These are the (now enormously out of date) editorials created by myself and James Ellingworth during our tenure as editors of The Student, with the exception of the very first one because it was awful.
To put it crudely, there are roughly two types of author. On the one side there are your genre specialists, the high fantasists, romantic novelists, horror masters etc. Then, on the other, there are those whose work occupies no particular genre other than that which can be categorised as “mainstream”, or, if you’re feeling suitably pompous, “literary”.
However Scottish maverick Iain M. Banks has consistently defied such stringent categorisation by being one of few novelists to have successfully written in two entirely separate strands of fiction. And yet, he seems remarkably nonchalant when asked whether he finds it difficult to come up with new ideas for the two genres within which he writes. “Fairly, I guess. No shortage but no glut, either.”
Kane and Lynch 2 contains so many uses of the word fuck I almost mistook it for punctuation. Imagine the infamous crime-investigation scene from the first series of The Wire, only stretched out over a period of several hours. And rather than mumbled passively under Dominic West’s faux-Baltimore breath, the F-bomb is screamed in your face, with added spittle, audible above the sound of gunfire and actual bombs.
Now, I’m hardly what you would call prudish, but I like variety in my swearing. Kane and Lynch 2, however, has an agenda in it’s monochrome cursing. It wants you, desperately, to believe it’s a game for adults, for mature people, who drink alcohol and have boring jobs and stuff. Sadly, it’s plain to see that Dog Days is really a six-year old girl wearing it’s mother’s make-up, and wearing it poorly.
This isn’t to say Kane and Lynch 2 is a terrible game. Actually it’s a solid shooter with a unique visual styling and the occasional inspired moment. But the equating of maturity with the number of fucks you can cram into a sentence (other swear words get a cameo at best) is just one of many instances where Dog Days falls short of its ambitions.
If you like Mafia, you will like Mafia 2. Normally you would see this line at the end of a game review, but I figured I would spare you any tedious preamble and get straight to the root of the matter. After all, that’s pretty much how the rest of the gaming community has pigeon-holed 2K Czech’s latest creation.
In fairness, it is quite understandable that so many reviewers have resorted to this lowest-common-denominator of conclusions. There’s no escaping the fact that Mafia 2 is very, very similar to it’s seven-year-old prequel.Yet games like Starcraft 2 have seen nothing but praise for their similarities to the original, so it seems odd that Mafia 2 has been so harshly criticised for following the exact same development outline.
One reason for this is that many people expected Mafia 2 to be GTA IV in a sharper suit, and were disappointed when they discovered that, rather than being a free-roaming experience filled with wacky side missions and absurd challenges, the city of Empire Bay turned out to be little more than a backdrop for an intensely linear, plot-driven experience. 2K Czech want to tell a story, and they’re not going to let you get sidetracked by an irony achievement for running over a hundred people in an ambulance.