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

A great game with a buddy. Solo? Not so much.


Army Of Two: The 40th Day suffers from the same problems many co-op focused games do. Primarily, it just isn't that fun without a second player. 
 
My solo experience with the game can be summarized as telling the AI to stay behind cover while I do everything. I'd like to have the AI help me out, but it doesn't seem to understand what I want it to do, ever. More often than not it would misunderstand my "Hold Position" order as "Run towards the bullets".
 
This kind of situation occurs with the AI partner far more than it should. You're better off just telling him to stay as far away from combat as possible while you do everything else. 
 
Only you can't. Because the game has many enemies that require coordinated attacks to defeat. It's pretty hard to get behind a dude with a flamethrower if your partner is a moron, but it's even harder if that moron doesn't listen to your orders. 
  
    
It seems pointless to include a solo option when the game makes no effort to make things work as a single player experience. Eventually, I realized I needed a human being fighting with me if I planned on completing the campaign. 
 
  
Thankfully, when you are playing with a buddy, this game doesn't just work. It excels in nearly every way it can. Working together to take down big dudes, mowing down the hordes of infantry, and fistbumping after each fight is one of the most satisfying co-op experiences available. The aggro system, where enemys focus on whoever is shooting the loudest, and the most, makes it that much better. I can draw all the attention with my diamond encrusted SCAR, while my buddy gets behind them with his silenced P90. It makes flanking both easy, and fun. 
 
Did I mention you can customize your guns in ridiculous ways? Anytime you are not in combat, you can customize your guns. You can change the barrel, stock, and magazine of your arsenal, and even slap on silencers, bayonets, shields, and grenade launchers. Each upgrade changes the way your gun performs, and the more firepower your packing, the faster the aggro will swing to you. On top of that, you can also change the color of your gun, choosing from a variety of camos, or the gold, platinum and diamond encrusted "Pimped" style. For an idea of how insane this feature can get, I've put an AK47 stock, G36C barrel, 100 round double drum magazine, shield, and finally, screwdriver on a pimped out M4. The parts range from serious to amusing, but based in reality. You can put a solid steel silencer on your gun, or you can use a coke can. You can buy a heavy duty stock, or a rusty one. You can use the aforementioned screwdriver as a bayonet, even.
 
The gameplay boils down to managing the aggro with your buddy, and mowing down legions of enemies. It's mindless, but it's fun, and it's a nice break from more serious co-op experiences such as Gears Of War.  Outside of shooting dudes, you can mock surrender, and watch as your buddy takes out the enemies before they can even contact HQ about their new hostage, or tie down enemies after they surrender. The options aren't many, but they don't really need to be when your mostly just killing a lot of guys. 
 
Outside of the campaign is a dissapointing versus. It feels like EA realized how they could make the versus worthwhile here, but it doesn't live up to it's potential. All of the rifles and submachine guns refuse to kill people, while shotguns are absolutely bloodthirsty and devastate anything. On top of that, spawn camping is extremely easy, and the only gametype that is any fun is co-op deathmatch. If you've played GoW2, then it's best described as Wingman with respawns. If you haven't, it's a deatmatch with a partner. The partnership with the most kills wins. It's fun and frantic when it works, and is the one thing that would keep me coming to the versus portion of the game if it didn't suffer from horrendous lag. The first minute or two of every match I've joined has been absolutely awful in terms of connection quality. It's worse than Quake 3 on dial-up. Thankfully, it fixes itself after a few minutes, but I shouldn't have to wait for the game to become playable, I should just be able to join a game and start having fun. Add to that the amazingly bad weapon balance (Seriously, I should not be able to shoot a guy with an AK47 for 30 seconds straight, only for him to turn around and one shot me with a shotgun from across the room), and it just leaves you feeling dissapointed. 
 
This isn't a bad game, it's just very dissapointing in many regards. That said, it's absolute bliss with a friend, and anybody who likes customization would be stupid to not at least look into this.
 
Note: I am not able to play the fourth gametype in Versus, Extraction, as it is only available to those who preordered the game until February 12th. I have noticed most players are playing that, so when I have the chance I will try it out and if it is worthwhile I will edit this review appropriately.
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