Pub: Electronic Arts
Dev: EA Montreal
www: Official Site
Army of Two: The 40th Day Preview
2008 saw a new wave of fresh IP from EA. Army of Two was arguably the least successful relative to the critical success of both Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge. The market for co-op action games is far from saturated however, and hands-on with the sequel, Army of Two: The 40th Day proves encouraging for the next instalment in the franchise.
The build tested consisted of Salem and Rios battling their way through a seemingly war torn zoo. Using debris and dead animals for cover, gameplay remains largely the same as the original. Explosive and over the top action topped off with a healthy sprinkling of homoeroticism between the two protagonists, you’d be forgiven for dismissing The 40th Day as an expansion pack on a first glimpse. Extensive experimentation proved otherwise however.
The aggro system from the first game has been further enhanced. Players now have to option to feign death which (if executed convincingly) allows for aggro to be transferred to their partner which can lay the foundations for some very flexible flanking tactics. There is also a new dynamic hostage mechanic blended into the action; not only can Salem or Rios take enemies hostage for use as shields, if a squad’s leader is taken hostage then his sub-ordinates will lay down arms and surrender immediately. These new features provide the fundamentals for far more complex approaches to encounters and can prove extremely satisfying when carried out with precision.
The ability to customise your weaponry was extremely popular in Army of Two and the 40th Day includes an even deeper and more intuitive structure for pimping your wares. Nearly every aspect of any weapon can be changed and tweaked. With realism and sensibility well out of the window, you can create some truly unique (ridiculous) weaponry. Whilst some customisation options are merely texture swaps, most have actual affect on their performance. Clip size, accuracy and power can all be adjusted alongside whether your silencer resembles a coke can.
Visually, Army of Two presents itself far more vibrantly and colourful than most action shooters. Salem and Rios’ character models feature a satisfactory range of animations and move with the same weight and inertia that you’d expect from Marcus and Dom. Whilst the cover system may need some tightening before release, Army of Two: The 40th Day looks like it will provide a more than adequate stop gap for those patiently awaiting the next Gears of War.