Army of Two: The 40th Day

posted February 02, 2010 02:02:00 PM CST | 16 comments

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When EA put out Army of Two, they presented gamers with a game that uniquely utilized co-op gameplay but not without its hiccups. Army of Two: The 40th Day, however, brings co-op gameplay with adrenaline infused cinematics without the hiccups of the first installation of the series, increasing the excitement and up factors of this series.

The first game sets the scene in which Tyson Rios and Elliott Salem are former Army-Rangers-turned-mercenaries who live in a world where the private sector has become a dominant force in the world of military operations. Rios and Salem get themselves in all sorts of hellish battle situations where the two rely on each other and 40th Day picks up from here with Salem and Rios back on the trail-of-destruction-for-cash.

One of the most noticeable improvements over the first game is the improved AI. If you didn't have a friend plugged in for co-op action in the first game, the laziness and stupidity of your AI sidekick made it unable to really enjoy the co-op setup of the game but with 40th Day the AI is much more refined. The AI improves your offensive by responding more appropriately with your battle partner, better simulating what your friend may have done to cover you while taking a few rounds. While your AI compadre will get in the line of fire now to help you out, he will also have more knowledge when it comes to protecting himself and not taking unnecessary damage, making him smarter on both ends. Your partner's new smarts also help bring out more shining moments of co-op gameplay and let you more effectively utilize devised strategies. For example, if you want to go ahead and play dirty with your enemies and lure them in with a fake surrender, your sidekick will now be able to respond in the same way as you, allowing you to properly employ your strategy and really make use of co-op.

But it's not only your team that will be smarter in 40th Day; your enemies will be savvier as well. While there will still be moments you won't understand why you haven't been shot at although you've clearly been spotted, this doesn't happen nearly as frequently as it did in the first game. The bad guys also help each other more and a downed enemy will be healed by his fellow soldiers if you don't take occupy them and take care of them first.  All the AI improvements help round out 40th Day and make it a big step forward in the series.

Another aspect improved from the first game are the customization options. You can now customize even more aspects of your characters as you play through the game. Your gun alone can be customized in regards to barrels, grips, bayonets, appearance, and even silencers. While this may not be a huge attraction for many, it will be for the few that truly enjoyed this aspect of the first game.

Missions in the game are of a similar nature to those in the first game and you will need to learn how to make the best use of co-op to most efficiently shoot your way to success and similar strategies you may have used in the first game will help you in 40th Day. A new addition that will help you is a gps feature that will now let you tag enemies so that you can constantly monitor them even if they decide to run and hide from you to try to lure you into the spray of their own weapons.

While you go through the missions in 40th Day you have the option to keep morality in mind or simply dismiss it altogether with the morality meter which is part of the game. Throughout the game you will come across hostages and will have to decide whether to save them or put a few holes in them. Your morality meter will either fill up or empty according to the decisions you make. The problem with this system, however, is that there's not much incentive to actually kill the hostages. Unlike in games like Bioshock, where morality decisions affected the outcome of the game, 40th Day doesn't have such a contingency.

The cinematic breakaway scenes that are in 40th Day also help elevate the gameplay. The dialogue during the game is better timed and action packed breakaway scenes will help you witness the destruction you cause as you fight your way through Shanghai. These scenes help draw you into the game and get you pumped up for the next part of your mission.

EA refined the Army of Two series with 40th Day, offering a game that truly lets you enjoy co-op gameplay. This game plays like a charm when you have a friend over to get your back and doesn't fall too short when the AI is trying to help you out. Improved cinematic scenes and crisp graphics help make 40th Day a must have for those who appreciate co-op gameplay or for those who simply enjoy a good shooter.

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