Army of Two: The 40th Day Review
By - Craig H.
Tyson Rios and Elliot Salem return in Army of Two: The 40 Day a third-person co-op focused experience. Rios and Salem are on a typical mercenary mission for their organization, TransWorld Operations, in Shanghai when chaos breaks out and the city is under attack. Immediately the duo find themselves stranded in the middle of the city and must fight their way out, killing anyone who stands in their way.
The campaign is broken up into chapters where at the end of each chapter it gives you your stats for that area including time, kills for each player, number of radio logs found, number of cats found, etc. There are 6 chapters to be played with each chapter taking roughly 30-45 minutes on average. Thus, the single player campaign can be beat in around 5-6 hours. The story itself is not all that intriguing. The city is under attack from an unnamed group and you must find a way out of the city, by any means necessary. Only at the end do you get a name and a face to the destruction. The banter between Rios and Salem has also been toned down with only quips here and there but most of the game is left with silence instead of wisecracks from the duo. Throughout the campaign you will be met with “Morality Choices” which provide the player with the choice between two options. These do not have any real consequences though (besides the last one). After selecting your choice you are treated with a hand drawn comic book style cut-scene showing the lasting effects of your choice. These are entertaining to watch but do not add anything to the game. For those interested in collectibles, in each chapter there are cat statues to find and shoot as well as radio logs to hunt down.
The gameplay is catered to co-operative play with the game being much more enjoyable if you have a live person playing with you. The AI handles itself well and is competent enough for those going solo. The cover system is not as in depth as other games and relies on a “suck-in” type feature that as long as you are near the object it will automatically bring you into the cover. One downfall is that there is no elegant way to move from cover to cover beside a sprint-and-slide. The gunplay is very responsive and accurate with plenty of customization options that can be accessed at anytime (as long as you are not in the middle of a firefight). One huge nuisance with the gunplay is the need to manually change which shoulder you are viewing (and shooting) over. Even when stuck to cover it will not change which shoulder you look over not matter which side of cover you are on. This becomes extremely aggravating when in the heat of battle you are struggling to get the right angle to shoot an enemy. The “Aggro System” is back which shows the aggression of each player. The more “aggro” a player has the more the enemies will focus their attack on that particular person. This also makes the other player turn nearly invisible and make it easy to flank the enemies. This system works almost too well because the player that has no “aggro” (i.e. the other player is being the aggressor) can run almost right next to enemy combatants without anyone firing shots that them.
Beyond the single player campaign there are 4 multiplayer modes (3 available on the disc with the 4 being only available to those who pre-order the game for the first month). The multiplayer, just like the single player, is focused on co-op play. In each mode you must have a partner with you and work together to stay competitive. Only your partner has the ability to revive you once you are downed. This keeps the co-op intact because you must work closely together as to not get separated across the map when one of you goes down. The modes run the standard fair with a co-op deathmatch, capture the flag (base), warzone (objective based co-op multiplayer) and extraction (i.e. firefight/horde mode). Warzone pits teams against each other to complete objectives. When a team successfully completes the objective a new one will immediately pop up. The extraction mode is a twist on the horde mode and firefight mode found in Gears of War 2 and Halo: ODST. Teams must fight off waves of increasingly difficult enemies and survive to extraction. As stated, the extraction mode is not available out of the box for those who did not pre-order and receive a code. The mode will be available about a month after the initial release. One major shortcoming of the online is the inability to bring customized weapons from the single player campaign in. After all the customization done during the game the inability to bring your hard work into the online field is a huge miss.
Overall Army of Two: The 40 Day is a great game to be played with friends but solo players may just warrant a rent. The single player is a bit lackluster and does not require more than 2 playthroughs (if you wish to see all the morality choices) and leaves little reason or incentive to return back to it again. The multiplayer can be a lot of fun, again, if you have friends who also play. But, jumping in with unknown individuals is a mixed bag and tends to be more frustrating than enjoyable when your partner does not work as a team. I highly anticipated this sequel but the short single player and the need to only play with known friends online keeps this game from being a mainstay in most peoples gaming libraries.
Pros: Online modes are much improved from the first game and give the game high replay value. Game is tailor made for co-op play (and does it very well). Top notch weapons customization.
Cons: Short campaign (around 5-6 hours). Online modes rely strictly on co-op play which leaves the solo gamer the need to jump in blind with unknown partners (can be a frustrating experience). No auto-cam leaves you to manual move the camera constantly.