The first game, Dead Men, wasn’t a very good game. As a shooter it was clunky and near broken, and while there were some interesting ideas in the multiplayer, namely the Fragile Alliance mode, there was little reason to check out the game. So why does Dog Days even exist? Because the first game sold well, but is this game worth your time?
The most noticeable thing is how it looks, because the art style is fantastic. In the end, the gritty shaky cam look to the game almost makes this worth checking out because it fits perfectly with the rough style of the game. If you’re the type of gamer who likes a powerful attention to detail in your games than it might very well be a good enough reason to give this game a try. But before you decide to rent it, keep reading.
Yes, the art style is great but there are a few glaring issues with this game. First off, the campaign takes roughly 4-5 hours to complete, which for a $60 game is ridiculous. The only excuse for such a thin campaign would be if the developer was obviously focusing on something else, like the multiplayer.
Well, I wish that were the case, but the online offering hasn’t been expanded or improved much over the first game and there’s only a paltry six maps to choose from. There’s the very fun ‘Fragile Alliance’ mode from Dead Men, and the addition of only two more modes that are essentially variations of that mode. It’s unfortunate the multiplayer didn’t see much attention, especially since it’s obvious very little time or creativity was invested into the campaign and its story.
Speaking of the plot, which isn’t terribly memorable, by the end of the campaign I realized something: I didn’t care at all about the character I was controlling, because he’s a total prick. His personality was decided in Dead Men so it was obviously done on purpose, but it’s impossible to care at all about the characters or to an extent even the game I’m playing when every character in the game has been expressly designed to be completely unlikable.
But a lot of games have weak and even nonexistent plots, so let’s move on to arguably the most important feature in the game: the gunplay. Dead Men had some terribly awkward and clunky controls and they’ve definitely seen a bit of a redesign in this game. However, shooting enemies still feels unsatisfying because the accuracy of almost every weapon is just awful, none of the weapons feel powerful, and the shotgun ends up being the best choice for even distant encounters. For a game that tries so hard to be realistic, even to its detriment, I don’t understand why the enemies take so many bullets before going down when you can be incapacitated (on normal difficulty) in a single shot.
When it comes to gameplay it’s not all bad; the environments are filled with destructible pillars, boxes, and the like to add a bit of strategy to the firefights, and strewn about several of the areas are environmental hazards like fire extinguishers that can be thrown and shot to cause widespread damage. The cover mechanic is also a welcome feature (it was also in the original game) because you take so much damage you’ll be needing to take cover often. If you fail to take cover in time you’ll get incapacitated, where you’ll then have the chance to crawl to a safe point to get back up, or shoot the enemies from the floor.
There are some interesting things in this game, it’s just unfortunate that we’ve seen a majority of what this game has to offer done much better in other titles. It’s strange that such a good looking title would be so awkward to control but the characters feel heavy and tank-like, the camera gets in the way more often than it should in a third person perspective, and like I said before, the gunplay is average at best. That last issue brings down the experience tremendously because this is a shooter; throughout each of the game’s chapters you’ll be moving from one generic set piece to another, fighting waves of enemies that get in your way, before moving on to the next bland location.
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is an interesting beast because it really shouldn’t exist. Outside of a unique art style it brings nothing new to the genre and does little to improve over the original game, which I might add, was far from a good game. The only reason we’re seeing a sequel is because the first game sold well enough to warrant one, but should that really be a good enough reason to continue a series? In the case of Kane & Lynch, let’s kill off this franchise before it wastes any more of our money, or more importantly, our time.