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Kane & Lynch - multiplayer hands-on

Oct 8, 2007

The more we learn about Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, the more impressed we become. At first blush, the game doesn't seem all that different from a run-of-the-mill, crime-themed third-person shooter, but everything - from the action and cinematic presentation to the story and characters - has been handled with utmost care. With that in mind, it's hardly surprising that Kane & Lynch features some of the most inventive multiplayer modes this side of Halo 3.

We've already covered a lot of the basics of Kane & Lynch's single-player action in our earlier previews, but this is the first time we've been able to tell you about its multiplayer modes, each of which brings something completely unique to the table.

First, there's co-op, which is limited to two-player, split-screen action. Kane & Lynch's co-op is similar to Gears of War's, in that you won't always stick close to your partner to watch his back. Frequently, the story will call for hardened mercenary Kane and medicated psychotic Lynch to split up and accomplish different objectives, with each one at least partially dependent on the other. So instead of being constantly embroiled in action, playing through the game's co-op mode has an ebb and flow to it; when things are relatively calm for one player, they'll often be white-hot for the other.

For example, the game's third level calls for Kane and Lynch to perform a three-man heist at a big, well-secured bank - no easy task, even for a pair of inhumanly tough, balls-out crazy videogame sociopaths. Kane, Lynch and a hired safecracker move as a team at first, but soon split up for a few seconds - there are a couple of guards at the bank's rear entrance that Kane needs to silently subdue, or else they'll raise the alarm and the bank will go into lockdown.

This was our introduction to the game's "crew command" mechanic, brought over from developer Io Interactive's earlier Freedom Fighters game. Ordering around the safecracker or any other hired goons (including Lynch, if you're playing by yourself), is simple - just pick which henchman you want to order around and tell him to move to wherever you're looking, attack whatever character you're looking at or follow you, in which case he'll attack on his own. By default, Kane gives the orders, but it's possible to hand control over to Lynch - not that there's any reason to here, as Kane needs the safecracker at his side when he splits up with Lynch again.

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