Some of you may be familiar with a game that dropped a few years back called Army of Two. It was a third person shooter much akin to Gears of war, but it featured two bad ass ex army rangers turned mercenaries. The game boasted the use of co-op (both AI and a second person) to complete the game’s many missions set across the globe and the past two decades.
You play as Salem or Rios. Salem is a wise cracking little guy with a temper to boot and a trigger finger to match. Rios is a lumbering behemoth who, though bearing the face of one caught making out with a wood chipper, is more subtle and easy going. (Easy going for a Bad ass Ex Army Ranger turned merc that is.)
The first game stirred up heat for its use of the trade center attacks on September 11th, which gives cause to many of the missions you play. Another fine element was weapon customization. From shotgun to assault rifle, to gold plated sniper rifle, this game had some very nifty things though it was very limited. EA Montreal returns with the followup, The 40th day.
The game itself is nothing short of amazing from a story point of view. Salem and Rios are in Shanghai for a quick money maker that turns into a full out action movie. The game starts off a bit slow, with a short intro/controls/ here’s what we upgraded mission, then catapults you into an all out war zone. Planes falling from the sky, buildings blowing up, streets on fire, and a large group of well-armed soldiers storming the greater part of shanghai. The game features the same cover oriented/co-op geared shooter that the first one did, but tosses in a new morality feature. You are faced with choices very early on that you can accept for money or deny for no reward. What is really interesting is that they take your choices a step further.
The game’s cut scenes and some level ending sequences draw upon a comic book styled write out. These moral moments use that comic style to explain what happened to Joe Everysecurityguard that you shot, or let run you out of an embassy armory. It does this with many instances in the game which, in my opinion, is a nice thing to have. Instead of picking your choice and moving on, you get a bit of detail as to your concequences. Your partner (depending on the PC, will also be affected by descisions.)
AI in the game is improved, offering up enemies who move as a unit and are somewhat versed in using the environment as cover. Fire fights are not just linear duct and spray, as they are in some games. Enemies will flank, draw fire, even bring in grenadiers and RPG teams to try and flush you out of cover. The environment plays a big part in the game as well. Tables, crates, cars, animal cages (no joke), electrical box doors, can all be used as static or mobile cover. At one point you can even use a giant South African tribal head as a shield. Team mate AI is, sadly, still lacking. While your partner will generally benefit you the, times when he will sit and wait while he needs to move something for you in advance or he will stand in the open and shell enemies while you bleed out at his feet are very likely to happen. Not to say this couldn’t be remedied with a second player.
Now on to the one thing separating AoT from most shooters, guns. While most are familiar with MW2’s shoddy weapon attachments, or the first Army game, you are in for a surprise. The game boasts quite a few weapons which are split into main, secondary, and special. Primary (main) encompasses rifles, shotguns, and sub-machine guns as well as the occasional heavy MG. Secondary is pistols, three to be exact. Not much to say for them. Special is where the sniper rifles and RPG call home. You start of with one of each weapon and progress to either buy or unlock most of the others.
Here’s the beauty of The 40th Day. Any gun you buy can be swapped with parts from one another. Want an AK-47 with out a wooden stock? Want that stock to be from an M4? You got it. Want an M4 with the barrel of an M16 and a 100 round drum magazine? As well as a tactical foreward grip, undermounted M203, SCREWDRIVER BAYONET and SODA CAN SILENCER? Boy have they got a deal for you! The game features several mods you can buy in a pinch (costing from 10-40 dollars as opposed to the thousands for legit parts) like screwdrivers, sharpened sticks, soda cans, and even a nifty stock made from some pipe and a block of wood.
The customization is absolutely outlandish and fantastic. The ability to have two primary weapons (one replaces a special weapon) is also a good way to mix up battles. Combat in the game also shows off the wild movie-like setting of the game. Battles take place everywhere from a zoo to half of a collapsing sky scrapper.
Over all the game offers up much improvement from the first AoT, and hopefully puts in for another game. The mix of good story with comic like interludes as well as the game’s moral choices, ranging from killing a man to saving hostages, adds a decent amount to the game. The multiplayer offers 3 modes of play and lets players try their hand at 5v5 battles in maps spanning the game’s story. Anyone who preordered the game was rewarded with a month’s worth of exclusive access to a fifth multiplayer level.
For what it’s worth Army of Two: The 40th Day is a good game for solo or co-op play, especially if you intend to play with another human being. The amount of weapon mods is fantastic, and the ability to swap out parts at nearly any time gives players a big advantage, should they know how to use it.
- Awesome story
- Battle fields that can change throughout the fight
- Plethora of weapons to create and choose
- Fun interactions and comedic relief
- Sometimes poor partner AI
- Small multiplayer (5v5)
- All ammo has to been found, leaving you in some tight spots if your not careful
Final Score: 8.5/10 (Great)