x360a Special - Kane & Lynch - Single Player Hands On

Geoff White

Welcome to the x360a's look at the single player side of Kane & Lynch. While we were at the special European preview for K&L, I got the chance to go through a couple of levels of co-op and single player with help and advice from the Eidos team, including programmer Morten Heiburg – is there anyone better to go through some of the features?! Anyway, the best place to start is with some background on the main characters.

Kane is a man in a bad place. He had left his gun loaded at home which his 5 year old son found, and decided to decorate the living room wall with blood splatter. Unable to live with either himself or the earache from his wife, Kane ran away from home. He ran away down to Venezuela, and set himself up with a Mercenary group called The 7. Due to him being British, and therefore a bad ass, Kane quickly rose through the ranks and was soon a partner in The 7. His new life of crime was going well. So well in fact, that he got to the point where he needed to do just one last job before he could secure his retirement. Now, as you can probably tell, this job didn’t go to well. Kane was the only survivor of the robbery and was captured by the police. Not until after he had escaped with a large amount of loot however.

So Kane was captured, tried and convicted and sentenced to death. Not good. On the prison transport on the way to be executed, he is sat next to another death row inmate, who goes by the name of Lynch. Lynch had led a normal life (the programmers believe he used to be a teacher previously), until he started having a few major mental breakdowns. Turns out that he has a bad case of Schizophrenia, as does the other guy living in his head. To try and keep himself under control, Lynch has a shelf full of medication, which keeps him in the land of the almost sane, yet makes the blackouts worse. Lynch one day came round from one of these blackouts to discover his wife’s dead body, which he’s sure he had nothing to do with. However, he was tried and convicted and sent to death row.

The two nicest murderers….. no wait.

This is where the game begins, with our two favourite murderers sitting on the prison bus on the way to meet the maker. It’s right about this time that we are introduced to The 7. They have discovered that Kane is still alive (temporarily), and that they want the loot that they deem as theirs. So they decide to “rescue” him from death, in order for them to get their money back. And how do you motivate a guy like that? Well, they have already kidnapped his wife and daughter that he left behind. Either way, Kane is a dead man. It’s just whether they take Mrs and Miss Kane along for the ride as well. So, in the last hope of having some decency, Kane decides to go along with the scheme.

Our friendly nut job is employed by The 7 to keep an eye on Kane and to make sure he doesn’t try any funny business. Luckily for us, it turns out he’s quiet a handy shot, which will save your ass on multiple occasions throughout the game. And of course, Lynch can see himself with a large slice of the action as well. After all, the focus of the game is on deceit and betrayal, or the finer points of life as I like to call them (for proof of this, see Webby’s report on the multiplayer!)

So, the game starts with Kane and Lynch being rescued/kidnapped from the prison van by The 7. Whether or not they would have rather stay on that van is debatable. The first level is the breakout, with you shooting your way past the security guards and police in your fetching Orange jumpsuit. It’s a good level in as far as that you easily master the simple control movements. It doesn’t put you in the middle of the hard stuff, but you don’t necessarily want that to start with. There is hard stuff to come, don’t worry!

The main game is designed to be played in one of two ways, either single player or on split screen co-op. There is no on-line co-op, due to time constraints. The team knew they wouldn’t be able to hit the Christmas market with it in the game, so they left it out. Whether this is sensible or not in the long run is debatable, but hopefully we will see it in the sequel. Split screen works well, with both players being able to run in separate Rambo style attacks without experiencing any lag that you may experience online. You’ll be dead quickly if you do as I discovered, but you’ll go with a smile on your face.

Hostages are very helpful
In the single player, you play as Kane, with Lynch being your sidekick. He will happily run after you all day long like a puppy, or you can direct him to clear some pesky enemies out of the way. The system for controlling the other members in the gang works great. Once you have seen an enemy gun-nest or the like, you can hide behind a wall and direct your troops to move in from the side. You don’t need to be physically right in front of the nest getting Lynch to call in the boys, which makes life a bit easier. The AI on your team mates and on the opponents is impressive- they all know what their role is and perform it to the best of their ability- they will save you every now and then. And yes I do keep saying them- large parts of the game are just Kane and Lynch, however throughout the game you will have other gang members helping you on your missions.

Throughout the game you will need to use several features to avoid detection and to stop the enemy from raising the alarm (Hitman anyone?!). The first is the ability to peer round corners. This works really well, and lets you check who is waiting for you round the corner before you run round and take them out. Many a time this will stop you walking into the solitary guard who manages to raise the alarm before you can plug him, meaning that you fail that section and have to start over again. Another feature to aid you in the quiet sections of the game is Close combat. Basically you either stab someone in the neck or snap the neck, either way resulting in them being quiet due to death.

So, now we can go about all nice and quiet, its time to get out some guns. Some big guns. On the levels that I played, the weapon of choice was a shotgun. This did exactly what a shotgun should do, and provided some kick ass power. The shotgun did seem to be quiet accurate from mid-range, which is something that isn’t that accurate, but other than that I thought most weapons were spot on. The M16 was great at long range, highly accurate and powerful. The pistol was great for close encounters where there wasn’t room for the main weapon, and was an all but instant change when you pressed the D pad, which is handy for when its you versus the whole Yakuza in Tokyo. There are also times when you need to use mounted gun positions and missiles to take out Helicopters and Tanks. All in a days work for a couple of criminals.

And have you been a good boy this year?
And now onto the levels that I saw. There were just two levels that we really saw on the single player. The first was The Heist, a basic bank robbery level. This is the same map that was used on one of the multiplayer levels, and was quiet early on in the game (Level 2 I believe). This is the main level that every other video on the web is of. Its fun, and will keep you entertained throughout. It will see you planting some gas in the Air Vent to knock the people out in the building and to help gather some hostages, rappelling down the side of the building before heading into the vault to get what you went in for. At the end of the level, you escape in a Van being pursued by the police. You and Lynch begin firing for your lives, before Lynch decides to have one of his blackouts. The cutscene hints that this could just be his medicine running out, or that it could be a deep internal battle between right and wrong, with him having issues shooting police for crime. Will this be something that comes into play later on in the game?

The next level I played was what we had been promised at the start of the day – a new level that they had been keeping back, something not like any other Kane & Lynch level that they were really excited about. And so were we- we were within the first 12 people in the world outside of the staff team to see this level! The level is called El Capital, and is Level 12 (This may be the last level, the ending cutscene was cut short and we couldn’t tell). We believe that this is set in Havana, but again that’s down to our detective work and not Eidos confirmation.

This level is all out war! There are so many people you have to go through its unbelievable. There are groups of people, single guys in gun nests on the staircases, gun nests in the buildings opposite, 5 or 6 tanks, a helicopter and many, many more. This really is a battle of epic proportions, and will require you to be an expert shot yourself, and also an expert at commanding Lynch around as well. I’ll tell you what, rather than me talking about it anymore, why don’t I just show you some footage!

At the end of the day, this game will be remembered for its new and unique multiplayer. However, don’t think this means that it has a poor single player- it doesn’t. The single player will take you approx 10-12 hours to complete according to one of the programmers, has some great co-op, some great action scenes and is just a fun tactical shooter. I will leave you with the parting words of the developers- if you play like a Soldier, you will die. If you play like a criminal, you will win.

To accompany the exclusive level we play tested, we have added some new screens to our Kane & Lynch gallery. Check them out here.

  • Thanks for this guys! I was wondering if I should get this and this has helped a lot in my decision!
  • Excellent write-up, I'm swaying towards buying this now...
  • I have played the demo and have the sequal.Because of this old preview I am now going to get the full game of dead men so thanks!
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