Kane and Lynch: Dead Men

Written by Joe Martin

November 24, 2007 | 08:10

Tags: #blood-money #dead-men #gta #heist #hitman #kane #lynch #morten #review #robbery #third-person

Companies: #eidos #io-interactive


The graphics in Kane and Lynch aren’t exactly what you’d call next-gen, that much is obvious. On the other hand, these pictures don’t really do them justice either. Still, the game does feel very clunky to play at times and there was more than one occasion where bad graphics were the death of me.

There’s one section, for example, where Kane and Lynch have to kidnap a woman very early in the game. They slip into her nightclub, bypass the guards and confront the woman. One beating later and Lynch is carrying her over his shoulder while Kane provides covering fire and deals with the security. The scene plays very similarly to the nightclub shootout in Collateral and is pretty well put together.

Unfortunately, in order to make an escape Kane and Lynch have to exit via the roof and at one point they have a firefight near some skylights. When the guards are dispatched, Kane has to lead Lynch over the skylights to reach the fire exit and end the level. Simple.

Except it isn’t. The graphics don’t fully show reflections very well unless you look at them from an angle, which makes navigation a bit of a problem. I died three times in a row before I figured this out and was able to slowly make my way across the glass pathway. Each time I fell I had to wait a while for the game to realise that there was no way Lynch was going to revive me.

Kane and Lynch: Dead Men Graphics, Conclusion
Click to enlarge

However, that said, there are points where the graphics look quite good. Never exceptional, but good nonetheless. The character textures are pretty good most of the time, even though the animation can be off occasionally in the cutscenes so that a hand clips straight through a cigarette.

Above and beyond anything else though, Kane and Lynch has to be praised for the overall aesthetic, design and theme of the game. These characters are old and tired, the story gritty and bleak and the level design matches this by recreating cinematic and pseudo-realistic areas even in the worst parts of the game.

In fact if you combine the blunt and brutal nature of the dialogue, which I again should remind you is pretty full-on, with some of the areas in the game then it’s clear that this is a hugely cinematic game in the vein of Heat, The Usual Suspects and, one of my favourite films, The Way Of The Gun.

The graphics do occasionally let the gameplay down and they never look fantastic, but they provide a solid enough performance and there are some parts of the game which have a hugely impressive number of characters on on-screen at once.


Kane and Lynch is one of those odd games which manages to do so many things right, but so many things wrong too. It’s clear from the offset that the unrelenting pace, complex backstory and coolly violent gameplay will make it an instant cult hit.

Kane and Lynch: Dead Men Graphics, Conclusion
Click to enlarge

However, the less than impressive graphics, awkward multiplayer and samey nature of the gameplay at the most basic level will equally just put some people off.

If I were a psychic forced to predict the future of Kane and Lynch, I’d say it’ll probably end up as one of those word-of-mouth games which is constantly recommended by fans and critics. Somehow though it will never really take off – like Psychonauts or Beyond Good and Evil, both of which I heartily and ironically recommend.

It’s not that Kane and Lynch is a bad game. Quite the opposite. Kane and Lynch promises an exciting ride filled with vendettas, vices and vengeance. Unfortunately, that isn’t a dish that everyone has a taste for and those that are after something more basic and hi-res would be better off looking elsewhere.

A good game on the whole, but one filled with minor flaws and issues, Kane and Lynch has the potential to spawn a second, even more adult and underground franchise for Eidos and IO. For the moment though, what we’re left with is a well-told tale which does its best to stand out but can never quite manage to rise above the crowd of other higher-def shooters available this year. Worth picking up, but probably worth selling on again a few weeks later too.

Kane and Lynch: Dead Men Graphics, Conclusion

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