Army of Two: The 40th Day User Review
There is actually a lot to the game that playing two players makes sense. Firstly tactics, but that is a no brainer. Secondly the attention system, called aggro. Aggro is a very simple but clever game mechanic which makes this stand out as a brilliant co-op game. Once person will fire their gun at the enemies, and even if they don’t hit, they will gather enemy attention. So i made John blind fire every now and again when i needed to flank the enemies, or snipe.
The third thing is weapons. I chose weapons with high-ish damage, but low aggro. John chose guns with higher damage, and higher aggro. He could kill more quickly, but got more attention, but with him protectively in cover, i could take them out with ease and little attention. Then when attention would sway to me, our roles would reverse until he had attention and so on.
I've mentioned weapons and cover, so now would be a good time to mention controls, which function that all. Hmm. They work, but they are quite clunky. The auto cover system works 95% of the time, but it had the odd mess up here and there resulting in death, and restarting the mission. (Sometimes the checkpointing system was ridiculous far apart, but if you use your head and don't 'Rambo' out, this shouldn't be a problem.)
So the cover system controls are clunky, but you can get used to them. Although after playing games like uncharted and infamous with slick cover systems, i could feel the problem. It is only a slight problem, not game breaking, but a problem. I wouldn't let this put you off buying the game, just be aware of it.
Flicking between weapons is fine, and taking off a scope/silencer in the heat of battle is very good. A tad slow, but to be able to have an assault rifle, use it up close, then flick on 3X Zoom scope you have (by pressing Triangle and L2) to take out further away enemies is brilliant. Shooting controls are simple and pretty much the norm of this generation now. L1 aim, R1 shoot.
I suppose let’s move onto game and gameplay. Ammo is never a problem with your main gun but a little more a problem with your sniper (unless you Rambo, but that will get you killed anyway).It doesn't relate to anything, but in some games ammo rarity can annoy/game break so i thought i would mention this isn’t a problem. My only real problem with the game is the camera. I was playing on a vertically split screen (the only way, no horizontal split) on a 46" screen, and yet the field of view is an outright annoyance. You flick from one shoulder to the other via R3 (quite normal there) but you are either completely on the left of your screen or completely on the right. This is the frustrating part, it’s a problem with a simple solution (R3 button) but somehow it will still aggravate you. It did annoy me many times during the game. The weapon customization is brilliant. The camouflages are great, the variety of ways to customize your guns to suit you tactics are brilliant and you could spend hours deciding how to customize. Also if you think about what guns you and your partner have and te way to customize them you can further increase your tactics. I had a low Aggro gun, a silenced high damage pistol and a low aggro sniper. John had a high damage high aggro gun, didn’t bother with a better pistol and a grenade launcher. He had the attention and the high damage. I had the stealth, and longer to take my shots. We were brilliant. A real army of two.
My final issue is the length of the game. The first took me and John three days to complete (but we spread it out, did other things in between) so I would reckon about 1 day worth of game time. And if you think this is short, then either I’m underestimating or you need to loosen up. Probably I’m underestimating because I can say that it was a good long amount of gameplay. This one however, felt way to short. When we finished the final mission and saw the credits roll, we thought “huh, where’s the rest of the game” but that was it. It took us some time to finish, but if you factor out the number of times we died, it was an incredibly short story. Shanghai got bombed, we wanted to get out, we succeeded in doing something which I wasn’t too clearly explained, then we wanted to kill the guy who messed up shanghai as personal revenge for messing up our time, then we killed him and finished the game. Now don’t get me wrong, the amount of game time is good, it’s not something way too short like Portal for example. (I’m not slating portal, it was a brilliant game, it’s just I finished wanting more.) Perhaps Portal wasn’t a good example. Army of 2 40th Day is short, but it’s the right sort of short. You don’t feel like you have been tricked and not got enough gameplay, but you are left wanting more. If it had been longer that would have been better, but….
The graphics and sound we’re brilliant. The voice acting was great, it wasn’t stodgy; it felt real and most of all it made it engrossing. You really felt something toward every character you met. They were people that you were dealing with. The doctor that didn’t like you because you’re mercenaries, you could feel how he felt about you in his voice. And the graphics we’re so good you could see it in his face. The sound on everything else was great, clean and crisp, it was all very good. The colours of the game were also brilliant. It being Shanghai it was all very well lit, and well coloured. Obviously it was a little darker considering the entire place had just been bombed. There was one less colourful level, we’re it was all dark, slightly more grey than the rest of the game, but there were red leaflets everywhere making for an interesting looking level. The graphics were also brilliant. Everything was textured, looked realistic, although the tress were a little bad but are you really going to have ago at them because their tress weren’t realistic? It’s not a tree simulator. In fact the gameplay, apart from annoying camera and controls (at times) was very solid. And a nice touch was the very weapons you have upgraded and customized are in the cut scenes. (I had an assault rifle known as the FAMAS from Modern Warfare 2, with a scope and a tiger camouflage and that was what was in the cut scenes rather than what happens in uncharted where you may have a sniper rifle, but he has an AK47 in the cut scenes)
The graphics and sound are solid. It’s not exactly God of War 3, but they are very good. Especially as it’s a multiplat. The controls and camera are annoyances at times, but in no way game breaking. The difficulty curve is good, as you upgrade your weapons and employ better tactics, the enemies are harder, and more of them from different directions. The story is short, but quite a good one. Although a little unexplained at times I thought. The game is the same each time you play through with the exception of decisions that affect your game a little, so there is a little but not much replay value, but there is more to do rather than just the story (online and so on. I didn’t investigate these)
Overall I would say definitely worth a purchase if you have someone to play it with, but try and find a good deal, I don’t really think it’s worth £40/$60. £30/$40 maybe. However, if you don’t have a mate to play with you can play with someone online, but make sure you have a headset, otherwise you two won’t work together, and as my friend John told me many times during the game when I got the urge to Rambo and inevitably got us both killed; “it’s called Army of TWO man, TEAMWORK!!!”
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.