Which camp did you find yourself in with the first Kane and Lynch? Did you embrace the gritty realism and unrelenting action? Or did the cumbersome controls and peculiar design choices lead you into your very own form of mental illness. Either way, both camps seem to agree that the multiplayer was perhaps the game's strongest asset, which took a totally new mechanic and made a unique multiplayer experience out of it. Whilst we got to see the Kane and Lynch 2 campaign a little while back (read a lovely preview here), it's only now that we've managed to get our mitts on the eagerly anticipated multiplayer.
Huddled around a projector screen in a trendy London bar, Kim Krogh, director of multiplayer at IO Interactive explained the concept behind Fragile Alliance. He spoke of the need for story in multiplayer – not character development and plot twists, but of a narrative framework to contextualise the bloodshed. In attempting to integrate this into a multiplayer experience, Fragile Alliance was born, which allowed players to do the unthinkable and betray their comrades. It allowed for greed, betrayal and revenge, three concepts that Krogh argues are integral to the game mode. Whilst it certainly proved popular in the first game, it still came bundled with all the problems associated with the gameplay. In Fragile Alliance 2, most of those problems no longer exist.
For those who missed it the first time round (and those who have and need a recap), here's how it goes down. Starting as one of eight members of the alliance, players must steal four million dollars from a protected location and escape with it within four minutes. If all eight players escape successfully, the money is split evenly. For those with no such loyalty to the alliance, there's the option to kill your comrades and take their money for yourself. This will of course brand you a traitor, making your escape that much harder, but the payoff is more than worth it. Those that are killed or betrayed throughout the round respawn as cops, who must then prevent the alliance escaping with the cash.
This is essentially the same as with the first game, except with some fairly interesting new additions. Based on the negativity surrounding the original, IO has listened to a lot of feedback; it's improved on the good, ditched the bad, and generally created a more refined sequel. Whilst Fragile Alliance is only one facet of the Kane and Lynch 2 multiplayer (we'll be discussing other modes at a later date), it can certainly be considered the main event, and is what will ultimately draw players into online play in the first place.