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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Post Eurogamer 09

November 3, 2009 at 3:45 am | Posted in Articles, Events, Update posts | Leave a comment
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What a weekend!

After attending both days of the London leg of Eurogamer Expo 09 Im A. Totally knackered. and B. Looking forward to tons of new games on thier way very shortly!

I got my hands on tons of new games to come soon and even replayed a few old ones, but the events been great fun. Met new people. Had a good laugh with some of the staff, and even met the boss in the flesh. Got to speak to a few devs and Im also aware of the effects of Sambuca on an empty stomach. (Nothing gross dont worry!)

Ill be using this post as a link hub to all the features I write up for Eurogamer, as well as a link to the video featuring me on Inside Xbox! Thats right, myself and Corporal Kitty had a bit of a chin wag with SuperKaylo on the Friday, so keep an eye out for more stuff to come!

Previews:

Army of Two: The 40th Day

Assassins Creed II

Avatar/3D Games

Lost Planet 2

Plain Sight

SAW

Split/Second

Tekken 6

 

Pictures/Vids and more to come!

Army Of Two Review

August 10, 2009 at 9:46 pm | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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Link to review

Two’s an Army, Three’s a crowd.

With the amount of stuff revealed before the game came out having been removed by EA its almost hard to believe there’s still a game on the Disc you just paid for. And then with the localization of the online play being region locked. The game didn’t receive good interest by the majority. But, that’s what im here for, and here’s why I say its worth your cash.

Step into the boots of Elliot Salem and Tyson Rios, both Rangers for the Army. After a mission in Somalia in 1993, Dalton your commanding officer is offered a job into privatized military contractor named SSC, and he with better work and much better pay, he gets you two to join him.

Forward to 2001 and the history between the two has really grown. SSC is a huge company and threatens to take over the Army itself. And your story with the two continues with the events off 9/11 and then going through to other places moving forward from ’01.

Really good third person shooters lately have been few and far between. There really hard to find, especially with good co-op to make your companion through the missions that little more interesting which will more than help with only have 6 missions to play through. Each vary in time but will always have a bit more fun to them when you throw a mate into the game with you.

To sum it up, teamwork really is key here. You have to rely on your partner if you want to make it anywhere here. Not only because you’re going to need an extra pair of hands to make it through the hoards of enemies, but also to complete the abilities and features in the game. The most obvious one would be aggro. This is a clever way of being able to take advantage of your surroundings and partner. The way it works, is simple. Whoever is dealing the most damage, and/or making the biggest appearance of a threat to the enemies, will receive almost all the attention from the enemies. Meanwhile, your other team mate, will be almost invisible, allowing them the chance to flank or attack enemies and not have any bother. This is a great way to share out the attention or lure it away from your friend who’s taken too many hits. But remember. The bigger your gun, the more aggro you’ll receive.

If you don’t have a friend to play it, you don’t have to worry. A lot of games which include friendly A.I. sometimes leave you stranded. With AO2 however, you really don’t have to worry about the A.I. You don’t have complete control over your partner besides simple commands like advancing forwards and regrouping, you can however change whether he takes an aggressive stance to take some of the attention, or a defensive take, so you can help him out if he’s getting pinned down too much. Though it’s great to know that the A.I. will have your back when things get hairy

Other team work involved abilities include; Back to Back, where Salem and Rio’s will put their backs together and take on all the enemies incoming in a circular fashion. Step Up, if an objective is too hard to reach alone, use your teammate to give you a boost. Heal, a feature where once you take too many hits, instead of dying you’ll rather fall down, a lot like a ‘bleed out’ mode, except your able to shoot at enemies in this position. Once your team mate reaches you, he’s given the ability to heal you on the spot, or drag you to safety, still giving you the ability to shoot whilst being dragged. Other’s include Riot shield, where you can use a shield or makeshift shield to move around with, with your teammate hiding behind you shooting out at enemies, Co-op snipe, where you can perform sharpshooting simultaneously and Weapon Swap, where if your not happy with the weapon your using and fancy your teammates, you can switch weapons with each other to continue the fight.

With most gaming duo’s you’ll always get some sort of comical banter between the two. This doesn’t fail with that mix, and as done to death with many kids games, it works and is upped to a more adult level here. With comical moments both in film sequences and mid-game it keeps the game interesting and fun, along with the Kudo’s feature. This feature allows you to give a sort of feedback to your player/AI. By pressing A once by your partner they will give each other a sign of props and gratitude. But by pulling the Left trigger will result in a sarcastic comment and a head butt or punch. This, though having no real impact in the game still adds to the fun of the game and also builds in the growing relationship between the two really good friends.

If you fancy getting yourself some new gear, you can use the money earned from completing objectives in the missions to pay for some new weapons, and their upgrades.

Now with most games you’ll find your upgrades being changing the colour, or perhaps rate of fire. However here, you’ll be able to physically make your weapon look like the sweetest thing off the black market. With upgrades varying from barrel type, stock, suppressors, weapons mounted to the front, shield mounts or even platinum or gold plating with designs inscribed. Now who of you doesn’t want a Gold AK47 with a elongated more damaging barrel with a shotgun mounted underneath? Yeah, put your hand down…

Not only are they synthetic coolness, but it also adds and upgrades the usage of it, updating its accuracy, damage, ammo and sometimes upping your aggro. That’s right, the meaner your gun looks, the harder you’ll get hit.

Co-op can be either a split screen or an online job. Online its smooth and works really well, with no lag or any problems making going through the story any kind of problem. After each checkpoint, you’re given to option to do some ‘mid-mission’ shopping if you fancy change of weaponry. Online however this can be a problem. To access the weapons menu, you have to load up a completely new screen up, which takes quite awhile. Then once you’re done, you have to load the game back up. This can really take its toll when you’re going through the game and your mate wants to change his gun, but you just want to get right into the action. If your happy with waiting though, you might as well check out what guns you can afford, or sprucing up what you already have to make it that extra bit powerful.

The online side sticks with the two man army theme again with only 2v2 games. This in a way works well with the teamwork, but also fails in the amount of time you probably won’t see your enemy team in some of the levels as there quite big.

There are only 4 maps for online play, each all have A.I. enemies to keep you and your team mates on your toes. The game types revolve around performing objectives and killing the enemies.

Most of the vehicles originally in the Campaign were removed, leaving only the Hovercraft in main play. However in the online play the vehicles like the Jeep and Tank are still usable to wreck havoc online to aid in your objectives.

If your not listening to the pummeling firepower your receiving or dishing out, you may sometimes get interrupted with some mid-game banter between Salem and Rios.

The games looks are nothing short of flawless. And impressive all the way through. Most notably the film sequences between levels are fun and very well done and are so good you, you feel like just watching those all the time. Its just a real shame there aren’t enough of them with the short story. If you own the game and are unsure as to where my enjoyment from the FMV sequences alone are from, but watch the Miami intro scene. Epic.

But aside from the fancy film sequences and onto the game. The visuals run smooth and rarely ever slip up mid game, if ever. The game keeps a realistic tone and it see’s that through all the way, making sure the experience is kept throughout.

With only 6 missions, despite the varying length, the story won’t have you in it for long. Though being it only 6 missions, there’s still a lot of replay ability in the fact you can chose your favorite mission, not to mention playing it with a mate and trying out on all the difficulties Recruit, Contractor and Professional.

As well as the extra difficulties, 3 briefcases are hidden within each level. They can give you extra cash if you need it and also clock up to an achievement.

The online side will add a fair bit more length, and especially if your after those achievements. The achievements will also add more length to the Single Player, as it will mean you’ll play through and try out almost all of the weapons and moves in the game.

If you’re looking for a new and interesting Third Person Shooter, this is it. As already said, there aren’t very many of them about, and this one is definitely worth it. Even if you don’t have a friend to co-op it with, the Partners A.I. more than makes up for the help, making sure you won’t have to worry about being stranded in the battlefield. Definitely one to watch out for if they decide to keep it going with a sequel.

Rating: 8.1

Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: EA Montreal
Genre: Action
Number of Players: 1-2
Features: Xbox Live, Memory Unit

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