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SHANGHAI DAYS

24 July 2010

Man, I am loving the current arc of Captain August. So much succulent exposition, sudden reappearances and unexpected twists! But what I also like is... shooting Chinese in the face. In Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, which is to say, its all-too-short demo.

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men was probably the worst game I ever loved. The targeting was sloppy, the cover system broken, the shooting haphazard, the mission objectives unclear and the difficulty spikes extremely spikey. But it also had two of the most amazingly captivating characters I had seen in a long time. Rough, desperate Kane and ailing, psychopathic Lynch. Dead men. For the first half of their game they were beat-up bank heisters, breaking into luxury offices and preparing daring kidnappings, all dressed in sweet tuxedos and classy nose patches. The second half of the game devolved into a horrible squad-based guerrilla warzone game which I plowed through with gritted teeth because I wanted to see where these guys were heading. Sure, the ending wasn’t particularly satisfying. But damn, if ever there was promise buried under a pile of bad gameplay!

So naturally I’m psyched for part 2. Lynch has moved to Shanghai and still dresses fashionable in off-white, chicken-stained wifebeaters. The controls felt tighter and much better already, but there was still this lovely sense of chaos due to the urban shootouts being presented in lurid B-film fashion. Complete with blurry shaky-cam footage, crude censorship of nude and violence, video artifacts messing the image up as if the whole thing was shot on a cheap digicam. So bold, so awesome! Out of left field, Kane & Lynch 2 brings one of the most breathtaking visual aesthetics ironically by roughing up the visuals instead of polishing them.

I don’t know anything about the story yet. I only hope beyond hope that they’ll stick to the stylish (well, grimy, really) urban setting instead of letting the characters go Ché Guevara again. But that I’m going to play and love this no matter what it turns out as stands beyond question.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there are some innocent Chinese bystanders that need to be shot in the face. Blame the medication.

Roderick