reviews\ Feb 2, 2010 at 7:00 pm

ARMY OF TWO: THE 40th DAY - PS3 - Review

The simple equation to receive enjoyment out of EA Montreal’s Army of Two: The 40th Day involves the following: an enjoyment for guns, pleasure in watching a bro-mance blossom, and taking joy out of a terrible amount of tedious gameplay. If those three factors are right up your alley, then, hey, might as well join the firing brigade of fans who can’t get enough of cooperative shooters. If not, well then join the long line forming behind me who need something with a little depth and diversity.

Army of Two: The 40th Day was clichéd to the bone – it played out eerily similar to a Michael Bay featured film. The total experience follows a few simple steps:

  • Step 1 – Amp up the explosions

  • Step 2 – Sarcasm in dialogue is key for humor

  • Step 3a – Guns and more guns

  • Step 3b – The louder the better

  • Step 4 – Mass confusion

  • Step 5 – Incompetent villains and cohorts

The last step was an integral reason to why Army of Two failed to live up to expectations. The enemies were as sharp as a marble and that’s giving them more credit than they deserve. To make up for unintelligent computer AI, EA Montreal threw waves and waves of nameless enemies that all look alike. So much for diversity.

Yes, the best cover is no cover.

Unbalanced as they come, The 40th Day didn’t improve on what the original set up. Enemies run straight into fire, don’t understand the nature of flanking, and have no methods of teamwork. Part of the problem was due to the aggro system that has been in place since the debut of the series. A few shots from one of the armed “bros” and the enemies become distracted towards the fire. This sets up the opportunity for the other player or AI to stand right next to the enemies without being seen. Not the smartest implementation of AI, but it was designed for entertainment purposes and not a lifelike simulation.

Focusing on action, rather than a narrative structure, The 40th Day doesn’t create an ever-involving experience.  The storytelling takes a step back and was as transparent as a poltergeist. The villain never stepped up and made himself a well-known presence; the events that take place were often confusing since the characters are as out of the loop as the player are. To gain a better understanding of story, the player must pause the game and listen to radio talk that they find hidden throughout the levels.

Although EA Montreal didn’t focus much on a coherent story, they did implement a faux choice-based system that never gave the player a real sense of changing the fate of non-playable characters. In one instance the player can decide to save the life of another mercenary to only find out that he was assassinated in the next scene. Another example would be a deadbeat security guard asking for Rios and Salem to return the guns they stole from the locker. If players opt to return the guns, rather than killing the security guard, the next sequence shows the guard selling the guns to the villains. So, as you can see, if players chose the “good guy” path, the NPC usually turns out to be a bad guy all along or eventually dead.

Bro, I’ve got your back anytime.

In effort to drive replay value, players can still upgrade and change weapons, along with playing through a few multiplayer modes. From the new bonus mode, Extraction, to regular team deathmatch, The 40th Day offers the basics and that’s pretty much it. For those wondering, Extraction allows for four players to run the gauntlet of 16 waves of enemies; yes, it was exactly like Gears of War’s Horde and Halo’s Firefight.

Army of Two: The 40th Day is a testosterone-fueled cooperative shooter that improved on what the original set forth at doing – delivering an experience that is 99 percent aimed at males who enjoy drinking beer and playing cooperatively with their action-oriented buddies. What about the other 1 percent? Well … let’s say they must enjoy B-action movies, full of clichés, to gain any sense of gratification out of The 40th Day.

Gameplay: 6.0
Cooperative play was, at times, fun. But for the most part, the mechanics fail to meet the standards set by Gears of War and Halo. Outside of that, the enemy AI was disappointingly poor.

Graphics: 7.0
The game starts out impressively, but began to wane towards the end of the title with dull environments.

Sound: 6.5
Often loud and obnoxious, the sound effects fit the genre. Dialogue needs to be reworked the next time the series sees a release.

Difficulty: Easy

Concept: 7.5
In my mind, the more cooperative play, the better.

Multiplayer: 7.0
The cooperative mode was competent, but the other gameplay modes portray the feeling of last minute additions.

Overall: 6.0
Like watching two men show a passionate adoration for each other, but not in a gay way? Then Army of Two: The 40th Day should be right up your alley. Although it was mostly a bore, the combat was ‘stupid’ enough for two players to take pleasure from watching the train-wreck.

Above Average

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