Bargain Bin Games: “Stranglehold” and “Kane and Lynch”

Bargain Bin Games: “Stranglehold” and “Kane and Lynch”

2/11/2009 12:28:17 AM

I did a little bargain hunting tonight.  As I drove past my local blockbuster/gamestation I noticed they were advertising pre-owned games at "up to 50% off".  I know I know, pre-owned game sales are killing the games industry and all that, but I had to take a look as I figured I’d use this opportunity to buy a few games that I wouldn’t normally have played.

So, Kane and Lynch for £7, Stranglehold for £4.99.

Interesting two games, in the sense that they both were reviewed reasonably averagely (with the former embroiled in a controversy about buying review scores over which some staff at GameSpot were fired, if I recall).

I had a soft spot for the Stranglehold demo, but when I heard it was a 6-8 hour long game I decided that I'd never be picking it up at full price.  Kane and Lynch I just suspected had been panned in part due to the controversy surrounding it's release.  I’d noticed semi-recently that the developers of K&L had offered that in part as reasoning for it’s underperformance (because they really didn’t feel the game was as bad as people made out) so I figured it was worth a gamble.

Had a play of both of them this evening... half way through Stranglehold and actually, it's getting pretty boring.  Sure you can blow the crap out of the environment and pretty much make everything explode, but it all gets a little tedious.  On top of that, the story seems really quite terrible, regardless of it being a follow-up to Hard Boiled (the film) or not.  Getting the feeling that it's this generations "Enter The Matrix".  A game where you can blow everything up, it looks quite nice while you do it, it's fun, but unfulfilling.

K&L on the other hand I've been pleasantly surprised by.  Reviews slated it's control scheme, which truth be told, is a little off.  However, a few subtle adjustments in the options screen and I'd managed to tune it in such a way that it didn't impede gameplay.  The tone and the cinematic feel of the game actually blew me away a little.  I wasn't expecting it to feel as polished, especially as the reviews have criticised it for being a little rough around the edges visually.

The opening segment of K&L was genuinely quite thrilling.  It isn't quite the escape sequence at the start of Half Life 2, but it has that same kind of thrill to it.  The set pieces feel quite grand and I really like the fact that I don't like the characters.  I get the feeling that it's heavily inspired by the film Heat, but in my eyes that's no bad thing.  Very gritty and interesting past it's faults (dubious AI and control scheme annoyances).  After 2 hours or so, I’d actually recommend you give Kane and Lynch a chance.

I also noticed that Alone in the Dark (2008) was in store for about £12, so I might pick that up despite my concerns about it’s heavily criticised control scheme.  I’m going to have to do a bit of research, see if it’s been patched up on the 360, I hear the PS3 version was delayed and improved…

I might make a habit of this, picking up all the games that I really wouldn’t think of playing.  It feels like a nice way to give myself a fresh perspective on some of the games I actively seek out and enjoy.