Army of Two: The 40th Day

Army of Two: The 40th Day is a sequel to the original. Rios and Salem are now independent mercenaries for hire along with Alice, their handler, who are trying to fight their way out of a continuously war-ravaged Shanghai.
The graphics have certainly been upgraded in this sequel, especially with environmental factors such as shadows, raining debris and constant smoke on the horizon. It works well in having to spot the enemies in grey armour standing in front of grey background. Searching around for cover is a lot more of a challenge: it's integrated into the environment a lot better than just a chest high wall in the middle of a forest base. Cover can also be destroyed from on-coming enemy fire, which gives you even a smaller window to eliminate them. Even less if there's an RPG around. Still, I couldn't help wondering when was the last time Rios and Salem had a shower; their constantly oily and grimy faces, even before the real combat started, had me wondering if they simply forgot their antiperspirant that morning.
Aurally, this game had me guessing as to where the enemies were going to be. It did a wonderful job on giving them different bits of dialogue to spout off: were the enemies circling around behind me? Were they climbing to higher ground to pick me off easier? It kept me on my toes a little bit more as to what kind of strategy should be taken.
Rios and Salem, on the other hand, were a bit more annoying. "Careful, a sniper!" Ok, great. I know to look out for one. But if I AM playing the character, shouldn't I actually see the sniper when said so, and not have to search around for it? Sure, it's a neat little heads-up piece of dialogue, but then I have to spend the rest of the time looking for one person with an RPG rather than taking out all the other lackies that are currently swarming to my position.
Gameplay seemed to be a hit-and-miss. Some things were greatly improved upon, while others were a hinderance. Ducking behind cover is made easier, without the need to hold the A button to get behind it. Step-jumps are also a lot easier without the need for both players to futz around getting into the right position to pull the other player up. The A button, however, is now in control of running and helping your partner when he's down. The problem here is that if he dies right next to me, I have a 2-second wait before the "Press A to help your friend" option shows up; in the meantime, I'm still getting shot in the head, waiting those 2 seconds. Dragging and providing aid should be available a lot quicker than the game gives you time for.
The difficulty is certainly a challenge, usually with trial-and-error being the most prevalent means of getting through a Chapter. An RPG shows up, learn to try and take him out next time before he can get around to blowing you up. Surrounded by enemies in a street, pick a new path to go with the next time around. The game certainly leaves it a bit more open and less linear in how to take out your enemies with multiple pathways, ladders for easier snipe points, etc. They also did a good job of allowing mock surrendering at certain points, allowing your partner to take them out while they're distracted. Or, you can both mock surrender and pull of quick-draws. Or, if you've tagged the enemies and discovered who the officer is, you can hold him hostage and force the others to surrender while your partner ties them up or shoots them.
Aggro has also been improved upon greatly; the AI act better in regards to who has all the Aggro, focusing on that person completely; in the first game, Aggro didn't really work so well, and the enemies would shoot at you if you even so much as peeked out of your cover with no Aggro.
Storywise, it's a lot more light than the previous game: Shanghai is being destroyed, you need to get out, shoot whoever gets in your way. However, you are given choices as to who to let live and who to kill, which supposedly up your morality and how of "best friends" you are at the end. It certainly gives a little bit of replay value, just to see how different choices would changed that person's life.

No comments: