The death-dealing duo return
While this follow-up to 2007s Kane & Lynch: Dead Men is a marked improvement on its flawed predecessor, what Dog Days gives with one hand it cruelly snatches away with the other.
In terms of presentation the game is stunning. Skipping slick visuals for a disconcerting handheld camera, Dog Days has more in common with a dodgy YouTube video than a traditional videogame, with your view often tainted by lens flare, shaky camerawork and other visual quirks that make the action look scarily realistic, and deeply disturbing when compared to other first-person blasters. But while this visual style was a brave move for the developers and sets Dog Days apart from the competition, the natty camera effects often make it hard to play the game and pick-out targets, adding a layer of frustration if you just want to get down to the nitty-gritty of mass slaughter.
Dog Days also works hard to streamline the familiar Kane & Lynch experience, removing the fiddly heists and fussy stealth sequences that hampered the first game in favour of balls-out blasting that keeps the story moving at a clip, and keeps you hanging for just one more shootout. Yet while the game is unquestionably more fun this time around, the relentless gung-ho gunplay becomes repetitive as the game approaches its explosive conclusion . The fact that the single-player game lasts little more than four hours makes this a wasted opportunity to reboot this disappointing series.
Most frustrating of all, however, is the multiplayer mode. While Dog Days addresses the major failing of the first game and includes a co-operative mode, the experience is blighted by juddery lag when playing online thats harder to deal with than the dizzying visual effects, and often undermines the frantic firefights during tensest moments. And while the multiplayer mode and game controls are more accomplished than in the original game, a paltry selection of battle arenas means the head-to-head experience has a limited lifespan, and will leave players yearning for the promised downloadable battlegrounds from the get-go.
While Dog Days aims to carve its own niche in a crowded marketplace, a clutch of unfortunate flaws mean it emerges as little more than a bog-standard blaster. And while the developers should be applauded for experimenting with a tried-and-tested formula, this is another poor showing for such a promising series.