||Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is releasing in a somewhat unenviable position. After controversy surrounding the last game and a generally lukewarm response from critics, some were surprised that a second game was greenlit so quickly. It's good then that Dog Days makes such a strong first impression, with its handheld video style visuals and the return of the violent, mature themes that defined Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. But what everyone wants to know is whether Dog Days solves the problems that plagued Dead Men: the dodgy controls, the story that fell apart, the lack of online co-op, and more. To a degree, it does, but issues remain in IO's tale of criminals in a desperate situation...Where the original game's narrative collapsed under its own weight about halfway through, Dog Days actually holds itself together remarkably well. It's rare that a game can make you flinch. Jump scares, sure. They're easy, and movies have made us all numb to them after the initial shock. But for a game to really crawl under your skin, to sit there and disturb you, where you'll watch awkwardly as a character sobs like everything has been taken from them, because it has, that's... unexpected. I'm unaccustomed to a game taking story seriously enough that it can actually be criticized for expending its emotional payload too early, or for descending so far into nihilistic violence that I felt like I needed to come up for air sometimes...A recommendation for Dog Days isn't hard, though it is filled with qualifications. If the story and characters haven't caught your interest yet, or if you're just not interested in crime thrillers, then there's probably not going to be enough in Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days to keep you playing. Outside of the story it tells, how it tells it, and the interesting conceit of its multiplayer modes, Dog Days is just a passable third person shooter. But if you appreciated the promise of the last game, or you're looking for something darker and more sophisticated content-wise than your usual shooter fare, then Kane & Lynch 2 is just the thing.