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Monday, April 5, 2010

Army of Two: The 40th Day Impression

Army of Two: The 40th Day
Army of Two: The 40th Day sees the return of one-lining mercs Rios and Salem, this time in a Shanghai setting where everything gets blown up but good. When the first Army of Two hit and missed on reaching its full potential (thanks delays) a follow-up was inevitable. The questions on gamers lips needs to be has the 40th Day improved enough to warrant another romp with Rios and Salem, should it prompt gamers who passed on the first to dive in now and is it just plain worth the duckets needed to purchase. Let’s take a look …

Gameplay – Take control, with an AI or real world buddy, of mercenaries Rios and Salem as they fight their way out of a destroyed Shanghai where a larger conspiracy is at play (not to mentions tons more PMC’s and Mercs). Core gameplay require cooperation to flank, trick and destroy enemies and a newly added morality system makes each choice to rescue, kill a tough one. In-between and during missions gamers can customize their weapons to suit the situation and the choices are much larger than the first Ao2. The Aggro, buddy, system gets to utilize a new GPS system to tag enemies and track them for better situational tactics. Each of these new systems, features are layered on top of a very improved third-person co-op shoot fest that requires much more than guns blazing mayhem. Beyond the single player, co-op, story driven mode there are a few multi-player modes worth taking advantage of, but they were not played here and thus will not be reviewed.

Graphics – Upgraded in every way from the original. While the game takes place in one city over a few days the environments manage to feel varied and carry a nice level of detail. Little additions like dust and debris from explosions adds to a nice, next-gen looking title. The lighting effects are shown off by sharp shadows. Tattoos and the customization of weapons are just a few more areas that show off a great level to detail to go with two very varied, gruff looking … heroes?

Sound – Rios and Salem may delivery cheese at times but their voice work is spot on. How games have changed from the ridiculousness of the original Resident Evil. These one-liners have been scaled back from the first game but when they do hit, it just feels right. The weapons each sound unique, even after customization, and it adds a level of satisfaction to hearing an instrument of destruction so lovingly crafted by the gamer.

Design – Weapon customization is deep and fun, a great design element. The city … well it’s just a city blown to pieces but fighting in a zoo and mall, this is fun and different. Some of the settings do feel bland, constrained, but overall the gamer will be focusing on the mission at hand and from a design standpoint, the battles are the star of the show. Co-op feels natural and it fits a challenge of the first title.

Miscellaneous – The story had potential but did not quite deliver, so let’s go with the co-op mode. The first Ao2 was built on this premise of having the fight with, rely on a buddy, but at times it felt very forced and unnatural. Ao2 2 delivers on the original promise in a big way with ‘that feels right’ situations worthy of a play through. One recommendation is to play with a buddy, even with the split-screen, on a big ol’ TV.

Overall, fans of the first Army of Two will enjoy The 40th Day. It improves on enough areas and was not delayed like the original. Ok, that’s a cheap shot, but this is a solid, fun, game built on violence that is one of the more enjoyable games to play with a bud. The gameplay is solid, co-op well done, graphics tight and sound funny and good. For those who passed on the first the game is worth the purchase but if there was no joy in Army of Two, the 40th Day won’t change gamer’s minds, even with all its improvements.

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