Kane and Lynch: Dead Men

Coming on like Tango & Cash: The game. but with more violence and fewer mullets.

As you'd expect from the makers of the Hitman series, this game doesn't pull any punches - it's an adults only, story-driven adventure that would put most Hollywood action movies to shame. Playing as Kane, a deadly mercenary who has been busted free from an appointment on death row (and then ordered to recover a stash of loot belonging to his previous employers) you play the game accompanied by the massively unstable schizophrenic, Lynch - also sentenced to death, also freed by the crime gang Seven and now charged with keeping an eye on Kane. The two hate each other but must work together to stay alive on their globe-trotting mission.

Also along for the ride are gang-members from Seven, designated to escort and observe you. They'll follow orders up to a point and help out in sticky situations, bringing a clever squad dynamic to the action. A case in point is the brilliant Tokyo level which begins on the helipad of a huge corporate skyscraper. Kane, Lynch and a couple of Seven representatives are disguised as window cleaners and after observing a boardroom meeting through the exterior window they pile in, guns blazing. Considering the havoc unleashed, the team react with impressive intelligence, taking cover and systematically picking off victims as they move through the building - all except the schizo Lynch who's going bullet-mental on everything in his path. (The game's squad dynamics, AI and movement are based on IO's own Freedom Fighters, the massively under-rated PlayStation 2 shooter.)

So, a fantastic taster of what we can expect from the full game, if the rest of the adventure matches the thrilling Tokyo set piece, Kane & Lynch will be one of the games of the year.