sore thumbs

August 26, 2010
By Matthew Scott Hunter


‘Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days’ (M)

Lights, camera, action


Eidos/Square Enix

Xbox 360

The original “Kane & Lynch” is about to get the silver screen treatment, with Bruce Willis and Jamie Foxx portraying the disreputable duo. Some pretty mediocre movies have been inspired by excellent games, so maybe Hollywood thinks it can work the other way around, making an excellent movie from a mediocre game, because two games in, the “Kane & Lynch” series is still nothing special. However, the sequel does offer a few productions tips to keep the film budget low.


The best thing about “Dog Days” is the intentionally sloppy presentation. All third-person shooters are seen from the vantage point of an imaginary cameraman, looking over the hero’s shoulder, but this particular invisible cinematographer seems to be filming the action with a low-res camera phone. Lens flares, artifacting and persistent shaking obscure the scenery, and bits of extreme gore and nudity are even covered with blurred pixels. It imbues the carnage with the authenticity of a YouTube video. Too bad the narrative is forgettable and infuriatingly anticlimactic, and the gameplay (or gunplay, rather, since it’s non-stop shooting) lacks any variety, making this just about the most generic cover-based shooter available. Hopefully the cinematic version will take all the money it saves on expensive camera equipment and invest it in a decent story and better action.


‘YS Seven’ (T)


Xseed Games

PlayStation Portable

Adol the Red is doing some traveling, but no matter where he goes, the cliches of the JRPG genre follow, requiring some sort of ancient evil to be awakened. But any excuse for action-RPG combat will do, since that’s always been the “Ys” series’ greatest strength. You can switch between Adol and either of his two competent, A.I.-controlled companions on the fly, depending on which character’s special attack proves the most useful. These satisfying special moves drain a meter at first, but once you master each weapon, the meter goes away, and easy devastation is at your fingertips.


‘Disney Sing It: Family Hits’ (E)


Disney Interactive


There’s something embarrassingly infectious about songs like “Hakuna Matata” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” so young kids and their parents should have no trouble getting in on the goofy fun. As karaoke games go, this is pretty standard: you sing, the game scores your pitch. 30 songs is a bit light (especially when four are from “Cinderella” and one is from “Lilo & Stitch 2”), but you can make do with the bare necessities. You know — the “Bare Necessities” from the “Jungle Book.”


‘NCAA Football 11’ (E)


EA Sports

Xbox 360

EA Sports goes back to college for the sixteenth year (Will they ever graduate?), and little has changed since the previous semester. Dynasty and “Road to Glory” modes are indistinguishable from last year’s installment, making the only major addition an Online Dynasty Mode, which lets you bring the college football experience to your PC or iPad. But if you prefer to keep your “NCAA” business limited to a single expensive piece of electronics, all there is to look forward to are graphical improvements and ESPN window dressing. It’s still a smart game of football, but after 16 years, we want brilliance! CV


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