Again, you can see the ideas at work here but the reality is a little different. In theory, the players have to balance the advantages of working together against their own individual greed, and once the balance tips glorious carnage ensues. In practice, it’s all a bit hit and miss, mostly thanks to the players themselves. In one game I played, the host kicked off by announcing how much he hated traitors and how, should anyone turn traitor, he’d blow the game.
On the third round, once everyone had got tired of making money and splitting it six ways, he did just that. In another game, two players turned traitor every time the round started, meaning nobody got any money (bar me when I hunted one of the useless bastards down). Played properly, Fragile Alliance is a hoot, but you might have to play a good few games before you find enough people with the right sort of temperament to enjoy it with.
Overall, that’s the story of Kane & Lynch – great concepts meet imperfect reality. There’s enough good stuff in here to convince me that this could have been an absolute blinder, but enough bad stuff to make it hard to recommend when there are so many really great games around right at this moment. If you like Io’s inspirations and you can pick Kane & Lynch up at a bargain basement price in the sales, then do so, but be prepared for some small disappointments and frustration. I genuinely hope that Io can pull out a sequel that does the characters and the concepts justice – after all the Hitman games got much better with time – but Kane & Lynch’s debut is a bit of a damp squib.
Strong ideas and a handful of awesome moments buried under a pile of poor choices and dubious AI. This gritty crime thriller deserved so much more.