Kane and Lynch - Xbox 360 review

From the developers of the wonderful Hitman series, Io Interactive, comes this crime-based action thriller. Dispensing the stealthy sneak ‘em up that they’re normally used to working on, Kane & Lynch is pure action all the way.

Unlike most action based romps however, Kane & Lynch packs a detailed story. It might not be Tolstoy, but this tale of a heist gone wrong certainly makes for a more appealing game subject than the story of a sneaker clad hedgehog. In theory anyway.

But with simple shooters ten a penny at the moment, it’ll take a lot to place this on top of the blood dripping tree.

There’s something a little Gears of War in the way Kane & Lynch plays. It’s all about ducking behind cover, and popping out to blast at a few enemy heads before getting back to safety.

Sad to say then that Gears of War fans should avoid this one. It might share more than a handful of gaming styles, particularly with the cover system, but the quality never manages to hit the dizzy heights that Microsoft’s sublime shooter aimed for.

Kane & Lynch is blatantly geared towards action, but there’s a few extra elements tossed in for good measure. When you get hit, you don’t simply die. Instead one of your team mates wanders over to give you a shot of adrenalin and get you back on your feet.

You’ve got to cover their arses too. If they hit the deck, you’d better get them revived pretty sharpish otherwise it’s firmly game over. Sounds quite exciting in theory, and it no doubt worked well in many other actioners, but lots of elements conspire against allowing Kane & Lynch being something special to play.

Firstly comes the sheer idiocy of your team mates. As hardcore criminals, you’d at least expect a little intelligence and awareness when it comes to keeping their health intact. Instead, they’ll wander out of cover and get picked off with absolute ease, forcing you to risk life and limb reviving them yet again.

Next is the ridiculous lack of aiming accuracy your protagonists show off. Firing from the hip isn’t worth the worry, but even aiming down your sights see’s bullets flying around everywhere apart from the enemy you want to target. Certainly no fun when your team's tied down to a single spot and you want to get away before you start losing some lives.

Verdict

The story too is about as enthralling as the latest Katie Price novel too. It’s your typical action based fare, with a few twists and turns along the way. But the problem is, these aren’t the kind of "cool" bad guys you cheer for. Instead you’ll find yourself not giving a stuff about the tale being spinned, and clicking past every single cutscene.

It never manages to even come close to replicating Gears of War’s gorgeous looks. Though there are a variety of settings, they’re all drab, colourless, and lacking in any real detail. Plus your own characters, and your enemies, move with an obscene lack of grace. They might look fairly detailed, but they move like a game developed a decade ago.

The incredible levels of swearing don’t encourage you to stick around until the end either. It might have been intended to be "gritty" but the constant shouts of abuse just turn you off incredibly quickly, and you long for a character you has a vocabulary of more than a few dozen words.

So if it’s action you want, you can do a hell of a lot better – and cheaper - than Kane & Lynch.