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Army of Two: The 40th Day Review

Army of Two: The 40th Day Review

If I could shorten any description for games, I would say that Army of Two: The 40th Day is a game about bromance,with guns, in Shanghai. The latest iteration of EA’s co-op centered third person shooter is all about players working together to survive the destruction of Shanghai. There’s almost no recognizable plot here, save for some big (albeit obvious) reveals and twists near the end. No, the focus of the game is on providing fun online and offline cooperative action for two players. 

The game casts players as either Elliot Salem or Tyson Rios who are again caught in the middle of an international conspiracy; one that causes an unknown invasion force to destroy Shanghai, China. Salem and Rios must work together, with some help from their liaison Alice Murray, to fight countless mercenaries in order to escape the city in ruins. Story is pretty much non-existent, and doesn’t provide enough incentive for players to relate with the main protagonists. Replace Salem and Rios with Marcus Fenix and Nathan Drake and most people would be none the wiser.

Credit: EA Games

The game employs a cover system much like Gears of War and Uncharted in which both players will need to stop and pop as to not be overwhelmed by massive enemy forces. Running and gunning rarely ever works in this game and it forces players to strategize in the middle of firefights. There’s an “aggro” system which players can use to draw fire from opposing forces, giving the other player a chance to flank, maneuver, and ultimately dispose of said enemies.

The cover system works a bit better as compared to the first game. Salem and Rios can now attach to walls at a touch of a button; or, if players choose to do so, take cover behind a wall manually, as per the first game.  Also, if players don’t have a friend online-or-offline available, they can play solo with a AI buddy that’s actually smart and helpful as compared to the useless ones in the first game.

The game also features one of the deepest weapon customization ever seen in a third-person shooter. Combining an AK-47 with a SCAR assault rifle and outfitting with with a personal shield and a large bayonet never sounded so fun. As compared to other shooters, guns in Army of Two lack that powerful “kick” that shooters should have. At least explosions are extremely powerful with gas barrels, grenades, rpg’s cause some explosive and deadly mayhem.

One of the game’s most interesting features is the moral choices the players have to make during certain parts of the adventure. Do they decide to kill security guard in order to get to his weapon locker? If they do, then they kill a loving father with child. If they don’t and pass on the weapons, the same guard sells said weapons to enemy mercenaries. There are no clear choices in the game and every decision carries with it grave consequences.

Credit: EA Games

Army of Two also features some really exciting multiplayer modes like Extraction; a Horde mode-like survival game that tasks four people to work together in order to survive multiple waves of enemies in order to move to the next area, until they reach the extraction chopper. Other game modes are variants of standard multiplayer modes in other games. One plays like the Warzone gamemode in Killzone 2 in which teams of two work together in order to finish ever-changing missions and goals to achieve money.

Technical Presentation

Audio – Army of Two: 40 Day’s audio presentation is serviceable. Hearing all the explosions and destruction happening all around the players, while hearing bullets whizzing adds to the tension of survival. Granted, weapon sounds aren’t the best; but at least explosions are loud and forceful. Also, is that Nolan North I hear voicing Salem? Voice acting is pretty good, with Salem and Rios voiced by some big name v/o artists. However, their dialogue isn’t the best, but at least show emotion whenever the situation asks for it.

Graphics – While not the best looking game by any means, Army of Two: 40th Day’s Shanghai is beautiful in it’s destruction. Seeing buildings explode and topple, while the building the player is in gets torn in half, while seeing an airplane crash into another building, immerses players in the wanton destruction of the once beautiful city. Some levels also sport some beautiful lighting, especially right after the initial attack on Shanghai. Other levels though, sport some drab textures and repetitive enemy types. Nothing big that hurt the overall gameplay.

Final Thoughts

Army of Two: The 40th Day is a much improved game over the original. Many of the first game’s shortcomings have been adressed with many features added to round out an already rich package. The moral choices players make throughout the game as well as its fun online modes, deep weapon and mask customization features warrant multiple playthroughs. The game is one of the better co-op expreinces online and off, and is definitely recommended.


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About janhutchings

Canadian Game Industry Blogger / Contributor for @Sonyrumors & @ShogunGamer / Communications and PR Professional. Voice of Canadian and Indie Gaming. http://jtmgames.com/

Posted on August 3, 2011, in Game Reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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