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Thursday, November 27, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 20.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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Kane & Lynch 2 is gritty and creative but short
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (Rated Mature)

Lynch wakes up in an alley drenched by rain. He was sliced, neck to feet, then knocked out and left for dead, nude and bleeding on filthy pavement.

But he wakes up, and his first thought is: I gotta save Kane. He finds his buddy in a nearby building, also naked and sliced. Lynch saves him from death by twisting a bad guy's neck. Then together, they go looking for clothes and guns in the drizzly streets of Shanghai, in between glittery neon storefronts and boxy white cars.

Do not pity these antiheroes of Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days. Kane and Lynch are murderous thugs. Their drug deal went awry. A well-connected victim got shot. Now Kane and Lynch are on the run from justice - so they kill cops, mobsters and passersby who get in their way, in restaurant kitchens, airport hangars and shopping malls.

You play most of this sequel as Lynch, a beefy bald-on-top guy. Dog Days is a pretty good shooter. I definitely dig its thrust, as it's presented with a real story (of two scumbags), gritty dialogue (although I can't hear it sometimes) and a memorable cinematography and editing style (a TV procedural type of mise-en-scene).

That is, the camera angle is quite shaky. Imagine if you actually ran through the streets of Shanghai with a documentary cameraman running behind you. This game gives us that camera's point-of-view.

This is a good "cover" shooting game. You're constantly hiding behind cover (walls and refrigerators and such) while shooting at baddies.

That leads me to two complaints: a) The guns aren't greatly effective, so you might shoot someone three times in the head without killing them; and b) these bad guys are loyal morons, because even while bullets are entering their bodies, they insist on sprinting toward you. Maybe the reason is that they're angry. And it's understandable, since you shot them three or four times in the face already. Are they dead? No. They're incensed!

Most of us fans of shooting games can overlook such a flaw, since it's not uncommon in shooters. The real concern here is Dog Days is a short offline adventure. I finished in six hours or so.

You can get bonus replay value out of the online multiplayer and cooperative modes. But I don't love the competitive multiplayer. You portray cops and robbers in heist situations. In one mode, if you get shot as a robber while trying to grab loot, you get reborn as a cop. What?

As for those of you who don't want to see full-frontal men, know that when Kane and Lynch are nude during that bloody scene I described, the screen pixelates their privates. Not that Kane and Lynch mind their own on-screen nudity. They're too busy killing cops to care.

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