Kane & Lynch: Dead Men (PC) Review

By Athanasios 16.07.2015

Review for Kane & Lynch: Dead Men on PC

This visceral and gritty crime drama was made by IO Interactive, the same company that developed the Hitman and Freedom Fighters games, with the latter one being the title which, in many ways, is Kane & Lynch's forerunner. The responses that this received were mixed, yet even those that did actually enjoy it would usually point out that its plot and cinematic feel were the saving grace of what was actually a flawed shooter. The truth, however, is that both gameplay and story-wise, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men is nothing more than a severely unpolished title.

Kane has been given an ultimatum: either he brings back the money that he(?) has stolen from The7, or his wife and daughter die, and since these fine gentlemen are not boy scouts, but ruthless mercenaries - with Kane being a former member - they assign a watchdog by the name of Lynch to help him, but mainly keep an eye out for any suspicious moves, or watch for him creating more problems, since he is an unstable, medicated psycho, who occasionally flips out and starts killing everyone on sight.

The fact that these protagonists are neither heroes, nor anti-heroes, but cruel organised crime professionals, is quite promising, and, surprisingly, doesn't keep/refrain the player from liking them to a certain degree by "feeling" the anxiety of Kane, along with his thirst for vengeance, although he and his trigger-happy side-kick have no problem slaying cops by the dozen, while throwing F-Bombs faster than the Angry Video Game Nerd in a gangsta rap music video. Therefore, those with low tolerance for senseless violence, and lots of profanity should stay away.

Screenshot for Kane & Lynch: Dead Men on PC

As a third-person shooter this isn't original or anything, since it uses various typical mechanics of the genre. Is that a problem? Of course not; as long as something is fun it doesn't really matter… but is this fun? Unfortunately, no. Dead Men's aiming feels underdeveloped, since the accuracy is so low that running towards the enemy to do a quick insta-kill melee attack tends to be far easier, at least in the first eight stages. The worst thing, though, is the cover system, which can be described as unyielding at best. Not only does it only work when it feels like it (since it is automatic), but many times it turns out to be useless, because enemy bullets frequently find their target, no matter what.

Kane is always accompanied by at least one guy, and since 99.9% of the time that guy is Lynch, this adventure is very co-op friendly. Additional henchmen will later join the party, and although they sometimes lose their ability to follow the basic guard-follow-attack commands, their AI is pretty decent - unlike the enemies, whose behaviour is simplistic, and all round moronic. A nice twist on the now common regenerating health system is how teammates can "revive" Kane via an adrenaline shot, something that must be used with caution to prevent an overdose, though.

Screenshot for Kane & Lynch: Dead Men on PC

All previously mentioned flaws are evident in the first couple of levels, but at least the levels themselves are quite interesting. It all starts with an adrenaline-pumping escape from the armoured vehicle that is carrying Kane and Lynch to death row, followed by an action-packed bank robbery with a nice on-rails getaway in the end, and, finally, the nightclub scene, which is an intense stage where a few bad guys are hiding in a dark and very crowded place, while loud music bops along, and lots of disorienting lights flash all around the place. Unfortunately, after this it all goes downhill, with all levels becoming a boring chore of moving from checkpoint to checkpoint, and shooting down the same grunts, making this six-hour journey feel like an eternity.

Besides reliving this adventure along with a friend, the only reason to replay this is a very interesting multiplayer mode, called Fragile Alliance. The concept? A co-operative bank robbery. The catch? Anyone can backstab a teammate, steal the loot, and run away with it, while the one that was killed spawns as a police officer. The problem? Fun as it is, this mode carries over the many problems of the main game: bad aiming, cover system, and all.

Screenshot for Kane & Lynch: Dead Men on PC

It's not just the gameplay that becomes generic after a while, though. After building tension, and providing a very interesting protagonist duo, the story starts to wane, with no plot twists, no intriguing scenes and scenarios, and, most of all, no care for the main characters. Kane starts as a cold-blooded killer with a sensitive man trapped inside of him, and Lynch raises the tension with his mental breakdowns, which jeopardise the outcome of each mission, yet in less than an hour all of these characteristics fade away - Lynch, especially seems to be cured from his madness for no apparent reason.

An abrupt end wraps up what started as a flawed-but-promising shooter, which became another run of the mill "shoot everything that moves" sort of ride in less than an hour. Even the plot and overall cinematic presentation, which were supposed to be the crowning glory of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, soon cease to exist, as if the developer ran out of ideas, time, or resources quite quickly... which results in everyone running out of interest for it.

Screenshot for Kane & Lynch: Dead Men on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


Forget about a plot that initially feels like a collaboration between Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie, only to later become more generic than a Jean Claude van Damme flick. Forget about the misfiring weaponry, the irritating cover system that creates more problems than it solves, and the humdrum enemy AI that makes players feel as if the battle is against zombies instead of humans. Finally, forget the simple short length of the main game, along with the simple audiovisuals. Why? Well, because the most severe flaw of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men is how after just a couple of exciting levels, the gameplay becomes so linear and repetitive that it feels as if IO Interactive gave up on its very creation. That's why.


IO Interactive


Square Enix





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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