Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Scurrying through grubby neon streets like the vermin you are, scrambling from cover to cover that’s too low to conceal your lumbering body, desperately trying to find more ammo as you ineptly spray bullets, that’s when Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is at its best. Its Shanghai is still one of my favourite video game cities. And then IO Interactive (them wot do Hitman) slightly spoil things by giving you fancy rifles towards the end.
The feeling of ineptness is splendid. You might spray a whole magazine with your machine pistol and not hit anyone. You’ll frantically scramble towards enemies to find ammo or a new gun because your lousy revolver is empty again. Your big stupid body isn’t even fully concealed by most cover. Gunfights are loud and messy. You’ll shoot unarmed pedestrians and motorists because you saw movement and panicked. Get hit enough and you’ll fall down – not ‘downed’ and in need of reviving, just down like a middle-aged fuck-up who needs to pick himself up.
The whole game looks like a cameraphone recording uploaded to YouTube. The colours are dreary, the lights overexposed. Compression artifacts dance across the screen or glitch out at intense moments. Nudey parts are pixelated out. The camera jostles and lurches. It still looks gorgeous.
The plot and characters are somewhere between unpleasant and loathsome. That is on purpose, if it’s any comfort. But it has its moments. Not just that one absurd level where you’re nude and streaming blood from dozens of slashes.