Just thinking about the first Army of Two title reminds me of the great shooting game experience, hilarious dialogue and incredible amounts of frustration at how damn hard that freakin' game was. When it was released it had no fan following but the first Army of Two got really popular, really fast. Salem and Rios are back for another run in Army of Two: The 40th Day.
The game starts off with Salem and Rios running their own private military racket in Shanghai. In the middle of one of their jobs, the whole city falls under attack. Buildings are falling, stuff is on fire and no one knows why it’s all happening.
The shooting mechanic in 40th Day has been greatly improved since the last game. Instead of having a targeting reticule on the screen at all times, 40th Day now presents a greater challenge by having the reticule on the screen only when the player is down-sighting. Rolling out of the way of fire is now a useful maneuver where before it was practically useless. The most significant gameplay additions are new abilities such as fake surrendering while your partner flanks the enemy and taking an enemy hostage while your partner ties up the other bad guys. These new abilities replace the Aggro Time ability from the first game; however, the “back to back” ability is still present in 40th Day. Salem and Rios will also be given moral decisions to make throughout the game which affect how the game will pan out. “Detail” is the word that best describes 40th Day; everything has been expended upon from the weapon customizations to being able to play a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors with your partner.
The dialog is still funny but not as funny as in the first title. It feels like EA decided to take a slightly different direction with the story and voice acting by making it a little darker. Mind you, it only gets really dark when you make bad moral decisions. Keep on making good decisions and the laughs will keep on flowing.
Art & Animation
Salem and Rios look just as great as ever. All character models look very well built; however, the best facial modeling has been reserved especially for Salem and Rios. Some of the color schemes kind of give the environments a red-ish hue but I guess that’s the intention. Animations are very smooth, especially the facial animations. Particle effects have been cranked up a few notches since the last game; fire effects, electrical sparks, explosions and smoke are hardly ever absent from the screen at any given time. Even stylizing your weapons and masks have been expanded. Weapons can be much more than just “pimped” with gold and diamonds. They can also be painted with things like zebra stripes, camouflage and Vegas style decals. The mask designs are not only very well done but EA has opened up the ability for the extremely creative gamer to create their own custom mask design and upload it into their game through EA’s site.
To be quite honest, I love this game. The shooting mechanic is solid, the story is great, Salem and Rios are just as appealing as before and everything has been improved upon from the last title. The only real issue I have with it is that, for some weird reason, there is no option to view the split-screen horizontally when playing split screen on an HD TV. Definitely an early win for EA in 2010.