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Army of Two, 2: Fistbumps Are Out, "Cloverfield" Is In

No more air guitar or other bro-heavy antics in EA Montreal's next shooter, but you can expect a heavy dose of destruction in exchange.

No Natty Ice or GameCube to be found in this sequel.
No Natty Ice or GameCube to be found in this sequel.
EA was happy with sales for Army of Two, the co-op shooter that came out of its Montreal studio this time last year--happy enough to immediately put a sequel into production, at least. But it wasn't as pleased with Army of Two's tepid critical reception, which drubbed the game for stilted cooperative mechanics, and even more so for the over-the-top bromantic hijinks of its two buddy mercs, Salem and Rios. Those guys seemed like they ought to be slamming a Dew in between high fives and silly quips as they killed a bunch of people for money. Maybe that was a missed opportunity for some righteous brand synergy.

Well, you can forget the soft drink tie-ins. With the Army of Two sequel The 40th Day, EA Montreal has wisely realized that air guitar stopped being cool in... well, was air guitar ever cool? In other words, the fistbumps and other goofy emotes of the first game are being stripped out of the sequel, which will see Salem and Rios traveling to Shanghai to conduct more of their trademark military operations for hire. The Montreal studio is aiming for a more serious, believable tone this time around, and literally the biggest way to do that is to make The 40th Day more like the movie Cloverfield.

That doesn't mean any giant monsters will be rampaging through Shanghai (though, come to think of it, that would be pretty sweet); it means the creative minds are aiming for the same sort of large-scale, in-your-face destruction and chaos that propelled Cloverfield from moment to moment. Specifically, some kind of massive, man-made disaster will befall the city early on in our mercenary duo's mission, and it will continue to reshape your surroundings and affect events through the duration of The 40th Day's campaign.

The exact nature of the game's calamity is yet to be revealed, but here's how it will manifest in a practical sense. During an early-game rooftop firefight, just as Salem and Rios were polishing off the last of the bad guys, a group of fighter jets swooped overhead, and the next thing I knew, entire skyscrapers were exploding and crumbling all around the building the mercs were standing on. The entire skyline in one direction was gone in a matter of seconds. It was an eye-openingly big, destructive moment that I hope is only the first of many. That kind of set piece action moment really punches up the core action in a game like this.

Who's under that mask? You'll find out from time to time.
Who's under that mask? You'll find out from time to time.
The folks at EA Montreal seem a lot more confident about the core mechanics in the first Army of Two, so they aren't reinventing the sequel's wheel in that department. But there are a few interesting updates in here. The most noticeable is the Playbook, a large hovering information readout that seems to pop up in the game world, right in front of your merc. You can scan individual enemies before they've noticed your presence to get a list of actions that will work on them, including killing them silently or holding them hostage. You can also tag enemies and friendlies green and red, respectively, allowing your partner to see their color-coded forms from a distance and through walls. The applications for that feature in co-op play are obvious.

There's also a range of stylistic and technical improvements in this sequel that are meant to get you a little more invested in the action. The two mercs' masks will now come up in between firefights, allowing you to see some lip sync and actual emotion in their faces (the idea being, of course, to give them more character). One of the game's engineers spent a good chunk of time implementing an advanced foot-planting system that makes the mercs step realistically over steps, debris, and other obstacles. All this sort of stuff is designed to get you feeling more hands-on with the game world.

The designers also want you to get morally involved with what's happening in The 40th Day. You'll have more freedom this time around to decide how you go about completing a given objective, and that freedom will be complicated by the presence of civilians that can help or hinder your efforts. The example I saw involved three enemies holding some civvies hostage, about to execute them. The player had the choice to run in and spray bullets everywhere, potentially killing the innocents, or more meticulously creeping in and going for a hostage grab that would let the civilians escape. You'll reap rewards, like advanced weapons parts, from innocent people you spare, so there will a tangible gameplay reward to playing the good guy even if you're short on an internal sense of morality.

The 40th Day is clearly taking things more seriously than the original Army of Two did, which I'm hoping is the right choice. It certainly seems to fit with the bigger sense of scale and destruction in the backdrop, though I hope EA Montreal is able to reestablish Salem and Rios as believable, sympathetic characters who aren't just out to make a profit despite the human cost.

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Brad Shoemaker on Google+
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Avatar image for brad
Posted By Brad
No Natty Ice or GameCube to be found in this sequel.
No Natty Ice or GameCube to be found in this sequel.
EA was happy with sales for Army of Two, the co-op shooter that came out of its Montreal studio this time last year--happy enough to immediately put a sequel into production, at least. But it wasn't as pleased with Army of Two's tepid critical reception, which drubbed the game for stilted cooperative mechanics, and even more so for the over-the-top bromantic hijinks of its two buddy mercs, Salem and Rios. Those guys seemed like they ought to be slamming a Dew in between high fives and silly quips as they killed a bunch of people for money. Maybe that was a missed opportunity for some righteous brand synergy.

Well, you can forget the soft drink tie-ins. With the Army of Two sequel The 40th Day, EA Montreal has wisely realized that air guitar stopped being cool in... well, was air guitar ever cool? In other words, the fistbumps and other goofy emotes of the first game are being stripped out of the sequel, which will see Salem and Rios traveling to Shanghai to conduct more of their trademark military operations for hire. The Montreal studio is aiming for a more serious, believable tone this time around, and literally the biggest way to do that is to make The 40th Day more like the movie Cloverfield.

That doesn't mean any giant monsters will be rampaging through Shanghai (though, come to think of it, that would be pretty sweet); it means the creative minds are aiming for the same sort of large-scale, in-your-face destruction and chaos that propelled Cloverfield from moment to moment. Specifically, some kind of massive, man-made disaster will befall the city early on in our mercenary duo's mission, and it will continue to reshape your surroundings and affect events through the duration of The 40th Day's campaign.

The exact nature of the game's calamity is yet to be revealed, but here's how it will manifest in a practical sense. During an early-game rooftop firefight, just as Salem and Rios were polishing off the last of the bad guys, a group of fighter jets swooped overhead, and the next thing I knew, entire skyscrapers were exploding and crumbling all around the building the mercs were standing on. The entire skyline in one direction was gone in a matter of seconds. It was an eye-openingly big, destructive moment that I hope is only the first of many. That kind of set piece action moment really punches up the core action in a game like this.

Who's under that mask? You'll find out from time to time.
Who's under that mask? You'll find out from time to time.
The folks at EA Montreal seem a lot more confident about the core mechanics in the first Army of Two, so they aren't reinventing the sequel's wheel in that department. But there are a few interesting updates in here. The most noticeable is the Playbook, a large hovering information readout that seems to pop up in the game world, right in front of your merc. You can scan individual enemies before they've noticed your presence to get a list of actions that will work on them, including killing them silently or holding them hostage. You can also tag enemies and friendlies green and red, respectively, allowing your partner to see their color-coded forms from a distance and through walls. The applications for that feature in co-op play are obvious.

There's also a range of stylistic and technical improvements in this sequel that are meant to get you a little more invested in the action. The two mercs' masks will now come up in between firefights, allowing you to see some lip sync and actual emotion in their faces (the idea being, of course, to give them more character). One of the game's engineers spent a good chunk of time implementing an advanced foot-planting system that makes the mercs step realistically over steps, debris, and other obstacles. All this sort of stuff is designed to get you feeling more hands-on with the game world.

The designers also want you to get morally involved with what's happening in The 40th Day. You'll have more freedom this time around to decide how you go about completing a given objective, and that freedom will be complicated by the presence of civilians that can help or hinder your efforts. The example I saw involved three enemies holding some civvies hostage, about to execute them. The player had the choice to run in and spray bullets everywhere, potentially killing the innocents, or more meticulously creeping in and going for a hostage grab that would let the civilians escape. You'll reap rewards, like advanced weapons parts, from innocent people you spare, so there will a tangible gameplay reward to playing the good guy even if you're short on an internal sense of morality.

The 40th Day is clearly taking things more seriously than the original Army of Two did, which I'm hoping is the right choice. It certainly seems to fit with the bigger sense of scale and destruction in the backdrop, though I hope EA Montreal is able to reestablish Salem and Rios as believable, sympathetic characters who aren't just out to make a profit despite the human cost.

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Staff
Avatar image for liveordie1212
Posted By LiveOrDie1212

Cloverfield wasn't that good of a movie anyways.......so, still lame.

Avatar image for death_burnout
Edited By Death_Burnout

This is a good thing.

As long as gun customization is still in...

EDIT: actually i've gone back on it, i think it's disappointing news!

Avatar image for seedofpower
Posted By Seedofpower

Fist bumb, bro.

Avatar image for jakob187
Edited By jakob187
Brad said:
"EA Montreal has wisely realized that air guitar stopped being cool in... well, was air guitar ever cool?"
Someone has never seen Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.  Air guitar has ALWAYS been cool!!!

WYLD STALLYNS!!!

For shame...
Avatar image for andrewb
Edited By AndrewB

If it isn't going to be anything like the first game, why not make it a separate game altogether? Does the name "Army of Two" really mean enough to gamers to make for any substantial value in re-using it?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the original game go through it's "serious" phase before the developers changed everything up and made it the brofest that it became? Remember that second trailer, that gave the two their British banter and comical tone?  It's obvious they're regretting that decision now.

Avatar image for biggerbomb
Posted By BiggerBomb

How was this posted on March 13th? It only just popped up.

/shrug

Army of Two was pretty ridiculous, and in a way that makes me feel "ok" about making fun of it. But, at the same time, I would love to see a video game come-back, of sorts. If Army of Two can show to be, over the coming months, a positive reinvention of the series, I'll start playing air guitar with them.

Avatar image for thehbk
Posted By TheHBK

What the hell?  ah man, thats what made the game so funny, you would think jeff would appreciate it because of how funny 50 cent blood on the sand is.  ryan is gonna be ever so pissed.

Avatar image for williamrlbaker
Edited By WilliamRLBaker

hmmm i still dont get why the coop was stilted i had a blast playing it with friends online, and the AI partner wasn't that bad infact he saved my ass quite a few times.

as for that if air guitar wasn't cool to some people there wouldn't be air guitar competitions.

Avatar image for snail
Posted By Snail

The ability to shoot through walls got my attention. Those graphics look lame though.

Avatar image for imperiousrix
Posted By ImperiousRix

I really couldn't get into the first one, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't because of the goofy fist bumps and what not.  I'm pretty sure it was because it played like ass...

Avatar image for incrediblebulk92
Posted By IncredibleBulk92

 "You'll reap rewards, like advanced weapons parts, from innocent people you spare"


Weird, does that mean that people actually carry Grenade Launcher and red Dot Sights around just incase their involved in a hostage situation and they need some way to convince the SWAT team not to blow them away?

I think this game was a guilty pleasure of mine last year.  Me and a friend played through it with a couple of beers and we enjoyed it fine.  I think I just loved buying new guns and strapping new bits on them.  I know I'm a sucker but I'll play anything that has a weapon upgrade system.

Also LiveOrDie1212. Screw you! Cloverfield was awesome...beside the end bit.
Avatar image for galrick
Posted By Galrick

Thanks for the heads-up Brad. Like many I was disappointed with the original and would have liked it to be... well, better. So if they're aiming for a more mature, more intense story and a more evolved game design... I'm pretty sure something nice can come out of this one.

Avatar image for boogiewonder
Posted By BoogieWonder

seriousness is lame

Avatar image for prinny_god
Edited By prinny_god

they are going in the wrong the should have made it more goofy and wacky seriousness is boring

Avatar image for williamrlbaker
Posted By WilliamRLBaker

Another thing is people were bothered by the fist bumps and air guitar but it rarely happend, When im playing online coop we never do it, and i rarely ever did it with the AI partner infact the only time i did do it was on the tutorial level and thats it...

Avatar image for dsplayer1010
Posted By dsplayer1010

Good

Avatar image for thegreatguero
Posted By TheGreatGuero

I thought Cloverfield was really great, actually.

Avatar image for lazyimperial
Posted By Lazyimperial

Hopefully they keep some humor in the game though. Too much grim moodiness, pain, and doom will make this more of a Gears of War clone than it already kind of is. *shrug*  Oh well, at least it is going to have a sequel!

Avatar image for venatio
Posted By Venatio

Sounds good

Avatar image for liveordie1212
Posted By LiveOrDie1212

@ IncredibleBulk92

 

hey man, fuck you. if you happen to like Cloverfield that doesn't mean everyone have to like it too.

Avatar image for flipperdesert
Posted By FlipperDesert

Gaaah, can't they find a decent balance between fistbumps and Cloverfield? :( Games take themselves too damn seriously as it is now.

Avatar image for vinchenzo
Posted By Vinchenzo

Mediocre series continues to look mediocre!

Avatar image for gzl5000
Posted By gzl5000

Well done, take out the only thing about the game that differentiates it from every other shooter on the market. The original had terrible gameplay, the only reason ANYONE noticed it was the ridiculous fratboy-ness. Now it's gonna be...what? Mercenaries 2 desctruction + GOW (2) gameplay + RE 5/Splinter cell multiplayer companion character + Every game ever "moral choices."


I'm convinced that after Fallout 3 the FPS has gone as far as it can possibly go in terms of anything interesting.
Avatar image for lordandrew
Posted By LordAndrew

"No Natty Ice or GameCube to be found in this sequel."
I don't get it. Am I missing a reference to something?

Avatar image for hoshnasi
Posted By Hoshnasi

By the time this is out, it'll be the nail in the coffin of co-op shooters for a while.  I'm ready for big multi-player on platform personally. 

Avatar image for razzuel
Posted By Razzuel

What!? The fist bumps and air guitar were removed; that is fucking lame. I don't want another serious game; the goofiness of of Army of Two is one of the things that made the game so awesome. Me and my friend had a blast playing the game and those little interactions between Salem and Rios made the game that much better.

This is a shame.

Avatar image for yotaruvegeta
Posted By VichusSmith

I know who's under the mask. It's Samus Aran, right? Well, maybe it's Chyna, judging from the muscles. :)

Avatar image for sirn00bal0t
Posted By Sirn00bal0t

The Air guitar is awsome.

Avatar image for ghettogabe224
Posted By ghettogabe224

anyone get the bro rape reference in the caption under the first picture?

Avatar image for regularassmilk
Posted By regularassmilk

Air Guitar!
Bunnanananananananbunabunanannanananana

Avatar image for origina1penguin
Posted By Origina1Penguin

I actually enjoyed the first game (co-op, at least).  It seems quality control will be more important this time around, so I'm definitely interested.  I hope it keeps the option to "bling" your weapons amidst the new serious approach.

Avatar image for maxszy
Posted By Maxszy

The reason I played some of the game with a friend was because it was SO ridiculous and over the top! It made it laugh out loud funny! The problem with it, was that the mechanics were broken or just stupid. Aggro meter? Seriously? Or game breaking glitches like the boss not being able to get hurt. Happened to us 3 times in a row at one point.

Keep the first bumping action and the over the top ridiculousness of it, keep it co-op and make the gameplay sound and it would be a really popular game.

Avatar image for afroman269
Posted By Afroman269

Maybe this game will be just as good as cloverfield. Haha brace for epic failure.

Avatar image for kiemoe
Posted By Kiemoe

I'm not gettting my hopes up just yet. I got hella excited for the first one after reading a cover story about it in EGM, but none of that stuff got into the actual game. So I'm just gonna hope Giant Bomb gets in a review or at least a quick look for me.

Avatar image for samuslave
Posted By SamuSlave

The bromance antics of the first is what made it retarded fun and replacing it with scripted explosions just sounds dumb.

Avatar image for bulldog19892
Posted By Bulldog19892

Cloverfield sucked, but if Army of Two 2 had a monster (maybe a man made monster) rampaging around Shanghai along with the military style third person combat, and maybe a fight or two with the monster itself, the game would have instantly peaked my interest.

Avatar image for shuref00t
Posted By shuref00t

Nah, Army of Two should stay silly and campy. The reviews won't be as entertaining now. Seriously, Brah!

Avatar image for ratzombie
Edited By ratzombie

I agree with the rest of you, they should be making the sequel even more over the top and hilarious. Now it's going to be another game in an oversaturated genre.

Avatar image for johndudebro
Posted By JohnDudebro

Sure, they say all the bro-ness will be gone. But halfway through development they'll realize it sells and put it back in again.

Avatar image for jedted
Posted By Jedted

Air Guitar was ALWAYS cool!!!!!

Avatar image for unholyone123
Posted By unholyone123

The original game was just okay. This is definitely going to be a tough sell for EA.

Avatar image for tombodemon
Posted By TomboDemon

im one of the lovers of cloverfield
truly great, not all stories can have happy endings
although yeh they could have stretched out everyone dying for another 20 minutes

Avatar image for thecreambun
Posted By TheCreambun

Well this sucks. I really liked the silly nature of the first AoT. Everything about that game was so damn over the top that it wont be anything like the first game if they take out the sillyness.... Or it will make the silly bits left in the game seem ridiculous.


Well heres to hoping they do a decent job.... I would hate to be disappointed with Army of Two 2
Avatar image for gizmo
Posted By Gizmo

The first AO2 was so extremely dissapointing for me.

Avatar image for cikame
Posted By cikame

I liked the air guitarness of the first one :(

Avatar image for reverseface
Posted By Reverseface

Great it's now gonna be like every other fucking 3rd person shooter all serious. All that goofy stuff made this game unique me and my friend had great fun doing stupid fish bumps and hitting each other while doing the missions. So great job EA making it Another generic fucking souless clone.

Avatar image for captain_fookup
Posted By Captain_Fookup

The bromance was this series only saving grace, the removal of said bromance makes this game just another generic third person shooter.

Avatar image for vanfarley
Posted By vanfarley

nice "bro rape" reference brad! 


"Yeah man I hope it's cool but I like to play gamecube with my pants off"
Avatar image for burjeffton--defunct
Posted By burjeffton--defunct

Cloverfield, huh? So does this mean the game will be devoid of a plot?

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