Kane & Lynch & Enough of the Bullshit

Russ Pitts | 3 Dec 2007 21:00
Op-Ed - RSS 2.0

Kane & Lynch has last-generation graphics, miserable gameplay mechanics, dunderheaded writing and a voice cast that sounds like it's trying harder to sound like Bruce Willis than acting. Playing Kane & Lynch is like playing Hitman without having to be sneaky, which sounds like a good thing but isn't. Hitman doesn't promote stealth play so much as it demands it. Try playing the game with a run-and-gun approach, and see what happens; the game just isn't fun. There are a hundred games that do that sort of thing better, and most of them look prettier doing it, which is exactly how any decent review of Kane & Lynch should read, so we'll leave off there.

Kane & Lynch isn't a bad game, but it's not really all that good either. And it's certainly not the kind of game you should be playing this holiday season, when there are so many games out that actually are good. Save Kane & Lynch for sometime in March when you're burned out on games that thrill you and need to play something to remind you why those games are actually worth playing in the first place. It's essentially a movie tie-in in reverse. Loveless, uninspired and ugly games are usually created after the movie they're tied to breaks box office records, but somebody at Eidos obviously thought it'd be a good idea to subvert that process. If only their subversions had stopped there.

We've been following the firing of Jeff Gerstmann from Gamespot pretty closely, and we hope to have more detailed information on that story very soon. But here's how it looks right now: Eidos bought hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ad space at Gamespot, to promote Kane & Lynch. Gerstmann then gave Kane & Lynch a pretty negative review, scoring it a 6 out of 10. He also had a lot of bad things to say about the game on his video review, which I understand is now hard to find at Gamespot. Gerstmann was then fired.

The burning questions are: 1) Did Gamespot's deal with Eidos include an expectation of editorial coverage, or of a certain kind of editorial coverage, and 2) Was Gerstmann fired specifically for his negative review. If the answer to either of these questions is "yes," we're all screwed. We kind of already are screwed merely because even if the deal didn't go down this way, it's so plausible that it did.

Game journalists spend a great deal of time feeling inferior to actual journalists, and so often do silly things like engage in long debates over what is or isn't journalism, and who's going to be gaming's Lester Bangs, as if anyone at home really gives a shit. But this insecurity is important in how it manifests in the field of game reviewing. Reviews are where the rubber meets the road in terms of earning money to write about games.

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