The Bottom Line
That's what dating, err, playing Army of Two: The 40th Day felt like. I had a good time, but I'm not sure all my concerns from the first game have been alleviated.
Army of Two 2 was action packed, but short. It was full of big explosions, of mediocre quality, it had standout points, but gameplay issues... Would I go on a third date? Most likely.
- Army of Two: The 40th Day puts co-op front and center, with usually good results
- While the AI is good, playing with a buddy can be a blast
- Lots of side objectives and "moral choices" bring interesting variety to Army of Two: The 40th Day
- Jockish humor shared between Salem and Rios makes you feel like "one of the guys"
- Aggro system adds depth and strategy frequently missing in 3rd person shooters
- Deep weapon customization system is undermine by unfloding too quickly and not having enough effect
- Too many functions assigned to the X button, easy to slide into cover when you intended to heal
- Short overall, but too long to play in a few friendly sittings, unlike Left 4 Dead
- Humor can be overly crass, ex. jokes about having sex with endangered species
- Pre-order bonus "extraction mode" seems like the most fun multiplayer option, but most won't have it
- Publisher: Electronic Arts (EA)
- ESRB Rating: Mature (very)
- Genre:Co-op, 3rd-Person Shooter
- Platforms: Xbox 360, PSP, PS3
Guide Review - Army of Two: The 40th Day Review (PS3)
The answer may be a number higher than I want to admit. Mostly because I really want a solid, strategic co-op shooter that emphasizes creative and strategic buddy play. Army of Two: The 40th Day comes closer than anything else out there to what I, and many others, want: a playable buddy flick.
Set in Shanghai, Army of Two: The 40th Day has Rios and Salem returning as private military contractors (mercenaries) looking to cash in on the "emerging market" there. Almost immediately the town in overrun by other mercenaries hell-bent on destroying the city. They do a decent job of it too, as you will see skyscrapers collapse around you and fight through half-destroyed hospitals and zoos. Unfortunately, while they may have had Jerry Bruckheimer's taste for over the top explosions, they didn't have the budget for his kind of bang. When you watch a building get hit by an artillery shell you get a satisfy sound effect and camera angle, but the building itself breaks apart into four large chunks, awkwardly falling like it was made of styrofoam. If you don't have the special effects, don't attempt the shot.
Overly ambitious cinematography aside, the game looks decent, but offers nothing of the variety or quality of a Modern Warfare 2 or an Uncharted 2. The levels may be themed differently, but they end up playing and feeling very similar.
Same problem with the weapons. Again, you have a wide variety of guns, and you can use the cash you find along the way to trick them out, but when you can choose between three barrels that all have the same effect, you realize you really aren't choosing anything.
But all is not lost, the gameplay may be repetitive, but it is fun. The aggro system, stolen from online role-playing games, allows one player to draw fire by making noise (aka building threat) while the other sneaks around and shoots enemies in the back. Strategic and satisfying, it's fun to pull off. Additionally, the system gets put to the test as you try to rescue hostages and accomplish other goals.
The addition of a "morality" system adds fun story telling elements as you choose whether or not to let guards, mercs, and tigers live. The effects of your decisions are played out in stylized graphic novel pages. Very hip, very cool.
Army of Two: 40th Day is a solid co-op experience that is too short and too long at the same time. Modern Warfare 2's Spec-Ops missions and Left 4 Dead's gameplay show that short "episodes" lend themselves well to co-op. AO2 version 2 has great mechanics, but needs some design decisions reworked.