Columns & Blogs

Documentary style saves "Kane & Lynch" sequel from being waste of time

When I first heard a film version of Eidos’ “Kane & Lynch: Dead Men” was in production, I wondered, why?

The 2007 game wasn’t one that screamed film adaptation. The story brought together two death row inmates who escape prison and must work together to save Kane’s kidnapped daughter. The game is essentially one long shootout, and it just didn’t have the balance or depth that you’d expect from a game that would eventually become a movie. I also don’t believe the game sold exceptionally well.

The film is reportedly in pre-production and set to star Bruce Willis as Kane and Jamie Foxx as Lynch — in the game, Lynch is a white, mullet-wearing psychotic criminal.

With a movie in the works, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that developers were creating a sequel to the game. What better way to keep the buzz going for a movie than by keeping the title fresh in gamers’ minds?

Eidos and Square Enix released “Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days” on Aug. 17 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows.

Like the first game, “Kane & Lynch 2” doesn’t deliver a ground-breaking storyline. The gameplay is pretty standard for a third-person shooter, although the actual shooting is far from quality. The targeting isn’t effective and neither are many of the bullets you’ll fire.

The game, however, does have a redeeming quality.

The developers used a documentary style throughout the game’s story mode. The camera follows along as if the game is an episode of “Cops.”

I can’t remember another game using a similar vantage point throughout the game. “Gears of War” used a shaky camera when the player sprinted. That same idea is used here too, but the developers also went for the documentary style during the cut scenes. That is where the storytelling device is most effective, giving the game a gritty feel.

The camera angle also provides a frenetic pacing to the game. I always felt like the action was in constant motion. At times, the shaky camera was a bit much, a la “Cloverfield,” and particularly when Lynch — the person the player controls for much of the story mode — is running.

Perhaps the designers felt like a documentary style would get gamers thinking about the movie adaptation.

The game takes place in Shanghai, and much like the original spends most of its time sending Kane and Lynch into a room or area with a ton of bad guys. You grab cover and shoot for most of the game.

I wouldn’t recommend buying the full game just to check out the neat visual style and camera work, but it’s probably worth a rent.