GameGuide » Blog Archive » Army of Two: The 40th Day

Sequels, in the film world not always a good thing, but in the gaming world, recently it’s become a very good thing. Modern Warfare 2, despite its glitchy annoyances, is still the most fun you can have on XBox Live. Assassin’s Creed II the same as the original, only better. Left 4 Dead 2, whilst I never played the first one, part two has gotten rave reviews. And that’s only a few of the sequels, with more coming this year, including but not limited to Mass Effect 2.

So now we come to Army of Two: The 40th Day, the sequel to a game I’ve never played. And it’s presented in a game play style I’m not that familiar with; it’s a third person shooter. It’s also a co-op based game, but fortunately one that plays well as a single player – you get to order your partner around.

As with any good Hollywood film, Army of Two has a plot, or sorts – you get to play one of the two main characters, Rios and Salem, who find themselves in the middle of Shanghai as the city laterally goes up in smoke. Terrorists have launched an all out attack on the city and all around you buildings are falling to the ground. You have to hook up with your contact, get armed and make your way through the city to a series of objectives.  

It doesn’t take long to get used to the third person view, and the only issues seem to be when you back up into a wall, your shoulder blocks you point of view. A minor inconvenience that only strengthens the tactical advice of never backing yourself into a corner, and reiterates that the best defence is an offence.

The game, as with most shooters, is very linear, but flows well, helped by having a semi controllable team-mate that you can use tactically and who will come to your aid if you get incapacitated. Handy really. One neat feature for a casual gamer such as myself, a gamer who can easily get lost, frustrated and left scratching my head, is the HUD that can be switched on for short periods of time. This has a couple of other uses, but the feature I was happy for was the green arrows on the floor telling you which way you should be heading. It’s like having a little cheat in your pocket.

So the game play is pretty standard fare, move toward objective shooting the bad guys. Reach objective, find objective has now changed, and move toward new objective. But EA figured it would be fun to throw in a few moral dilemmas, not all of which will be clear-cut. The easiest one is when you come up to a scene where the bad guys are about to execute some civilians. Do you help them or not. But then there are the times when you discover a cache of weapons in a building, only to have a security guard tell you to leave the alone. Do you shoot him and take the guns, or leave him be and walk away from the guns? I made the wrong choice tactically, and to some extent morally.

It’s the inclusion of these random choices interspersed along your journey that takes Army of Two from being just another shooter, to one that is more engaging and consequently more fun.

Another big feature is the customisation of weapons. Along the way you will earn money, and can pick up money off the bad guys that you kill. With this money you can buy new weapons or up grades. For the most part I stayed with a gun I felt comfortable with, upgrading it as I saw fit. It’s a neat feature and gives you something to aim for as you progress through the game unlocking bigger and better guns.

Tactically as I’ve already mentioned, you have your side kick to order around, but you also have a couple of tricks up your sleeves that are offered from time to time, depending on the situation. You can play dead or fake surrender, giving you the opportunity to fool your foes into putting their guard down, then taking them out. Again, a cool feature that sets Army of Two apart from other shooters.

Graphically Army of Two is great, with rich, detailed environments and fluid character animations – form your own movements to that of your enemies. Talking of enemies, the AI is both great and poor. Great when the enemies try and flank you, poor when you can easily sneak behind some of the bad guys and kill them before they realise you’re there. Overall it’s a pretty good mix.

Being a co-op game it should really come into it’s own online. The XBox Live interface is easy to use and getting a game was relatively easy. However the few times I tried this game online I suffered lag, some of it quite severe. The other problem being that none of my friends have this game yet so I was forced into playing with strangers, many of who didn’t want to communicate or play as a team. It’s a minor issue, but one that could conceivably limit the longevity of the game.

Reviewed on: XBox 360

Available on: XBox 360, PS3, PSP

Reviewed by:

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