As if that wasn't bad enough, there's an entire cutscene, one of the longest in the game, that's acted out by Kane & Lynch naked and still covered with open wounds. At least the designers had the foresight to cover all nudity or graphic violence with big pixels, so I didn't have to see everything, but still the wisdom of writing that sequence is questionable.
If you are going to have a sequence where your two main characters are running naked through the rain, you really have to pull it off. K&L2 did not. Seriously, I wish that I could unsee what I have seen. I'd laugh, if I didn't feel crying.
And even though Lynch later points out the absurdity of the situation by saying, "We're two blood covered white guys in China," I have to wonder if the people who made Kane & Lynch 2 got the joke.
There were technical issues as well. I played the PC version available on Steam and it crashed to desktop more than a few times. And I'm not sure if it's a feature or a bug that the graphics turned all pixeley when there were a lot of shots fired. It's nothing that a few patches or an updated graphics card driver can't fix but these issues didn't make me like K&L2 any more.
The multiplayer options are interesting this time around, with several modes added to the somewhat popular Fragile Alliance from the first game. Cops & Robbers plays out just like it sounds, but I thought Undercover Cop was fun, especially when you play as the one good guy in the middle of a heist. Matchmaking was easy, but again, there were some issues with the Steam integration. Some modes just didn't load and I played a few matches before I realized that all of the other "players" were just bots. Knowing that made my dastardly backstabbing attack on "Tom42" way less satisfying.
K&L2 is a good shooter. It breaks the mold of WWII and other military-based titles by offering players the chance to outthink opponents and the distinct shaky-cam style was well-done and refreshing. Beyond the technical issues, the very bleakness of K&L2 is its biggest failing. I don't want to be Lynch, clawing for survival with nerves frayed so close to breaking, and, if I do, I want there to be something redeeming about the experience. The lack of a "happy ending" isn't what bothered me, it's just that there is almost no reason for the story to be told at all. There is no big realization or growth for the characters, nothing really special about the gameplay, and, therefore, nothing really special about Kane & Lynch 2.
Bottom Line: Kane & Lynch 2 is a decent game, with some fun cover mechanics and tactical complexity, but the visual realism kind of shoots itself in the foot with unrealistic situations and tedious level design.
Recommendation: Buy K&L2 if you want to play in a gritty crime setting, love cover shooters, or can get traction from the many multiplayer modes. If not, rent it just to see some naked man ass.
This review was based on the PC version of the game.
Greg Tito loves Pulp Fiction but doesn't really want to play a game as the Gimp.