Army of Two: The 40th Day Review

By on May 3, 2010

An army that just will not quit.


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First Impressions
My reaction is

If any of you have read my profile here on MEGamers.com, you’ll know that I’m not a big fan of shooter up games. And that’s simply because I have ridiculously stupid hand to eye coordination in these games. I’m more likely to blow off my foot than snipe off an enemy, so when I was tasked to review “Army of Two: The 40th Day” for the PS3, I knew that I’d be replaying several missions over and over again in painful recursion.

The 40th Day brings back the somber duo of Rios and Salem, two mercenaries contracted by TransWorld Operations to fulfill a number of missions set in Shanghai. The first mission is really a feature length tutorial on the controls and options available, and has you clearing out the bad guys, planting transmitters, and generally receiving ridiculous amounts of cash in return. However at the end of the mission, all hell breaks loose and rockets come raining down on the city, turning it into rubble in a matter of minutes. Quite obviously, your new mission is to find out who is behind these attacks while not getting blown up yourself. The gameplay stresses heavily on the co-op nature of the game, so you always have to work together with your partner to stay alive. You can command your AI partner to regroup, advance forward, or hold their position. Most of the time these commands are pulled off without a hitch, so you’re always able to compliment each other in battle when faced with a wave of enemies. The most useful feature of this co-op method is the use of ‘Aggro’, where one player advances forward to distract the enemy, while the other moves to a secure position to attack the enemy from behind. It’s a somewhat tricky formula to master, but if executed properly, it can mean less deaths for you and your partner. Your partner also intelligently switches weapons depending on what you do, and can also mock surrender with you or sneak up on hostile targets and subdue them. It’s a system that works well throughout your missions, and issuing orders is as simple as a flick of the D-pad. Also new in this edition is an in-game GPS which serves two purposes. It shows you where you need to go to for your current objective, as well as giving you the ability to ‘tag’ any enemies in sight. Once an enemy is tagged, they glow red and can be seen even if they hide behind cover. This tagging system become critical later on in the game, as it lets you tag enemy commanders as your primary target before dealing with the other soldiers.

The first Army of Two game lacked much weapon customization, so this time around you’re given a beautiful arsenal of weapons and add-ons that you can play with – everything from different gun barrels, silencers, ammo capacity and much more. You can also find supply lockers scattered through the levels, allowing you to steal enemy weapons and ammo before the alarm is sounded. Trigger-happy players will certainly enjoy spending some crucial moments building up their weapons stash and then charging into battle.

But though the gameplay feels slightly more polished this time around, there are a few aspects of the game that will let you down. This installment introduces a ‘morality’ factor, and while it may have seemed like a good idea, is actually executed quite badly. There are certain key moments where you’ll either choose to do a good or bad action, and the consequences of your actions are then played out in several comic-book style screenshots. But actions which you may think are good, actually have dire consequences (such as choosing to save the life of a security guard). There are also hostages scattered through the level, and should you choose to save them you will be rewarded with either cash or ammo. So why would you not want to save them? Exactly – there’s no reason why you’d want to pass up on free cash or ammo, so where does the morality fit in? Another very annoying thing is the way that cover has been executed – naturally when you’re being shot at you’ll want to take cover, but there are times where you can’t really figure out of you’re hiding or not. The game automatically makes your character crouch behind some objects, but it’s not always great at doing this, so you’ll often be sliding back and forth until the game wakes up and locks you behind the object.

If you tire of the single player campaign, there are numerous multiplayer options that can keep you going. You can play through the campaign mode again with a friend on the same PS3 system, or go online to find a player and continue or start a new campaign. The other multiplayer modes are a Deathmatch-type mode, Control is essentially King of the Hill, and Warzone thrusts you into an ever-changing landscape of enemies and missions. There is also an ‘Extraction’ mode that is by default only accessible if you have pre-ordered the game, but the other multiplayer modes are an easy distraction, so you’re really not missing out on much.

Although the game is based entirely in Shanghai, the various areas of the city are designed quite well, and range from the inside of a consulate building, to scaling the sides of a fallen building. It’s also clear that the developers put a lot of effort into making sure that the city falls apart around you as you progress, since you can’t walk forward two feet without something crumbling or exploding into oblivion. The voice acting is also spot on, though some more banter between Rios and Salem would have been nice. Still, the occasional one-liner is executed beautifully, and really serves to flush out each character’s personality.

Army of Two: The 40th Day is quite a decent follow up to the original, and includes some much welcomed improvements. The morality system is the only thing I find puzzling about the game, so you’ll really want to think twice before making your decisions. The decent multiplayer options will keep you going for a good stretch, and with two DLC packs there’s certainly quite a bit to keep you coming back for more.


The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
8
The strong co-op gameplay and blazing gun battles will certainly keep you on your toes.
GRAPHICS
7
There is the occasional framerate issue when there are multiple explosions on screen, but the falling debris and crumbling city is a sight to behold.
SOUND
8
Voice acting is good and on par with each character’s personality.
VALUE
9
Good multiplayer modes and DLC will keep you entertained long past the single-player campaign.
FUN FACTOR
8
Nothing quite like faking a surrender and then sniping off your enemies.
OVERALL
8.2
Much more playable than the original game, with some welcome additions to keep your guns blazing.

About

A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys hurling fireballs and tinkering with the latest gadgets. Follow him on Twitter as @theregos

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