Gaming Review of... Army of Two: The 40th Day
Army of Two: The 40 Day is a Modern Day Military Shooter developed by EA Montreal and Published by EA. As the sequel to the original Army of Two game; Army of Two: The 40 Day still relies heavily on its co-op based gameplay and mechanics as you will rarely leave your partners side. However, the big question is, has EA made a co-op shooter that works well in co-op as well as in single-player?
Firstly, the story in 40 Day is near non-existent. The story follows Rios and Salem, the focused characters from the original game, as they flee from shanghai as it crumbles around them. You will battle a privately hired military group through seven chapters as they unleash varied heavies while your characters attempt to escape the destruction in shanghai. For a more in-depth and focused reason for why all this chaos is breaking out, you will have to collect radio logs located around the levels and listen to them in the pause menu to gain the full story. This can be easily over-looked however, since the game doesn’t focus so much on the story as the action, you can just go through the game, killing the enemies and moving on.
Within the game, there is very little motivation or story that gets you from point-to-point. The cut scenes give you a good enough reason for why Rios and Salem fight in the areas they are in and why they help characters within the game, but there is little focus other then the city of shanghai is in a mess.
At certain points within each level of the game, you are given a moral choice which does very little to change the story but lets you make decisions to help humanize your characters and place them in real world scenarios. Within these choices, there is no good or bad decision, as once your decision is made, you will see some static images explaining you choice, and usually showing what you thought was the ‘good choice’ being the bad choice, and the ‘bad choice’ being the bad choice. These little gameplay decisions usually leave you with the feeling that no matter what you chose, it wasn’t the right one.
With Army of Two being a co-operative shooter, you will always have your partner with you, no matter if you’re playing solo, split-screen or online. The gameplay also focuses on the co-op. The game still revolves around the aggro system introduced in the first Army of Two game were loud stretches of firing will cause one character to have high aggro and a lot of the AI’s attention, while the other character has low aggro and is barely noticed by the AI until he starts firing, giving him opportunity to flank the AI or silently kill enemies.
The weapon customisation within the game can play a part in how much aggro your character gains as you can attach different parts of other weapons to your gun, as well as silencers, front mounts, shotguns, and red dot sights which can make your shoots gain a lot of aggro or very little aggro depending on how you spec your weapons. You can also add paint schemes to your guns which affects the amount of aggro you gain, but nothing else, such as making your gun gold or having diamond grenades can give you high aggro but has no other effect on gameplay.
Even though the weapon customisation and the aggro system work well, it isn’t really needed as the enemies are easy enough to kill without changing the stats of your weaponry. There are a few heavier, special type enemies that are heavily armoured and require you to shoot them in certain spots around there body to take them down, but other than that the game isn’t really challenging on normal difficulty. The further in the game you go and the better weapons you buy, the more the game can be played as a simple third-person cover based shooter, rather than a tactical co-op shooter.
At the beginning of the game, when you start to see shanghai being ripped apart and blown-up, the game looks great. All the characters look good throughout the game and the environments feature some great looking skylines and destruction going on in shanghai. But the further into the game you go, the less focus is given to shanghai being destroyed as the environments become very plain and unattractive. One level near the end of the game is near black and white and features very dull city streets to which you have to fight through.
Rios and Salem do look tough through the game, and the character models change as you advance through the story to show that they are fighting through some seriously messed up stuff. They also sound great, as is expected from the video game famous voice actor Nolan North who voices Salem. The enemy variety seems to be just enough, as they vary special enemies without over doing it. Although they all look the same.
The game is a co-op shooter and can be played with another human being which is, granted, much better than playing with the AI partner. The AI comes with issues when attempting to perform two important parts of the games mechanics. The first issue comes when you try to give you partner commands such as advance or hold position. The AI will either run straight into the group of enemies and die, or he will stand still and not shoot anyone. The second issue is when you are downed. The AI likes to drag you around in circles without moving away from the enemies and then attempt to revive you in the middle of them. These issues were not there when playing with another person.
The game played much smoother and faster when in co-op. Also, the aggro system and co-operative moments such as co-op sniping was more fun and tactical when playing with someone other than the AI.
The online multiplayer feels thrown on and unfinished in many cases. It doesn’t change anything in terms of multiplayer shooters. There are your basic modes such as capture the point, death match and control point which can be played with up to 10 players across 6 maps. Similar to the single player, it is advised that you stick together and cover each other.
Army of Two: The 40 Day comes with its many issues and for me, when playing the game I felt that the story should have ended at chapter 5 and given it a more closed ending but instead I feel that it is dragged out and unneeded.
The 40 Day is a good enough co-op shooter, but if you are a hardcore shooter fan, this game may become long winded and boring for you.