Army of Two: The 40th Day Review
The 40th Day doesn't hit many high notes during the 7 hours of 'story' to fight through but you may find some entertainment in the stupidest morality choices to be in any video game.
The first Army of Two had problems, no doubt, but out of all the new IPs this was one which I did not expect to see a sequel. The 40th Day remains very much the same game as the first, keeping the core of the game focused on co-operative gameplay and the use of the Aggro Meter -- it is much more focused on these areas and enhancing the cooperative experience -- but after finishing The 40th Day it left me with a feeling of disgust and hate of the game like no other game has left me with in a long time.
The first major issue I had was the unbelievably poor story. Hollywood Blockbuster this is not. Taking place in Shanghai, Rios and Salem are hired to kill terrorists that are destroying the city. In the first ten minutes of the game you will be treated to buildings blowing the hell up, skyscrapers collapsing onto one another and then you're placed on the street floors. The backdrops try to literately explode with action but instead it comes off as B grade mediocracy that makes no sense. Seriously by the end of this game I would be shocked to hear the words 'that was amazing' as the main villain isn’t explain at all without digging into the audio logs you pick up, which you have to access via the pause screen.
Along the way the most obscure morality choice are given to you to make. Both choices have consequences that are presented as a comic book style story, as snap shots are shown of the victim of the choice, however most decisions made end in a bad way and make you wonder why they are even in the game. Seriously, when a game makes you decide whether a tiger lives or dies and then after deciding to kill it you find out that you made that tiger extinct by murdering it, the whole relevance of these ‘moral choices’ become clear as daylight, pointless.
Back to the point of what the game is all about, the co-operative gameplay. The ‘Bromance’ which stirred so much controversy in the first one has been dubbed down in this sequel but you can still hi-five, bump chests and even play paper, scissors, rock with your friend. The Aggro system which made Army of Two unique to other co-operative games is back and still plays a major part in the game. If you do not know what this is basically think of it where one player draws the attention of the enemy by shooting which makes the other player become almost invisible to the enemy as their attention is drawn to the crazy man shooting wildly behind cover -- which is represented by a bar at the top of the screen. This system still works and the game pushes you to use it but I found that it was just as effective to just stay behind cover and treated it more like Gears of War and pop out of cover and shoot a few rounds into the enemy, hide behind my cover, regenerate my health and do it all over again.
The game is definitely more fun when playing with a friend but not considerable more. If you want to play it by yourself then the AI will take control of the other 'Bro'. You can give orders and 'bro-out' with your AI partner and to be fair he does a pretty good job. They will revive you when you’re down, and even if they drag your body out into the line of fire just to revive you in the end they get the job done. I never found the game to be too challenging and this is probably down to the poor enemy AI. I actually had a staring contest with one enemy early on in the game and continuously throughout the campaign I had enemies shooting in the wrong direction, walk into walls, and overall not be a threat.
On a positive note the weapon customisation is back and is still probably one of the best out there. You can choose what barrel, cartridge, suppressor, scope and style the gun is, for a price. These customised upgrades can be as outlandish as a soda can acting as a suppressor or a metal plate used as a shield. Then you can give your gun a golden finish just to add the icing on the cake for the most ridiculous looking gun. You can also purchase additional guns which are broken up into a primary weapon which can be a shotgun or rifle, a secondary weapon which is your pistol and then a special weapon which can range from a sniper rifle to an RPG.
As with the first Army of Two, The 40th Day has a multiplayer side to it which plays again focuses on the fact that it is all about two men. You have your range of death match modes and objective modes but all the time you are put into teams of two and allowing ten people to play across the six different maps. My main concern about the multilayer was the fact that you are stuck to the multiple weapon load outs to choose from. This is a concern because there is clearly only one weapon of choice, the shotgun. I found in the many games I played that it became a frantic mosh-pit of players running up to each other and blasting a shotgun in each other’s faces. Sure they would be able to fix the problem by allowing the same level of customization as the single player but at least don't make it unbalanced on day one. Also there were serious connection issues and lag problems while playing, so if you’re looking for the multiplayer side of The 40th Day to hold you don't expect it to without a patch.
Throughout the game Shanghai is you’re only local. Granted you do get to visit multiple locations which all look reasonable. Character models are great and have a weight to them which suits the style and feel of the game. The 360 version of the game did lock up on me twice during my time with the game and I found that load times where considerable long. The sound of the game is fair as well with voice acting which doesn't match the lips of the characters but all the weapons distinctive sound to them which again goes back to the best point about the game, the guns.
At the end of The 40th Day you may not be entirely satisfied as what you might want. A non-existent story makes the entire campaign seem meaningless and isn't helped by the strange and obscure moral choices. If you’re looking for a shooter which is just average then this will do for the time.