Army of Two The 40th Day is the sequel to the original Army of Two. In this sequel Rios and Salem find themselves in Shanghai doing a job when all hell breaks loose and the city is devastated by constant attacks. An army is overtaking Shanghai and you need to find out what is going on, if you can stay alive long enough to do so. If you played through the original title then you should immediately notice that The 40th Day is much more polished. The mechanics seem to feel better and everything just seem to come together in a more cohesive package. As you progress through the game you will also notice that the A.I. in this game is a lot better than it was in the original as well. Your partner will definitely help you out of some troubling situations while the enemy will try and adapt to how you are playing. If you stay in one place long enough and don’t pay attention you run the risk of being flanked. If you shoot an enemy but don’t kill him then one of his buddies might run over and try to heal him, similar to how you can heal your partner if he is in trouble and vice versa.
This game was made with co op in mind and is a lot of fun going through the campaign with a buddy. The “aggro” from the first game is back which will make it easier for your buddy to flank the enemy while you have their attention. You also have a brand new GPS system this time which has a variety of functions. If you are not sure where to go next you can turn it on and it will show you the direction that you should be headed. Additionally, your GPS will allow you to tag your enemy so it is easier to take them out or keep your eye on them. As you progress through the game you will run across situations where you will have the opportunity to save a civilian from getting killed. In these instances you have a couple of different options. You can choose to go in guns blazing and hope that you kill the opposition before they kill the civilian or you can try a quieter approach. A lot of these situations will have a couple of soldiers along with a commander that is terrorizing the civilian. If you have your partner take the commander hostage then his subordinates will surrender, at which point you have another decision to make. Now that the enemy has surrendered do you still kill them or do you simply tie them up? There are also situations where you can go through a “mock surrender”. If you walk into a situation with a bunch of enemies then you can act like you are going to surrender by slowly walking forward and eventually getting on your knees. The enemy contact their commander and say that they have a hostage and will slowly walk towards you with their guns drawn. While they are doing that you can perform a quick draw and kill them before they know what happened.
All of these decisions are tied into the new morality system in the game. If you spare the enemy soldiers you will gain morality points. If you successfully save the civilian you will get morality points in addition to access to new weapons. If you choose to kill the soldiers after they have surrendered or if a civilian gets killed then you will lose points. What you decide to do in these situations throughout the game will have a little bit of an impact on your experience as you progress towards the end of the campaign. As you progress through the story you will also be presented with some tough decisions. In the beginning of the campaign, after you have completed your initial objective, you are told to kill the guy that helped you achieve that objective. It is completely your choice on whether you ignore the order or kill the guy, however, actions do have consequences and you will earn a reputation as you progress through the story. If you have taken the higher moral ground in your decisions and saved every civilian you could then people will help you out in unexpected ways later on in the game. If you have chosen to go the other route then you might have a little bit of a tougher time in certain areas.
Another thing that seemed to get a lot of attention this time around was the presentation and the customization. The presentation of the game is really nice with Shanghai crumbling all around you and EA Montreal did a fantastic job of trying to keep you on your toes with explosions happening, planes falling out of the sky and skyscrapers falling down. When you are down on the street you hear all of the citizens screaming and running away giving you a sense of the panic and chaos that has gripped the city. The customization aspect is also more fully realized in this title. You can customize your weapon at any time (except in the heat of battle) and you can immediately see how your changes will affect the weapon. You can change the barrel, stock, front mount, the type of suppressor you use, the kind of scope you have, the style and more. You can also buy new weapons as well as some “extras” such as the ability to carry more ammunition. Once you customize a weapon a star will appear next to it making it easy to see which weapons you have customized and which you haven’t. You can also go to the Army of Two website and customize your mask and armor. Here you can design your own personalized masks and shoulder armor designs to take with you into the game itself. It is a pretty cool concept and one that I am sure a lot of people will utilize.
The competitive multiplayer component in this title can also be a lot of fun, however, I did have some issues with it. The main issue that I had when playing was that I seemed to respawn a lot right in the front of my enemy’s shotgun. It didn’t happen every time but in the game I was playing it happened enough to be annoying. I know others who didn’t experience that so your mileage may vary. The standard multiplayer modes are present, however, they have a little bit of a twist. There is co-op death match where you are paired up with someone to face off against other partnerships and your partner is the only one that can revive you. There is also “Control” where you fight alongside other partnerships to control locations, “Warzone” where you fight alongside other partnerships to complete a variety of mission types and “Extraction” which is basically like “Horde” mode from Gears of War. It should be noted, however, that the “Extraction” mode is only available to those who pre-ordered the game for the first month. After the game has been out for a month the mode will be opened for everyone to enjoy.
Overall, Army of Two The 40th Day is a much more polished experience than the first game and greater care was exercised in trying to address the concerns everyone had from the original title. Playing this game with a friend is still the best way to do it, however, with the A.I. improvements you will be fine going through this game solo as well. Multiplayer can be a lot of fun when it is working correctly and players should have fun with the level of customization that EA has put into this game. The morality system works pretty well and does have some consequence to it as you are forced to make those hard decisions. With all of the games coming out during the early part of 2010 be sure this is on your list of games to try.
Originally posted on Totally Gaming Network