Author Topic: Army of Two: The 40th Day  (Read 1477 times)

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Offline Handshakes

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Army of Two: The 40th Day
« on: January 16, 2010, 09:59:47 PM »
So I seen that Neato bought the new Army of Two game, and that got me to thinking of how much I liked the first game.

That is when I blacked out. Two hours later I woke up on the ground in my basement. There was spittle running down the side of my face, a bloody knife in my left hand, and Army of Two: The 40th Day in the other. Video Game Addiction had struck again.

On the bright side, the new Army of Two is pretty much the same as the first one, only a bit more refined in most ways. Which is a good thing.

Unlike the first game, the story makes no sense at all in this one. Honestly, I can't really even tell you what is happening in the game or why. All I know is buildings are asploding, people are asploding, and everyone in China really wants to kill these two lovable Mercs named Salem & Rios. So the story stinks - but with all of the aforementioned asploding, who cares? They seem to have tried, halfheartedly, to add some graveness to the goings on by giving you some hostage situations and absurd "extreme morality" choices where you choose to be a bad guy or good guy. But the morality situations are ridiculous (IE: shoot this Tiger locked in a cage because the zoo keeper is afraid of it getting loose), and the outcomes are even more ridiculous (you refuse to shoot the Tiger, it get loose and eats a man who is robbing a store - thus giving you +morality points). As for the hostage situations, you will learn to hate them. They seem like a fun gameplay diversion at first, but after rescuing your 20th hostage in more-or-less the same fashion you rescued the first 20 hostages, you will come to dread the little gameplay novelty as much as you learned to hate hacking into vending machines in Bioshock (well, maybe not that much). Also, every two seconds has Rios and Salem cracking another stupid-but-occasionally-kinda-funny bromance joke, which only serves to make the gritty and grave elements of the game seem more out of place and skitzophrenic.

The shooting feels pretty good, and very tactical. Maybe a bit too tactical sometimes. I'm so used to being able to solve every situation by running straight into the fire with my shotgun in tow that I find the tactical focus a bit jarring at times. I've been playing the coop with my buddy who is also a big Gears nut, and between the two of us we end up repeating game sequences over and over due to our repeated rushing. Speaking of repeating sequences, dying in the campaign of Ao2t40D is a PAIN due to a sloppy checkpoint system that will make you replay long unskippable cutscenes as well as force you to refight a pesky battle or two that took place before the even peskier battle that was the source of your prior demise. Neato will likely be quick to point out that the context sensitive cover system is a bit wonky, and he will be right. However, I don't find it a flaw that can't be overlooked. Sometimes it even works, but a little bit too often you'll find yourself desperately trying to get into or out of cover.

If you have played the first game then you are familiar with the agro system, wherein your partner or you distracts the baddies with lots of gunfire while the other guy sneaks around. They have toned it down a bit in the sequel, which is a good thing. In the first game if your buddy had agro you could just about run right into a baddies face and slap him to death before he noticed you. In Ao2t40D running up to the baddies when your partner has full agro will probably get you smoked. This time around the agro system seems to be more for helping to get your buddy out of danger, buying him some healing time from the enemy fire. It all lends to that tactical feel I was explaining earlier.

The difficulty also seems to be changed from the first game. The first game had a couple of tough moments, but I don't recall anything like in Ao2t40D. I've been playing on hard mode with my previously mentioned gamer veteran buddy, and we are dying CONSTANTLY. There doesn't even seem to be much of a difficulty curve. We started our rampant dying from some of the earliest firefights, and we have been getting murdered at a steady pace all through the game so far. Our doomed Gears rushes aside, the fights are still mighty stacked against you. And yet it is fun, in a pull your hair out sort of way.

Weapon customization is back in a big way. Now you can mix and match your guns in hundreds of ridiculous and funny combos. AK47 stock, M4 body, G36 barrel, tactical scope, screwdriver. Yes, screwdriver. Awesome? Yes, awesome. Money is given to you by the wheelbarrel full during the course of the game, and you can buy and swap your gear at any point during downtime from combat, so you are greatly encouraged to buy and try all of the different weapons and combos. On the down side, altering your equipment is time consuming and, stupidly, the game doesn't save after you select your equipment. This means that if you die in the next firefight, your 15 minutes of weapons mixing goes down the drain. This is terrible game design, and I hope it is patched out soon.

The multiplayer is surprisingly robust. The original game's multiplayer was interesting, but it felt very tacked on and unbalanced. This time around the multiplayer is hugely improved. I can't comment on Extraction mode, because I (annoyingly) can't play it until they unlock it for non pre-order players. Other modes include coop deathmatch, Warzone, and Capture (king of the hill, essentially). Coop Deathmatch splits ten players into five teams of two to fight it out, while Warzone and Capture split eight players into two teams of four. The buddy feeling exists even in Warzone and Capture, as you have one guy on your team who is your "partner" and he revives you extra fast and can replenish your ammo supply. So far Warzone is my favorite mode. In Warzone random objectives are chosen for the teams, and the first to five completed objectives wins. The objectives range from capture the intel (ctf), demolision (plant the bomb), VIP (protect/assassinate certain players), and the very neat Assassination wherein one player gets to be a heavily armored boss type baddy and the other team has to try and take him down. The MP is decently balanced (nothing a bit of tweaking in patches couldn't fix), decently stable, and loads of tactical shooting fun.

It is worth nothing that I haven't beaten the game yet, so my opinion is subject to change, but so far I'm having a pretty good time. Ao2t40D isn't ground breaking, or even particularly great, but it is pretty fun. It is challenging, charming (at times), and replayable, all things to look for in a worthy game. I'd advise anyone to think about picking this up if they are in the mood for a decent third person shooter. If you can find this used for $45 or less I'd even call it a must-buy situation.

Now I am going to get back to playing the game, right after I finish burying that knife with the others.
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Offline TaraJayne

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Re: Army of Two: The 40th Day
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2010, 03:38:33 PM »
Awesome review. Thank you Handshakes. I will put this on the fromt page of the site :)
Can't wait for Shenmue 3



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Offline Handshakes

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Re: Army of Two: The 40th Day
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2010, 07:48:07 PM »
Thanks Tara! You're the best!
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Offline GamerMan316

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Re: Army of Two: The 40th Day
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2010, 08:50:48 PM »
Good review matey, i enjoyed the first game so have been looking forward to this for some time now, should hopefully get it in the next month or so.


DFUSIONITE

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Re: Army of Two: The 40th Day
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2010, 07:49:13 AM »
great review! might pick it up cheap if i  see it.

Offline TaraJayne

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Re: Army of Two: The 40th Day
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2010, 09:31:10 AM »
Can't wait for Shenmue 3



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Offline nCogNeato

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Re: Army of Two: The 40th Day
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2010, 10:39:09 AM »
GREAT REVIEW, Shakes!  I'm far too busy / lazy to every write reviews.   ;)  If I didn't already own this game, I would strongly consider picking it up after reading this.



That is when I blacked out. Two hours later I woke up on the ground in my basement. There was spittle running down the side of my face, a bloody knife in my left hand, and Army of Two: The 40th Day in the other. Video Game Addiction had struck again.

That amused me too much.



I can't really even tell you what is happening in the game or why. All I know is buildings are asploding, people are asploding, and everyone in China really wants to kill these two lovable Mercs named Salem & Rios.

Me and my co-op Slamurai had the exact same laugh.  At the very beginning of the game, 1/2 of Shanghai explodes, and no one seems to be concerned WHY.



The shooting feels pretty good, and very tactical. Maybe a bit too tactical sometimes.

Agreed.  I'm also playing it on the hardest diffuclty ("Contractor" I think?), and it basically turns the game into a snipe / blindfire grindfest.  Trying to charge more than 1 enemy at a time will get you killed.  The pace picks up a little bit if you focus on your gun upgrades, which I think are quite improved from the first game.  I upgraded my machine gun with a shotgun barrel attachment and 3x Scope, so it basically functions as 3 guns in itself.  Being able to "snipe" with machine gun fire really helps pushing your way through the endless waves of enemies.



Speaking of repeating sequences, dying in the campaign of Ao2t40D is a PAIN due to a sloppy checkpoint system that will make you replay long unskippable cutscenes as well as force you to refight a pesky battle or two that took place before the even peskier battle that was the source of your prior demise.

OMG that drives me insane.  I lost count of how many times I watched the Flamethrower Boss burn corpses in the basement.  They REALLY should have given a 'skip' option.



... the fights are still mighty stacked against you. And yet it is fun, in a pull your hair out sort of way.

I couldn't agree more.  At some points, the difficulty make me feel all the more determined to overcome, which is not a common feeling I experience when playing a difficult game.  I usually start to lose interest in a game if I fail at a the same task 10 times in a row.  But in Army of Two 2, my frustrations translates to adrenaline-induced motivation.  It's kind of like angry sex.



Weapon customization is back in a big way. Now you can mix and match your guns in hundreds of ridiculous and funny combos. AK47 stock, M4 body, G36 barrel, tactical scope, screwdriver. Yes, screwdriver. Awesome? Yes, awesome. Money is given to you by the wheelbarrel full during the course of the game, and you can buy and swap your gear at any point during downtime from combat, so you are greatly encouraged to buy and try all of the different weapons and combos. On the down side, altering your equipment is time consuming and, stupidly, the game doesn't save after you select your equipment. This means that if you die in the next firefight, your 15 minutes of weapons mixing goes down the drain. This is terrible game design, and I hope it is patched out soon.

This is another big grudge I have with the game.  I love the improvements to the weapon customization feature, but the lack of retaining your upgrades mid-checkpoint is way too frustrating.  The workaround I've found is to just stick with what you have for the entirety of a chapter, then at the very end buy your upgrades before "ending the chapter by pressing 'B'".  This of course does not help you when you find yourself in a mid-chapter situation that requires some weapon tweaking.  Little things like this make me feel hopelessly at the mercy of bad game design.  This definitely needs to be patched.

« Last Edit: January 18, 2010, 10:42:35 AM by nCogNeato »

NeuroticSarge

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Re: Army of Two: The 40th Day
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2010, 04:17:30 AM »
Didn't like the first one,so bah humbug!

 

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