PS3 Reviews: Army of Two: The 40th Day Review

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Army of Two: The 40th Day Review

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Overall Rating:       7.9

Army of Two has, unsurprisingly, become a hit for Electronic Arts. It is essentially the only thing that best captures the feel of a Gears of War game and is multiplatform. Sony may have Uncharted 2, but it's action and gunplay isn't quite in the same league of craziness and over-the-top absurdity that Gears is. On the other hand, Army of Two is up there, complete with the requisite hulking and muscular protagonists who curse a lot, carry giant guns, are decked out with crazy protective gear, and...use tampons.

Yep, tampons. The tool that only the manliest of men use when blood comes pouring out from a wound. Gun shot? Stabbed? Shove a tampon in that hole and let it absorb the red liquid. And now that I've grossed you completely out by using an ambiguous and questionably worded sentence, allow me to explain what makes Army of Two: The 40th Day a worthy sequel, but still just an average shooter that gets rather boring after only a few short hours.

So simply put, if you've played the first game, or really, even if you've played a Gears of War or Uncharted game, you'll likely feel right at home with Army of Two's simplicity, as it's surely a step back in terms of complexity. But, what the game lacks in depth, perhaps it makes up for it with its non-stop balls-to-the-wall action. I mean really, there is hardly a moment where you aren't surrounded by a bunch of enemies, unloading dozens and dozens of bullets every minute. Army of Two: The 40th Day just keeps the action pouring, using largely the same gameplay techniques that Gears of War made so popular.

The third person camera can be toggled to either shoulder using R3. You'll use L1 and R1 to aim and fire, respectively, and R2 will throw a grenade. Crouching is done by hitting L3, meanwhile hiding behind objects and walls is done automatically when you're nearby them. Unfortunately, the automatic system still isn't very good, as I've often found myself desperately trying to get the game to realize I'm trying to take cover, all to no avail. When I see the game refusing to co-operate with me, I just manually crouch down...or feign death behind the object I'm trying to hide behind. I must say, it gets pretty annoying having to do this often. So, a word to the developers: next time, just give us a damn button to take cover.

Gameplay is completely linear in progression, as are the environments. There are the occasional areas where instead of approaching combat head-on, you can flank and surprise attack from the sides, while your partner charges head-on like a bull, but in the end, you'll still have to go through a designated path to continue. The stealth attacks are very cool, but not quite as responsive as I'd hope for them to be. Still, diffusing a situation and rescuing civilians can feel rewarding, and best of all, you get to either subdue the enemies you've just apprehended, or kill them. Fun times.

Then there's the morality system, where every once in a while you'll be given a choice to make an adjustment in your story based on the choices you've made during these segments. Most of the segments occur during the game's cut-scenes, and most of them include either sparing or killing someone, good or bad. Based on your decision, you'll get a different conclusion to that cut-scene. Morality also comes into play when you've approached a hostage situation and you need to plan carefully so that innocent civilians aren't killed because you thought it'd be effective to just barge in guns blazing. So for that, the game has an enemy tagging feature where you enable your GPS and information display (by pressing Select) aim at an enemy and press Circle, tagging each enemy you've glanced at. When you're in position, as soon as you fire at one enemy, your partner will fire at the other simultaneously.

Now, all of these enhancements and new features are great, but unfortunately, the core gameplay suffers from a bad-spell of being far too repetitive. Where as games like Gears of War, and especially Uncharted 2, were able to diversify the action, Army of Two: The 40th Day doesn't quite achieve that very well. By about the third or fourth hour, you'll begin to realize that you've been doing the same thing over and over again. And if that sort of game is your thing, then you'll enjoy this. But if you're looking for some variety as opposed to non-stop mindless shooting, then you may not. The one thing I do believe that Army of Two: The 40th Day would've benefited from is a proper online experience - the co-op is absolutely great and a ton of fun, there's no question. But I can't help but feel that perhaps these solid game mechanics are being wasted without a larger multiplayer effort. The game is good for up to 10-player deathmatch, Control, Warzone, and Extraction modes, providing a good deal of fun, but never conveying that sense of epicness or scale, so The 40th Day is unlikely to be a game you keep coming back to for the multiplayer like Modern Warfare or Killzone 2. And speaking of replay value, while the overall story isn't that long, there are still other bits of gameplay content to experience, so the game provides a hearty amount of value, even if it's extremely repetitive.

Visuals have been improved, as you'd expect. Texture detail is sharper, framerate is a bit more consistent (but still far from perfect), and this time around, the environment around you completely crumbles right before your very own eyes. But allow me to clarify on that, actually, because 40th Day doesn't have interactive environments that you can destruct. But rather, because the story focuses on the destruction of Shanghai, you actually witness the entire city come crumbling down through real-time cutscenes and such. The destruction is pretty damn epic, and certainly one of the more impressive displays of scale we've seen this generation. But beyond that, you may not find too much else to go crazy over, as the game is an adequate looker, with average texture details, and character detail that could've been a bit better. And while the lighting may look nice at first, you'll quickly notice how shadows degrade in quality when they're about a two feet in front of you, and then become smooth when you're directly in front of them - it's a really annoying effect considering how heavy the lightning work is.

The audio is largely the same as it was in the first game, with two men yelling and cursing, a lot. There is the on-going banter during gameplay that you'll hear every so often, in addition to the voices of others through your head pieces. There are plenty of cutscenes to hear the voice acting in, and even though the voice work is pretty good, the script still leaves a lot to be desired. Furthermore, the soundtrack in the background gets repetitive very quickly. Thankfully, the gun audio is good enough to make you forget about the crappy stuff.

So, the foundation remains solid, but the execution also remains a bit dull. Sure, you're going to have a great time with the game for a few hours, but that'll quickly wear thin on you. Though I do suggest this: if the fun begins to wear thin, finish playing the story in co-op, or hell, play the entire story in co-op mode. I still firmly believe this would've made for an amazing full-blown multiplayer shooter, but alas that's something we may have to wait for in the inevitable third game. Army of Two: The 40th Day is a solid action shooter that makes many improvements over the original, but it still needs to diversify itself to be a real stand out.

1/18/2010 Arnold Katayev

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New Comment System

Legacy Comment System (20 posts)

Monday, January 18, 2010 @ 2:04:41 PM

Good review Arnold. I got this game a few days ago and pretty much from the start I just wasn't feeling it. I might try play it again one last time to see if I can warm to it but it's looking very likely I'll be trading it in for AVP at the end of the week.

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Monday, January 18, 2010 @ 2:19:58 PM

I'm playing the coop story mode with my girlfriend and we have a blast...if you liked the first one, you will like this one...there aren't many changes from the first game (and we know who to thank for holding back the current generation on multiplats)...but overall still a nice game

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Monday, January 18, 2010 @ 2:29:52 PM

A lot of games are getting point nine scores these days. Nice review though. Not a game I am particularly interested in buying right away but it's nice to hear the series has improved.

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Monday, January 18, 2010 @ 3:26:12 PM

For those who don't quite deserve a whole number :)

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Monday, January 18, 2010 @ 2:53:30 PM

"Gun shot? Stabbed? Shove a tampon in that hole and let it absorb the red liquid" AWESOME!

From the review, it seems like this game is worth a rental but not a purchase, unless you're an ardent fan of the first game. I hate that feeling of spending $60 on a game and getting bored after 2 hours.

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Monday, January 18, 2010 @ 2:53:37 PM

I had the first one and that game was sooo "not me", it was waaaay too "american tough-guy" so it distracted me totally from what could otherwise have been a nice coop-experience. Much like a movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme - I just KNOW I aint gonna like it. So this time around I'll let it pass, easily. However it must be said that these kind of games really are "coop-games" and should be judged as such, it's almost become a genre of it's own now.

Last edited by Beamboom on 1/18/2010 3:10:06 PM

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Monday, January 18, 2010 @ 9:36:23 PM

So you don't like "American tough-guys" and you don't like Jean-Claude Van Damme, who would fall under "European tough-guys"'re running out of continents to find likable tough-guys.

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Monday, January 18, 2010 @ 3:12:42 PM

The only problem I had with the first one (and it was a huge problem) was the fact that I couldn't hear my friend in the earpiece while playing coop. The sounds were also coming through the headset and we kept getting cut off. Does anyone know if EA has fixed this problem in this game? My friend and I were thinking about getting this one but not if we have to play the game while talking on the phone.

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Monday, January 18, 2010 @ 3:25:25 PM

Thanks for that Arnold, this looks like one of the times when a massive online multiplayer mode would have helped a game a lot. I never even played the first but I think I have a friend who might be down for this.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 1/18/2010 3:27:16 PM

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Monday, January 18, 2010 @ 3:34:39 PM

a huge online game with a buddy system, sounds interesting.

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Monday, January 18, 2010 @ 3:25:40 PM

Our troops been using tampons unofficially for years now to stem bloody wounds, & I've also sent some over in care package to our guys overseas(as well as our women having a need them too).

Anyway, glad to see 40th Day has added some more realism into war.

A BIG Thumbs up for EA Montreal

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Monday, January 18, 2010 @ 5:54:14 PM

lol awesome avatar man

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Monday, January 18, 2010 @ 3:34:06 PM

My fav thing about this game, the headshots =) BOOM, head gone..

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010 @ 12:52:00 AM

o and if you use a shotgun you can see some bone sticking out of their shoulders, like its there spine.
really cool!
shame they dont have the smoosh sound killzone 2 has when you remove someones head.

Last edited by ___________ on 1/19/2010 12:52:22 AM

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010 @ 7:14:16 PM

Thanks, that's my syringe wielding Demon Dog's avatar, as a pup
(I guess you can say I started hyping him up early on) LOL.

Demon Dog will be coming back, just as soon as I can pry his teeth away from that 747's set of tires.

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Monday, January 18, 2010 @ 3:38:32 PM

Skipping tampon joke, since I'm too lazy to come up with one.
Anyways, nice review Arnold, good comedy. The demo was good fun too, though it was only co-op, luckily always got peepz close by, for situations like this, when it's necessary to play co-op...
Might go n rent it in a couple of months.

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fluffer nutter
Monday, January 18, 2010 @ 4:29:45 PM

Well, for those that want this game for $30 you can get it at Toys R Us tomorrow with your Rewards R Us membership card. I'd go for it but I'm not interested in this or Dark Void.

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Monday, January 18, 2010 @ 5:26:58 PM

I loved the first one, but I played the demo and wasn't impressed. It seems that they are taking the same route as IW: create a sequel and make little improvements because the first one was good.....

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010 @ 12:50:21 AM

only thing i did not like about this game is its SERIOUSLY! short.
i mean MW2, ODST short.
it took me longer to finish MW2 on easy, than it did this on medium.
O, that and the cover system.
im use to locking to cover, than using the left stick to adjust my position, but if you do that in this you will leave cover and get your head blown off.
they need a lock to cover option like most shooters.
i still say every shooter should adopt the cover system from rainbow six vegas.
that was near perfect! the best cover system ive ever seen in a game.
and every game should adopt the co-op mechanics of this.
i mean seriously, it does not get any better than marking 2 enemies on your GPS than use a countdown to co-op snipe their brains out.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010 @ 7:16:29 PM

LOL, I guess you can start calling them "Trend-setters"

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