Io Interactive is best known for its stealth-focused Hitman series, but there’s nothing quiet and sneaky about its latest release, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. This time around, the developer put together a crime-themed shooter that starts out with a couple of simple, heist-like objectives and then rapidly spins out of control until, without much warning, you’re gunning down soldiers in the middle of a foreign revolution. While the journey sounds interesting at first, and has a few bright points, it’s weighed down by bad storytelling, a real lack of character development, and a host of gameplay-related issues. The end result is a game that squanders much of its potential and just doesn’t come together as well as it probably should have.
The story mode opens with you in the role of Kane, a death row inmate on his way to his execution, apparently convicted of being a very savage criminal as part of a notorious gang called The7. You’re on your last ride with a quirky guy named Lynch who tells you to cover your head. After an explosion, you’re both busted out and on the run. That might sound great, but it’s a fate worse than death. The surviving members of The7 have busted you out to force you to recover something they think you stole from them. They consider you a traitor and will kill Kane’s family if he doesn’t comply. Lynch is sent along for the ride to watch over Kane and report in if anything weird happens. Circumstances change over time and the back half plays out like a revenge tale, but it’s a revenge tale where you don’t actually care if anyone actually gets their revenge. Every single person you play as or encounter is despicable and wholly abrasive; thus, it’ll probably be tough for you to find anyone to latch onto and care about, even if you typically go for this sort of crime drama on TV or in movies. You can play through this story alone or with a friend in co-op mode, though this mode is only available locally and takes place on a vertically split screen that makes it difficult to follow the action, even on a widescreen TV.