as robbers who have to grab as much loot as possible in the subject heist. The twist comes in the form of a player turning traitor by killing a teammate and jacking their take of the heist. If you die by either a cop or a traitor, you become a cop and have to take out the robbers. The cool part is that you’re rewarded nicely if you take out the traitor who killed you. This is a neat multiplayer mode but does tend to get a bit repetitive since there are only 4 maps to play. The other problem is the fact this is the only online game mode available. It would be nice to see more maps and gameplay modes (straight-up cops vs. robbers would a natural fit) but right now, things are pretty sparse. There is also a co-op mode (vertical split-screen) that is restricted to local play only. Full screen online co-op is really needed to make this complete.Kane & Lynch: Dean Men taps a good idea by taking a duo of bad boys and dropping them into cool environments for some spirited gun battles. Unfortunately, the other half of the equation is missing since the aiming mechanism is broken and your teammates’ AI is pretty much brain-dead. Like petty criminals, Kane & Lynch ultimately come across as rank amateurs in a world of slick-playing shooter games.
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.