davebefree's Army of Two: The 40th Day (PlayStation 3) review

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DaveBeFree's Army of Two: the 40th Day Review

Army of Two the 40th day is to Pineapple Express what Uncharted 2 was to Indiana Jones.  Under close scrutiny this analogy might not hold up, but keep reading.  You'll see what I mean.  The game stars Rios and Salem, two bromantically involved PMCs of the auspiciously named T.W.O.  I haven't played the first Army of Two, so the back story to how these gents got their start is lost on me.  Frankly, it doesn't matter, as you know all you need to after the first thirty minutes of in-game tutorials.  There are bad guys.  Rios and Salem shoot them.  There are situations where you can choose to shoot someone or not.  But these forced "moral choice" decisions rest solely on the twitchiness of you or your partner's trigger finger.  If you are interested in deep fiction or narrative, please direct your attention elsewhere.  Here it's all bromance, all the time.

It makes sense, then, that the world that Rios and Salem are thrust into is one wholly unbelievable and catastrophic.  On a job in Shanghai the two protagonists are thrust into a sudden war zone, with bombs and planes falling like Christmas snow.   We can thank the heavens, for the sake of gratuitous entertainment, that Rios and Salem are there in order to fight through hordes of other PMC soldiers; tasked with the inexplicable purpose of killing the two bros.  Trying to make sense of Army of Two: the 40th Day is a quick and easy way to a migraine, much like any similar caliber action movie.  Your best bet is to focus on the combat and try not crack a tooth cringing at the terrible one-liners.  The combat, fortunately, is a pretty good diversion from the rest of the games hidden in plain sight shortcomings. 

For fighting Salem and Rios are practically conjoined at the hip, allowing for some good spirited partnered genocide.  The twins' mechanics allow for some entertaining gimmicks, such as: pretending to die under fire, mock surrendering, or calculated flanking.  The controls can be a bit sticky, but overall the gameplay holds up well.  It may not bring anything totally new to the third-person shooting genre, but it refines and plays with mechanics to good effect.  Additionally, the 'two man team' hook runs through multi-player, where the results aren't as strong.  The single player, for instance, lets you swap around and play with your weapon sets, a feature annoyingly lacking from the online experience.  Furthermore, all of the team tactics are gutted as well, leaving a pretty mundane (yet capable) multi-player experience.  The scant number of modes, however, (namely: Warzone, Deathmatch, Control, and Extraction) coupled with the lack of an over-arching meta game (ala Prestige in Modern Warfare 2) really limits the shelf life of the package.  But, to be fair, headshots cause a satisfying brain explosion.  So it's essentially a wash.   
Army of Two is a pretty decent stupid game, with some really neat and exploratory ideas.  It's sad that the game wasn't given more time and attention, in order to fully explore the experimental nature of the co-op gameplay.  Although I'm not sure the franchise is capable of capitalizing any further on it's paper-thin premise and sophomoric themes, I do have to admit that for the time being it is a guilty pleasure that I am able to appreciate in the right frame of mind.  Assuming the lights are dim enough, that is.    

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