Army of Two: The 40th Day Review
Developer: EA Montreal
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Date of North American Release: January 12th 2009
Date of European Release: January 15th 2009
Trophies: 1 2 10 38
Trophy Guide: Click Here
Army of Two: The 40th Day is EA Montreal's Sequel to Army of Two, go figure. Not only did EA finally listen to their fans and gamers but actually improved every aspect of the game. The 40th Day delivers in every aspect a gamer would need, fast paced action and even better visuals. Rios and Salem are back and now have their own military company... TransWorld Operations. Unlike in the first game, where you're running all over the world performing missions for a backstabbing evil dictator, you're now in charge of your own operations and against discouragement from a seemingly easy mission, Rios and Salem take a mission in Shanghai where they were to take out a couple of guards and the such before receiving a big paycheck. However, as they're about to leave Shanghai, the city decides to well... disappear. Rios and Salem decide to take it up for themselves to figure out who's behind it and the plot for the story is set in motion.
One of the major things about Army of Two: 40th Day that made the game appealing was the ability to upgrade your weapons in a variety of ways, from different barrels stocks and clips to the paint scheme, even though it was very slim, so slim in fact that there was only one modified paint scheme. As well, in addition to all of this, you're able to modify how you melee in the game. If you don't like the common butt to the head with the stock then you can set it so you use a screwdriver, butcher knife, hell even a bayonet is available from your repertoire.
However, secondary weapons fell short in this game as opposed to it's predecessor. It restricts you to one of three different pistol types, however don't let this discourage you in any way because they added the option to swap your weapon sets at any time, within reason; you're unable to swap them while in a firefight, besides that anytime is free game. In addition to all of this, customization takes another step forward allowing you to steal money and ammo from your enemies, yes you heard me right, you can literally steal money and ammo from your enemies... provided you're fast enough to kill all the enemies and use the supply crate that was dropped for them.
The Aggression System also makes a comeback. You remember in the first game when you shot someone the little bar over their head continued to rise until they turned red and you were able to turn into the Juggernaut and your partner was able to turn invisible with the ability to just run up and melee kill everyone for about 15 seconds? Well EA Montreal decided to revamp this by adding a GPS system which allows you to "tag" your targets so your partner knows who you're going for and where they are at all times.
The AI for this game has also received a MAJOR revamp increasing the difficulty making this jump way ahead from other FPS games based on terms of skill requiring you and your partner, depending on who you're playing with, to work together in complete coordination in order to take down your opponents. However, this doesn't mean that they are not without their coding problems. Most of the time, the enemy will see you before you see them and will not attack you unless provoked as well not pushing their line against yours, instead just hiding and waiting for you to pop out of cover to shoot you. More often the enemy will use much better tactics and will often swap the tactics based off of your movements. However, the AI of your partner in the game is heavily reliant on you as a gamer, which requires you to do most of the work which is where the game suffers, not by a lot, but by enough to make the difference in preferring Singleplayer over Multiplayer.
"Co-Op Moments" have also been revamped, increasing your AI's abilltiy to respond to your actions as well as "follow your lead." Co-Op moments have also been given the freedom to be initiated in more areas and feel more realistic in The 40th Day. A new addition to the franchise is your morality. You have these moments where you can impact the main story of both The 40th Day and TransWorld Operations. eg:
Rios and Salem bust into a room full where 4 enemies have 6 hostages tied up. A Good morality choice would be to fake surrender and when they are all close up open fire and kill them all while not threatening the hostage's lives. An Evil morality choice would be to bust into the room and release fire possibly killing 1 or 2 hostages.
Morality plays a major part in the game and also can be the factor in receiving extra money and weapon parts. Some parts contain "Extreme Morality Moments" that not only effect the people but also impact your friendship with Rios/Salem and TransWord. Even if you're trying to take the lesser of two evils, problems will always arise between you and your friend because nothing is in true sight, however after every choice you make you'll get a cutscene of both the short-term and long-term consequences of your actions.
Online co-op outshines singleplayer in every aspect. The voice chat ability helps allow communication flow easier between you and your partner. The co-op follows the same series of the singleplayer without much of the consequences, or more depending on how different you view the world than your friend. Even though it might feel like you're at the mercy of your partner's decisions, it often doesn't come to that degree and often skill comes into play between you and your partner's flow.
However, that being said as in the first, one of the best parts is the "competitive" part, which has been severely improved from the first. The 40th Day comes with three modes; four if you pre-ordered the game. Every game mode, with the exception of Extraction has 12 players in teams of two, so essentially the biggest match is 3 teams vs. 3 teams. In Co-op Deathmatch you and your partner face off against other teams of two, Control is like capture the flag, except instead of picking up an object, you fight to capture and hold a point in the environment until you're awarded points. Warzone is an objective-based mode which constantly updates itself as you're playing, which is similar to Resistance 2's Skirmish in the fact that you can play offense or defense (halt the enemy from obtaining a success on their objective) and after your objective is complete then you'll be given an updated new objective that needs to be completed.
Extraction is the fourth mode, which will be exclusive to those who pre-ordered The 40th Day. Unlike the other modes, this is limited to four players who are placed in an environment and have to survive against increasingly difficult waves of enemies - similar to a survival-type mode in ODST and other similar games. No matter what mode you're in, you're always tied to a partner, which helps to reinforce the co-op basis of the game. If you get shot, your partner is the only one that can help you. If he doesn't, you'll have to re-spawn, which comes with penalties to both you and your partner. Because if you're forced to respawn your partner is left alone to fend for himself and hopefully will be able to fend off a group of enemies by himself while you're making your way back to him.
EA Montreal stepped up the graphics, both the pixel rate and the artistic visuals for The 40th Day. Sadly, the game takes place in just one location, Shanghai, it doesn't stop you from really getting a sense of how the varied environments of the city are altered because of the gameplay. Shanghai goes from this beautiful city to a destroyed remnant of its former glory. They stepped up the game implementing some awesome particle effects, like rubble and dust from falling buildings, electrical sparks from wiring and smoke from explosions. Even Rios and Salem have undergone a character makeover, primarily with a noticeable size differential between each character. The subtle touches, like watching the characters flip up their face masks to talk to each other make their brotherly love seem all that much more real, and both characters express feelings well, especially during melee attacks. I also spent some time over at my friends and well he is a 360 fanboy and all that I can see is that the 360's shadows are a bit smoother than the PS3.
Sound design is great as well. The voice actors deliver their lines expertly and with perfect comedic timing. The witty banter between Rios and Salem could have been better but they did it excellently, it's a tricky balance to strike, they talked too much in game one and it feels like they're too subdued now. That's a disappointment because the dialogue is good. Your customized weapons make distinctly different sounds as you exchange parts, and you get the auditory sense of being in a war zone. All in all the sound was expertly improved and completely upgraded.
The platinum for this game isn't exactly the hardest, but its not exactly the easiest. The list itself does justice to the game and you'll find yourself getting trophy after trophy easily. Not much else can be said without delving far into detail. I strongly suggest clicking on the link and following Merc's guide for all your trophy needs.
Overall: 9.75 Brilliant
This is probably one of the best games of 2010 so far and definitely worth the full asking price. You'll never be without the action and the humor only does nothing but add to your experience. Playing through the game 3 times I not once felt bored playing the game. The online is exciting, the gameplay is excellent, the visuals are captivating, almost everything is perfect. You'll find yourself wanting more from the game which is how every game should end.