Hands on with Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days

Like many videogames Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days is in love with the movies. There are nods to action classics such as Collateral, but Denmark-based developers IO Interactive are as intrigued by the people behind the camera as the stars in front of it. Inspired by the erratic camera work and often shocking nature of internet clips this shooter sequel plays out like a YouTube video nasty. They’re calling it a ‘docu-shooter’, and it’s easy to see why.

In the newly revealed second stage, for instance, we find the quirky duo talking business in a car travelling across a busy Shanghai highway. Lynch is driving, his gangland boss is talking cheap hookers, and Kane is probably wondering what he has gotten himself into. A sudden shunt from an aggressive motorist and a volley of gunfire provides the answer – it’s deep do do.

What follows is a breathlessly energetic level that has the mismatched pair fighting their way through swathes of locals from both sides of the law. It’s a scene that aptly demonstrates the game’s improved mechanics but better illustrates its unique presentation style.

As gunfire thumps and rattles, the display (deliberately) struggles to cope. Fast action and heavy impacts leave a smear of pixilation in their wake; the microphone cuts out and squeals with distortion. It’s incredibly raw and real – and leaves you feeling uncomfortably close to the action. Similarly, the erratic camera movements really leave you feeling like you’re right there. The inexpert framing as it matches your every movement gives the action a sense of intensity and unpredictability that the finicky direction of other shooters can lack.

Playing through the previously revealed fourth stage, and things are even more intense. The stage begins as Kane and Lynch are attacked in a restaurant by unknown assailants. Tables flip over and great gobs of scenery pepper the air as gunfire literally chews up the scenery. We begin crouched behind a counter as the enemy floods in. Minutes seem to pass before we can bear to raise Lynch’s shaggy head above the makeshift parapet.