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Kane and Lynch: Hands On

25 July 2007

We’re all psychopaths. At least in Kane and Lynch: Dead Men for the PlayStation 3. In Kane and Lynch, an unlikely pair of a blemished mercenary, Kane, and a medicated schizophrenic, Lynch, is forced together on a violent and chaotic path seeking redemption and revenge. The story of Kane and Lynch is clearly a very important beginning to a new long term franchise, and IO realizes that the storyline they have in the palm of their hands is genius. Kane is the main character that you'll take the role of when you play the single player game. Ever since his son shot himself, Kane has mentally been in ruins. His life falls apart most noticeably after he receives a severe reprimand by his wife, who blames him for the whole incident. Kane becomes a mercenary and while in South America with a group called “The 7”, things go wrong after a secret ambush and everyone dies but him. He escapes with a fortune in diamonds, but Lady Justice doesn’t let him sleep for long as he is soon sentenced to death. Lynch's life wasn’t what you could have considered normal, unlike Kane. He’s held many jobs, all of which he lost due to severe schizophrenia that requires extensive medication. One day he wakes up after a blackout and finds his wife dead. He isn't even sure he did it, but that doesn't stop a jury from sentencing him to death otherwise.

The two unlikely partners meet one day at a perfect place. On a bus to death row that ends up never reaching its destination. Kane is beaten and eventually kidnapped by The 7, the same group who stop the bus. Lynch is surprisingly hired on by the mercenaries to watch Kane and make sure he gets their fortune back. Luckily for Kane, he won’t die due to a group who became suspicious about his newly acclaimed fortune. A schizophrenic doesn’t exactly seem like the kind of a person you’d be friends with, but Kane has no reason than to comply because in addition to his mission, his wife and daughter are kidnapped, barely hanging on. We here at PSU were shown two levels. One comprised of a night club, and another one of a major bank heist.

 

There’s one key thing you notice in the PlayStation 3 version that’s specifically different from the other console’s version when the two enter the night club. The lighting is better, and the textures look more refined. As you surface the area, everyone is dancing to the nice techno beat. The lighting was very dramatic with plenty of cascading light through the front window and truly brought an aesthetic depth to the game. The most apparent thing in Kane and Lynch is that there are a lot more people on screen. Most importantly, they truly act like a crowd. You don’t simply walk and people start panning away from you. You'll have to shove your way through, and have a little feel of not only women, but men while you turn sideways to squeeze into openings. But don’t be too aggressive and run your way in, or people will get pissed. The newest thing that we saw in this level was the interaction of our main criminals and the other criminals (the guards) is that the guards inside are wary of the two gentlemen. If they go in there’s guard near the doors, but it’s all dynamic. If you walk in once, they won’t be in the same place, and they’re always near any possible exit. Finding yourself getting charged at and yelled “YOU TWO!” at, is nothing out of the ordinary. Luckily, you can take him out with your hands or a gun directly, but that will attract too much attention. Or, for a spin, IO Interactive has decided to heavily incorporate the characters of Kane and Lynch to the game. Kane might react more skillfully, with the player choosing how things will be done. Lynch is more of a wildcard. If he sees a guard coming, and he’s pissed as it already is, he’ll crack a person’s neck, shoot them, twist their arm, kick their knee in, or charge them and give them a good beating. When a guard approached us, we took out a gun without anyone noticing, and since it was Kane doing all the action, knocked him out against a wall, and he was left just lying there, unnoticed to the partying crowd.

An amazing addition, with the gameplay and storyline, to the game is there is essence in strategy for missions now. For some, you will want to, not necessarily need to, use Kane’s persona to your advantage. When Kane and Lynch reached the top of a staircase, Kane took out a gun and shot his way in to see a receptionist. Lynch's violent personality took over and he knocked her out when she said they weren’t supposed to be in there. The two continued to argue over whether they should kidnap her for hostage to the company, but eventually Kane won out and Lynch carried her out onto the dance floor for all to see. Then Kane’s dented nature allowed for him to shoot into the crowd, which responded realistically as well. At this point, your objective is to take the secretary out with you safely. That’s it for one level.

 

The second one we were shown was a bank heist. Kane and Lynch both approach in a car, and the objective is simple. Get in, and out with money. The best part about the game that is worth mentioning is that there are no mission screens or briefings like traditional games. IO interactive fully immerses the player in the characters and story, rather than immersing them in gameplay to find out the story. A brilliant feat of accomplishment for IO Interactive in addition to this is that the screen is not befuddled by any HUD during most of the gameplay. They’ve kept the HUD as simple as possible, only displaying statistics of your squad and their condition for a more movie-like approach. Also, there is no notion of a health meter. To indicate that you're near death, the screen will begin to turn red, similar to when you are about to die in Hitman: Blood Money, effectively warning you to take cover immediately and wait for your life to regenerate. If you do die, you'll be given a flashback movie that reveals more of Kane's background, a nifty little addition than staring at your corpse with an instant and idiotic “reload game save” option.

 

Aside from that, a correspondent told us that there will be online co-op for the PlayStation 3 and that it’s in the works, with a mixed connection variety. For example, 2 can play at your house and link to two people online. Or two people can play at your house and with 1 person online and have the other squad member as an NPC, and then continue onto specific mission sets if more than 2 people—whether custom or single player missions with squad is unknown for more than 2 people. But with 2 people, there is a full online co op single player campaign mode in the works.

As we continue in the bank, the whole squad disperses and takes the entire guards hostage. Lynch yells “No body f---ing move or I’ll blow your heads off!” with Kane appropriately responding “If he doesn’t do it, I sure as hell will,” but suddenly a flash of a kid with a gun in his mouth happens and Kane responds to it accordingly. Lynch tells him to snap out of it and the game is on. Even though we alerted the people to remain still, someone set off the alarm. That’s right. The police now arrive, and it’s a big “f---ing mess” according to a paranoid squad member. Early on in the game, you are marked as a known mercenary with a reputation for leaving your team behind. That means you'll only be able to recruit some desperate and repressively angry people. Some might refuse to even give you their gun or might not follow your order fully and ask if you’re “trying to f--- up.” As you move through the game, you'll be able to recruit more professional help and hopefully things will look brighter in a darker world in the minds of our two criminals.


We appointed 2 people to do defense on the front door, as the police was giving out warnings. Afterwards, we shoot everything around us to scare up the joint. Then we grab a guard and ask him to take us to the vault. The main mission is primarily easy inside the bank, but the police lay it down full force if you shoot someone or anything like that once you’re out. You can choose to come out storming at the moment, or peacefully and then making a dash for it while shooting. The force is huge, but nothing these two guys can’t handle. After all that is done, the mission is complete.

 

 

IO Interactive is looking to make this game one that you'll be playing for a long time. Each level of the single player game is designed to bring out the criminal in you, but also to integrate your own personality to the minds of the criminals. PSU can’t wait further to deliver a full in-depth review on this title.


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