Sweaty, sweary anti-heroes Kane and Lynch are back to terrorise poor old Shanghai, presumably still recovering from the beating it took from EA's Army of Two: The 40th Day, just one of many similarities these two games share. Location? Check. Obnoxious, unlikeable protaganists? Check. A non-event plot? Check... Both dumb, then, but at least Rios and Salem are fun...
Lynch calls in Kane for a seemingly simple job, except something goes wrong and blah blah blah. The plot is perfunctory to GETTING SHOT AT A LOT AND SWEARING, two things this game does well. Each stage essentially involves you slowly moving through a location, using the old take cover/shoot from cover/advance method until you reach the anti-climactic end. And thats it. One brief section involves you firing from a helicopter, but there is almost no variation to the mission structure. Taking cover is also a pain, since Lynch seems to be allergic to certain surfaces, leaving you open to being shot at. Basically, the story mode is an unforgiving, uninspiring slog.
Lynch often feels so lightweight that you fear a gentle breeze will knock him to the floor. The weapons in a game like this should be one of its selling points; however, the majority of the guns at your disposal lack bite, with you resorting to grabbing whatever happens to be lying around in the vain hope it might do more than tickle the endless waves of goons sent your way.
K&L2's strongest point is its genuinely unique style. Presented in grainy, YouTube style shaky cam, it gives the game an element of immersion that you would normally expect the story to provide. The effect is one of a budget documentary crew following Lynch around, with the low quality camera suffering under intense shootouts, and one nice touch has particularly gruesome/explicit moments pixellated out. Shaky cam can be switched off, which proves something of a relief after after a while. Sound in the game is purely diegetic, with the only music coming from radios, store muzak and the like, and the sounds of a city punctured by gunfire. Voice acting is generally decent and consistent, though not up to the standard of games like Uncharted 2. HOWEVER, I couldn't help shake the feeling that the bells and whistles of the camera style both inadvertently obscured the (impressively) detailed city, yet acted as a shield against the weakness of the gameplay.
Multiplayer/Arcade Mode: 3/5
Dog Days features an online mode in which you can take part in heists as part of an eight man team, the twist being that friendly fire is on and you can betray/be betrayed at any time. Fragile Alliance is a seemingly straightforward heist, where working together should, theoretically, prove to be the most successful method; Undercover Cop pits one of you team mates as an, erm, undercover cop, tasked with bringing the team down from the inside; and Cops and Robbers divides the online players in to two teams, in a mad scramble for the bags of loot. The added tension of betrayal and mistrust makes K&L2's online mode an intriguing affair, and I would have marked it higher were it not for the fact that discrepancies between average players and skillful players often leave you helpless and, well, dead, since your pea shooter always seems more feeble than everyone elses; it also suffers from severe lag at times, and finding a full game room isn't always possible. It offers the usual XP/levelling up you would expect in post-Call of Duty online multiplayer, but its hard to see it offering the longevity of that series, or the popularity.
Arcade mode features the fragile alliance heists in a single player format with AI teammates, with each heist featuring ten rounds and escalating difficulty, with the added bonus of online leaderboards for those inclined to compete with strangers for kudos. Its enjoyable enough, though the looped dialogue and limited variation grates after a while.
Occasionally decent, and packing some very smart ideas, particularly online. However, its numerous flaws are unforgivable, dampening any enjoyment to be gleamed from the game.