Imagine this: you’re on a business trip to China with your hetero-life mate. You’re surrounded by a fantastic culture, neon signs lighting up the city streets. It’s a great trip, until EVIL SOLDIERS ATTACK! Whoa, right? I mean, that got intense pretty quickly. If my little story enthralled you, then you’d better grab an energy drink and put on your Rush Hour T-shirt, because the Co-op shooter Army of Two: The 40th Day is here. Boom.
Alright, so the story is a little lacking….by “little” I mean, it’s really not important at all. If you played the first Army of Two, then you know that the two main characters are Rios (big, strong and responsible) and Salem (sassy, fun loving and a jackass). These two are mercenaries that get paid to go around and either kill people or blow things up, which worked pretty well in the first game. You would receive a contract and once you fulfilled it, you got paid. Well, with the setting change to chaotic China, the contracts don’t really make sense. You’ll get paid for just doing things, like saving a kid in a hospital. I mean, why would people be putting out contracts on things like that? It’s not the parents or anything like that, just some magical “unknown” company paying you for it. Is there some strange group of ultra rich guys in a room, taking bets on the destruction in China? In my opinion, they just needed an excuse to hand out money to the players.
You use the money to buy accessories and new parts on your guns, as well as paint jobs for them. It felt like they really nerfed the weapon upgrade system. They made everything interchangeable. I mean, everything. You can put the barrel of an AK-47 on an M4 or G3, the same applies for stocks and magazines. Anyone who knows anything about guns will be driven insane by the sheer lack of common sense in this game. (It wouldn’t work! The parts are all different and completely incompatible! Ugh!) So, now every part that you purchase changes the stats on your weapons, but I found that I just picked one gun that worked alright and stuck with it. That’s moderately depressing, considering I spent so much time on the first game tweaking the specifics on the guns I had. So, with the draw of weapon customization lacking, I felt like there was less for this game to offer overall.
So, the game kept a lot of the same mechanics from the first one. There is a cover system, by standing near a wall your character will take cover behind it. The gameplay is basically the same as any other game of this type ie. Gears of War, Kane and Lynch: Dead Men, etc. So, you run, stop, hide, shoot and do manly things. It feels a little clunky when you’re attempting to take cover, since they won’t always register your actions. Half of the time, I’d end up diving out from cover, when I’m just trying to move. Couldn’t they just assign a button to push for taking cover? Life would be much more simple in Army of Two if they would do that.
They’ve added a new system of “Morality” in the game, where you’re occasionally forced to choose to do a good deed or a bad deed. Example: after finding a Siberian tiger in the Chinese zoo, you can kill it for some extra money or let it live to make tiger babies. Now, obviously, the good choice would be to end it’s caged life….I mean…let it live in a perfectly nice and unregulated Chinese zoo. Anyways, once you make your choice, you’re treated to a comic book style cut-scene where they show the ramifications of your decision. Normally, no matter what you pick, you end up feeling like an asshole. A lot of them are rigged to where you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, luckily, these don’t really matter to the overall gameplay.
They changed up the mask system, to where you can pick any mask you like from the main menu of the game. It takes away the feeling of being stuck with a lame mask, which was pretty nice. The coolest change to the mask system was the fact that you can make your own masks from their official website, then port them into the game. They have a mask creator program, which is pretty fun to tinker with and more fun to see your work in game.
The “Aggro” system is back into play in The 40th Day, creating the need for good teamwork between players. When one player shoots a lot or uses a flashy gun, they draw all of the attention to themselves (and causes them to glow red). On the opposite side of the spectrum, the other player becomes surrounded by a blue aura, and can run past most enemies or sneak up behind them. One thing they changed from the first game is that they took out the “Overkill” mode, where time slowed down and the high aggro player became a killing machine, while the low aggro player became completely invisible, able to run freely and kill everyone behind enemy lines. I really missed Overkill, since I thought it was a fun feature that made you feel just a little bit cooler.
The multi player got a face lift, with adding some new game types and boosting the player limit to ten. Honestly, I really hated the multi player on the first, and I don’t care for it on this sequel. I’m sure that some of you will have lots of fun and play for hours on end, but I’m not going to be seen on it.
There are several new maneuvers that you can do in The 40th Day, including a mock surrender, taking people hostage in Gears of War 2style and the fun Back-to-Back shooting returned. Mock surrender allowed different ways of fighting, where one player can pretend to surrender, allowing his teammate to snipe the enemies or both players can “surrender” and then quickly draw out pistols in a slow-mo scene, killing the enemies as they approach. These new quirks were really fun and a great way to break up the monotony of cover, shoot, cover, shoot.
Overall, The 40th Day is exactly what you’d expect. It’s got some fun Co-op moments, passable cover-and-shoot systems, plenty of guns and a 6-8 hour main storyline. It’s more serious than the first game, so there are a lot less funny scenes, but I guess that’s not a bad thing. Just different. After beating this game in one day, it left me wishing I was playing the first game, when Army of Two was a little more unique and had more personality.
I give Army of Two: The 40th Day 3 “High Fives” out of 5