Army Of Two The 40th Day

March 5, 2010 at 5:40 am | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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Click this link to see the review

The 40th Day was a sneaky release. EA had kept rather quiet about the sequel to one of the best co-op shooters there was, until dropping the info about it about 6 months before its release. But was this launch a little rushed? Or is this a welcome return of EA’s favourite two buddies?

40th Day follows a little while after the first game where war vets and best friends Rios and Salem have started their own privatized contractor company Trans World Operations. Cunningly known as T.W.O. and are in Shanghai, China to perform a routine contract that was planned to be quick and painless when the city is taken a siege by an unknown force. Buildings are torn apart and the whole city is nearly leveled with our two favorite contractors caught up in the middle of it.

Regarding main story, that’s about it for The 40th Day. The games very shy on really letting up on why PMC’s have banded together for a full on assault of the city. Little is known or uncovered throughout. And your still left rather clueless as to why after you complete the game and our characters are also a little numb to the events. It’s a little sad to have such a game in the story but it’s something we can only hope for in some future DLC.

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The game plays main mechanic is still the agro tactic. Where one character decides to take the full brunt of the enemy attack and acts as a distraction whilst our other player sneaks around undetected and takes out enemies with ease. Whilst our Friendly A.I. is still some of the top-notch to want to have as a team mate, the Single Player way is usually to let the A.I. take the work load as you Solid Snake your way around enemies and pick them off quietly. It’s not until you play the game with a friend that you can really experiment.

Something which was praised for within Army Of Two was its in-depth, and quite frankly awesome gun customization options. Turning that measly pea shooter into a fear-inducing, pant staining weapon of doom was always something you couldn’t wait to do. The crazy amount of after market parts you could transform your guns into was brilliant and it was always fun to show off the big guns to your co-op buddies. The 40th Day, customization is not so much a step forward on that. Or a step back. More of a…side step.

A majority of the weapons you may have turned into something totally unrecognizable in the original now have rather limited, or somewhat tame additions. Most gun parts for assault and sniper rifles only have to be bought once and can then be added to all weapons. There’s also a fair lot less uniqueness to it. I can purchase all upgradeable M4 rifle parts. Then add them to the body of an AK47, basically just making it look more like an M4. Rather than the doomsday device you’d brandish in the original. The pistols have taken the biggest knock with only having the options for a silencer or muzzle enhancer which doesn’t really invoke as much fear as before. Other than that, you can only paint it. The paint, HAS improved however. It used to be plain old stock colours, or pimping out with some chrome, gold and platinum weapons. Now, a lot more designs are available including a series of impressive and varied camo designs all the way to some fancy rainbow colours and rather bright and in your face interesting designs. You aren’t going to mess with a guy with a pink gun with hearts on…are you?

Keeping with what AO2 was really properly known for, more Co-op features have been added, sadly, it’s at the expense of the original ones. Classics like Back to Back are only in the game about 2-3 times, things like co-op snipe is incredibly difficult with an A.I. partner, co-op shield has grown a little redundant unless playing on harder difficulties and things like swapping weapons and utilizing step up shooting have been completely removed. In its place is the new fake surrender, which allows you pretend to surrender yourself, you can either allow a partner to take out the enemies at a distance, or surprise them yourself with a quick draw from your pistol. This move however is not usable whenever you like. Whilst it gets more times to use than other moves, it’s still only at predetermined areas.

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The game also jumps on the morality wagon with hostage situations and ‘consequence situations’ where gamers are given a choice at certain points in the games story. Both choices are of extreme morality with one good and the other bad. After making these decisions, were given an animated sequence following what happens after this decision is made which usually involves a non playable character that the decision was about. Whilst its cool to get all these, of both good decisions and bad, the final decision (obviously being the main ending for the game) doesn’t really have that much of an impact and well and truly confused me as to which ending was actually cannon. Puzzling me as to whether there could possibly be a sequel or not. Which, as being a fan of the AO2 characters, I’m seriously hoping there will be.

The game just about manages to keep the friendly banter between the two characters going. A lot of the funny moments between the too like in the first have been removed and most of the friendly digs and banter are now purely verbal. The beating each other up is still there but only has a couple of animations now and is a lot more awkward to perform, as is the new rock paper scissors game you can play between you. Where it’s only really playable when combat is at its quietist, or just before/after a checkpoint.

Thankfully, EA thought better of themselves and decided to open the Versus mode to all regions. Hooraaay! And instead, the decided to place the new multiplayer mode, which plays a lot like the co-op favorites Horde (GOW2) and Zombie Waves (CODWAW) on a timed exclusive for those who re-ordered it specially. Sigh. EA when will you learn?

With all that, the game still manages an impressive visual feat for each level. Unlike the first, the game is set all in one place, so we’re swapping the Aircraft Carriers and exotic locations for Skyscrapers and building complexes.

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Unknown to my knowledge until playing this sequel. Nolan North is pretty much everywhere these days. And why the hell not. He’s voiced some pretty iconic characters in some heavy AAA titles, most notably Playstations Nathan Drake (Uncharted 1/2), Assassins Creed’ rainman Desmond Miles and even your male character in Fable 2. Suffice to say, North also voices that of loud mouth Salem, brining yet another great character to life, delivering one half of a friendship you can really believe in.

Again, like the original AO2, the campaign is relatively short. Around 40-50 minutes for each of the 6 chapters. Replayable for the multiple morality decisions/ending. Plenty of kill related achievements and just playing it in co-op of course, despite its issues, it’s always good to play with a friend. There is also DLC Chapters in the works.

Whilst AO2…2 doesn’t hit the mark in the ways of groundbreaking sequels, the games not an avoidable title. For the Salem and Rios fans out there, it’s a good continuation of the series. For the new guys out there. Buy the original first. If you like it, then you’ll enjoy this one. Which by then, you can probably get hold of this one relatively cheap.


7.0

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