You can carry only two weapons at a time in Dog Days, and while you do gain access to some more powerful options late in the story, much of the game's arsenal is available from the outset. You're not limited to carrying one pistol and one larger weapon, but you still have to make some tough choices where your loadout is concerned. Oddly, shotguns are the most versatile weapons in the game because while they're believably devastating at close range, they're also surprisingly effective against enemies who are some distance away. Automatic weapons, on the other hand, spray bullets all over the place if you hold the trigger down for anything more than a short burst of fire, so they're not always useful from afar. Rifles offer the most precision, but they fire only one round at a time, and most need to be reloaded after only five or six shots. As you progress through the story, you inevitably have favorite firearms, but because all weapons and ammo need to be scavenged from slaughtered enemies, you often have to make do with whatever is available. This isn't a bad thing, though, because all of the weapons are up to the job at hand, provided you adjust your play style accordingly. When all else fails, you can grab a fire extinguisher, fuel can, or gas canister and throw it toward your enemies and then shoot at it so it explodes. This satisfying strategy more than makes up for the lack of grenades in Dog Days, though the number of flammable containers that are scattered around Shanghai is somewhat worrying.
6273661NoneIf you're the only criminal to escape in Fragile Alliance, even the driver doesn't get a share of the loot.
Outside of story mode, weapons can still be picked up off the ground, but in multiplayer matches and the new Arcade mode you also have the option to purchase better guns between rounds. Because your goal is always to finish the game with more money than anyone else, spending significant chunks of change on firearms makes for an interesting risk-versus-reward mechanic. You earn money every time you kill an enemy, but are you really going to earn enough additional money by equipping yourself with a superior weapon to justify its cost? There are three competitive multiplayer modes in Dog Days: Fragile Alliance, in which up to eight players attempt to pull off a robbery and have the option to betray each other; Undercover Cop, which works in exactly the same way except that one player is randomly chosen as an undercover cop who must foil the robbery; and Cops and Robbers, in which up to 12 players split into two teams so that while one team is attempting to commit a robbery, the other is trying to stop it. Your goal is always the same; fight your way to the money/diamonds/drugs, grab as much as you can carry, and then escape to where your getaway driver/pilot is waiting. All three modes are a lot of fun when played with a good group of players, and because betraying each other for profit is all part of the game, they can be even better against the kinds of players with whom you might normally not choose to play. For example, if one of your gang mates decides to shoot you in the back of the head at the start of the Fragile Alliance mode, not only will you respawn as a cop and earn loads of money for exacting revenge, but he'll be marked as a traitor so that the rest of the gang can kill him without any repercussions.
Sadly, while multiplayer modes in Dog Days are well designed and succeed in making you cooperate with players only for as long as it serves you, they're not everything that they could be. Games end unceremoniously anytime a host decides to quit; the lag that affects online co-op games is even more pronounced when there are between eight and 12 of you running around in competitive play; and the same six, short levels (each designed to last no longer than five minutes) are used in all three modes. An additional three levels appear in the menus, but they, as well as a number of the multiplayer weapons, won't be available until they're released as downloadable content a couple of weeks after the game is released. Those same six levels are also the extent of the new single-player Arcade mode, which is really just Fragile Alliance mode played with bots rather than other players.
The main difference between Arcade and Fragile Alliance, besides your colleagues in the former being less likely to shoot you in the back and occasionally (inexplicably) deciding not to grab any loot, is that rather than playing for just three rounds, in Arcade mode, you keep playing the same level over and over again until you lose all three of your lives. Every round is a little harder than the last, so while you can get away with letting the AI guys do a lot of the heavy lifting early on, they run in like lambs to the slaughter by the time you get to round 12 or 13. Arcade mode is a great way to both hone your skills and unlock better weapons before playing online, but playing the same two to four minutes repeatedly doesn't take long to get old. In fact, if you're good enough to reach round 10 and beyond on any level, there's a good chance that you might tire of said level before you've even uploaded your first high score to the online leaderboards.
You'd do well to heed this advice in all multiplayer modes.
For as long as it lasts, Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is a good game. Its biggest problem is that there simply isn't enough of it. The story mode isn't likely to take much more than four hours on your first play-through; the Arcade mode takes even less time than that to get old; and while the multiplayer options are fun, they suffer from lag and there simply aren't enough of them to compensate for the shortcomings of the solo offerings. And depending on how you look at it, the fact that there are additional multiplayer maps waiting in the wings is either good news or insult added to injury. With a longer and more varied story mode and a better, lag-free suite of multiplayer options, Dog Days would've been very easy to recommend. As it is, though, this diminutive package is as noteworthy for the features that it has dropped from the first game as it is for the new ones it has introduced, and it comes with too many caveats to be recommended without hesitation.