epicsteve's Army of Two: The 40th Day (Xbox 360) review

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  • epicsteve wrote this review on .
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  • epicsteve has written a total of 84 reviews. The last one was for Outlast

Annoying issues hold this sequel back.

 Army of Two is known for its “bro-ness”, cool masks, pimped-out golden guns, and it's devil-may-care duo. It's weird The 40th Day doesn't capitalize on any of these things, but instead attempts to build its actual mechanics. Weird enough, the end result is a janky game jam-packed with issues and ultimately ends up being generic despite the off-shoot things the first game built.

 
Salem and Rios are on a routine mission in Shanghai, the city comes under attack from an unknown PMC. As all hell breaks loose, the two mercs have one thing in mind – get out of the city at all costs. On paper this set-up in an controlled area seems like a good base for a decent plot. The 40th Day almost has no plot at all. In fact, I was at the 70% mark of the game and literally knew as much as I did when the game opened.

With that said, EA Montreal inserted a “save the civilians” mechanics. There will be a few situations were you'll enter a room full of Contractors holding civilians hostage. This is one of the cool aspects of the game, for you and your partner have to try and kill your foes quickly and silently. If successful, you'll get a decent paycheck per hostage that survived. The game also offers the obligatory moral choices, that feels like most other things in this game, small and meaningless. At no point do you ever feel repercussion for bad decisions, it's typically more rewarding to do whatever sounds good at the time. The story does slap your wrist for being naughty, but it typically holds back rewards that are equivalent to what you got by making morally incorrect choices.

The WoW-inspired aggro system returns in full-force. A lot of the environments and enemies encourage one player to draw all the attention while the partner sneaks around for a surprise attack, or snipe. This is actually a well-robust mechanic that I hope other games pick up on. Aggro forces players to play together with some coordination.

The 40th Day has a store for players to purchase weapons, weapons parts, and overall upgrades like the ability to carry more ammo. The game revolves around a concept of “lego guns”. You don't just buy an M4 and upgrade its firing rate, or whatever. Instead, buy that M4 and maybe attach an AK-47 barrel on it to gain more aggro, put on ammo drum, and install a SCAR butt-stock for higher precision. The major downside is the whole store interface is really sluggish, I just feel that everything takes much longer than it should.

Army of Two has a laundry list of problems that weigh down any enjoyment that could be had. The most irksome problem is the poor controls. The A button is your go-to button for just about anything including running, dodge rolls, and picking up your downed friend. It was very common for me to be down (thanks to the game's horrible indication that your taking damage) and instead of my friend coming to the rescue, he sprints passed me, rolls over a car, and does a lot of other things instead of actually saving me. If you manage to actually save your friend, the game forces you to drag them for about 1-3 seconds before resurrection can occur. This is incredibly frustrating, and was the result of most of my Game Over screens.

The annoyances don't stop there. The 40th Day's terrible check point system saves far too infrequently. This forces you to re-watch cutscenes, and re-fight large groups of potentially difficult foes. The game also doesn't save after you customize your weapons. So guess what, you know the 5-10 minutes you spent on building your sweet gun? Well, you're going to have to re-buy everything and have a do-over.

The most offensive hindrance is the lack of situational awareness. It's common for you to be attacked by an enemy that's hard get a visual on, and for bad guys to spawn behind you in already cleared areas with no warning. I'm not trying to say games should be holding our hands, but I felt like when I played games like Gears of War and GRAW I knew what was going on around me. Seeing as how you if you die you have to re-customize and re-watch cutscenes, this letdown is really dramatic.

The multiplayer is a little better by comparison. The most notable (pre-order only) mode being the Horde-like Extraction mode. It puzzles me why EA didn't include any ranking structure, character progression, or weapon customization to the online side of the game. It's probably fare to say Army of Two's competitive multiplayer won't be the selling point of the game. However, it's a nice distraction.

With numerous co-op action games available these days, it's nearly impossible to recommend Army of Two. The actual shooting mechanics are a little better than its predecessor, but this sequel ditches a lot of the personality the original had. I thought Army of Two was all about being ridicules and over-the-top, but it's obvious at some point The 40th Day was written to be a more serious contender in the ring of third-person action. The game still has fist-bumps, but nothing else really stand out other than a lot of stupid frustrations that make the game feel underdeveloped which is disappointing considering the game had some neat ideas.


Steven

9 Comments
Posted by EpicSteve

EDIT* 
 
According to Kotaku, the Extraction mode is available as DLC in 30 days. If it's free or not, I'm not sure.

Posted by AjayRaz

i laughed a bit during this review. well written, mr.steve! It's kind of disappointing to hear this isn't.. as great as it should of been, since I was looking for a good cooperative game for my xbox. 

Edited by EpicSteve
@AjayRaz said:

" i laughed a bit during this review. well written, mr.steve! It's kind of disappointing to hear this isn't.. as great as it should of been, since I was looking for a good cooperative game for my xbox.  "

Thankyou :)
 
If you don' mind vertical split screen, you might find some fun in renting the game to play on the couch with buddy. It's hella short too! Just keep in mind that the shopping part of the game isn't split screen, forcing each player to take turns. So if you die, re-customizing becomes much more annoying.
Posted by natetodamax

I'm disappointed that this game didn't turn out so well (according to you at least). Oh well.

Posted by RuninWithScisrs

Have any of you played the demo? Its a bunch of suck, suck and more suck. I loved the first game and payed through multiple times. The play, control and just crappy glitches and graphics of the demo don't even do the first game justice. I just hope the actual game handles better as I have not had a chance to play it yet. I seriously thought the demo was an actual beta version the first time I played it. It just looks and feels very unfinished.

Edited by WilliamRLBaker

wow inspired arrgo? um no....
there are monsters that are arrgo in wow...they will attack you regardless...monsters that wont unless you attack them...in this all enemies will attack you if they know you are there and in battle you can distract them....
 
seems more that you suck badly at the game and not the controls since they pretty much control exactly like the original and i had no problems with that game on contractor difficulty...
 
all together you find fault with things that aren't problems and don't recognize the things that are, i do believe you went into this game expecting to give to 2 stars which is more of why you gave it 2 stars then its actual quality.
Whats even more odd is your idea that enemies spawning behind you, and the like is something wrong with this game but go on to saw GRAW which had the same problems, and Gears which had some of the same hard to get a bead on enemies as this...yet its not a problem in those games...

Edited by EpicSteve
@WilliamRLBaker said:

" wow inspired arrgo? um no.... there are monsters that are arrgo in wow...they will attack you regardless...monsters that wont unless you attack them...in this all enemies will attack you if they know you are there and in battle you can distract them....  seems more that you suck badly at the game and not the controls since they pretty much control exactly like the original and i had no problems with that game on contractor difficulty...  all together you find fault with things that aren't problems and don't recognize the things that are, i do believe you went into this game expecting to give to 2 stars which is more of why you gave it 2 stars then its actual quality. Whats even more odd is your idea that enemies spawning behind you, and the like is something wrong with this game but go on to saw GRAW which had the same problems, and Gears which had some of the same hard to get a bead on enemies as this...yet its not a problem in those games... "

Yes, but in WoW, players can manipulate the monsters to attack a specific person "the Tank" instead of the DPS, Healers, and so on. To do this, the Tank is equipped with high-threat abilities. Obviously, if your Warlock is doing too much DPS, the mob will attack him instead. Thankfully I've had a lot of luck with Tanks lately. :)
 
Army of Two doesn't copy and Paste WoW's aggro system, but constructs a system that is heavily inspired by the MMORPG.
Posted by MrSpaceMan
@WilliamRLBaker said:
" wow inspired arrgo? um no.... there are monsters that are arrgo in wow...they will attack you regardless...monsters that wont unless you attack them...in this all enemies will attack you if they know you are there and in battle you can distract them....  seems more that you suck badly at the game and not the controls since they pretty much control exactly like the original and i had no problems with that game on contractor difficulty...  all together you find fault with things that aren't problems and don't recognize the things that are, i do believe you went into this game expecting to give to 2 stars which is more of why you gave it 2 stars then its actual quality. Whats even more odd is your idea that enemies spawning behind you, and the like is something wrong with this game but go on to saw GRAW which had the same problems, and Gears which had some of the same hard to get a bead on enemies as this...yet its not a problem in those games... "
You obviously dont play WoW, or have little experience with it...or are a complete nub. you dont even have wow in your achievements list. monsters in wow dont attack you regardless. they attack whomever is generating the highest threat.
Posted by tastyhouse

I just finished the first one - and it sounds like all the beef I had with that game made it into the sequel.

Other reviews for Army of Two: The 40th Day (Xbox 360)

    Major Improvement from Original 0

    I actually kinda liked the original game, though the main characters were utter knuckleheads. I certainly did not expect a sequel to be forthcoming after the original, though it apparently sold rather well.The sequel takes place in Shanghai and Salem and Rios are in Shanghai when all hell breaks loose. And, literally, ALL HELL breaks loose. A former military leader attempts to take over China via threat of nuclear weapons and a few thousand troops. It all takes place over a single day and...

    2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

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