The air’s thick with smoke, bullets and bad words. Kane (scar) and Lynch (baldy mullet) are going about their business like a machine, one unloading covering fire while the other cuts around potted plants and office furniture, shooting security staff in the back. Over the gunfire, screams and shattering glass, they shout encouragement to each other. It’s classic buddy-movie stuff… with one important difference. “What the f*** are you doing? You f***** psycho!” shouts Kane, as Lynch fires indiscriminately across the office staff. “Keeping an eye on you…” Lynch shouts back. Then, inexplicably, he clutches his head and starts to whimper. This certainly isn’t Bad Boys II.
Though it’s a sort of spiritual successor to Hitman - you might have even noticed 47 lurking in that cover shot - Kane & Lynch really couldn’t be any more different from Io’s classic assassination series. For a start, stealth’s absolutely minimal - one early scene sees you give up your weapons on entry to a Tokyo nightclub, but literally 20 seconds later you’re clubbing a guard to the ground and wiping out the rest of the security contingent in a hail of bullets. Planning’s less important, too - say goodbye to lurking in corners and hello to run-and-gun tactics in enormous environments. But the most important change is the most obvious: where 47 works alone, Kane and Lynch work as a team. Just about.
Playing through the solo version of K&L, you’ll play as Kane, the more balanced - but still completely ruthless - “leader” of the pair. It’s an uneasy alliance - though you’re effectively babysitting the bearded nutcase, he’s keeping an eye on you for your paymasters… and he’s prone to losing the plot at any moment. If he’s put under too much pressure - because you’ve ordered him into a bad spot, say - he’ll start to sway and hum. Then, if left unchecked, he’ll have one of his “episodes” and go berserk, depriving you of backup and possibly getting himself shot. Later in the game, Io tells us, he’ll run out of medication and start to really spiral out of control. In certain scenes you’ll be tasked with looking after him, but these are few and far between - you’ll always have the option to let a friend drop in and take the part of the maniac, so providing shotgun cover in split-screen mode.