Kane & Lynch: Dead Men was only ever remembered for one thing, the firing of Gamespot’s Jeff Gerstmann.
On the whole, we tend to dismiss bad games into oblivion. Their only service is to serve as some sort of punch line, or to feature on a Top 10 list. But, if we are really honest, not every bad game is purely devoid of good ideas.
His review for the game saw him pushed out from his job, exposing a whole world of dirty deed in the industry. When ever people bring the game up, it’s normally in relation to corruption in the game’s media.
Dated On Delivery
With dated mechanics, unlikeable characters and a short single player campaign, Kane & Lynch was a dud. Released in 2007, Kane & Lynch’s cover shooting ways were as clunky as the visuals. It was hard to sit back and extract anything worthy of note from the game.
Even the story was a weakly stringed together mess. To put things into context, Kane & Lynch was released after Gears of War, resulting in the game’s gameplay feeling outdated on arrival.
Credit where it’s due, the multiplayer featured a truly fascinating concept. Fragile Alliance, the multiplayer offering of the game, was a fresh idea before its time. Players would team up to pull off a number of heists. The goal was simple, get as much money as you could carry and escape. This basic outline was delightfully twisted by the fact that players could turn on each other.
Friend or Foe
Suddenly the AI controlled security and police officers aren’t the only threat. The guy who just helped you get into the vault could also by your enemy. Paranoia starts to bleed into the mindset, forcing to rethink their every move. Carrying too much money became a risk, how much is too much? How little money makes others think I’m going to kill them?
No one was safe, no one could be trusted.
It’s a concept that adds a whole new level to the gameplay. Not knowing if your team mates were planning to betray you was exciting. Each play session was given an immense sense of variation, even if the game itself was pretty linear. Paranoia is the key element to why the multiplayer was so engaging.
Safety in numbers, which is often what most multiplayer adheres to, was not applicable here. The more people you worked alongside, the higher the odds one would turn on you.
Better The Devil You Know
From the opposite side of the coin, planning on who to betray was a thrill. Pushing into the bank vault with a comrade, assisting them in firefights, helping them pick up bags of cash. It all had a charm to it when you finally unloaded a clip into their back. Betraying your team was all about risk and reward. As soon as you attacked another player, everyone would be alerted to it.
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men had its moments, but was ultimately a failure. It’s a shame that multiplayer’s concepts were hidden under such an underwhelming game. In fairness, Fragile Alliance was built upon in the 2010 sequel Dog Days. New modes such as Under Cover Cop allowed the concept to grow into something more deeper. Much like the first game, Dog Days was also a bust overall.
Betraying The Future
Looking back, there’s a few recent games that have picked up where Fragile Alliance left off. The most notable would be The Division. It’s all there, the idea of players working together, only to betray each other with a view to stealing their loot.
It may be mostly remembered for video game media corruption, but Deadly Alliance was Kane & Lynch’s great concept. Good idea, shame about the game.