Army of Two

Kombo’s Review Policy: Our reviews are written for you. Our goal is to write honest, to-the-point reviews that don’t waste your time. This is why we’ve split our reviews into four sections: What the Game’s About, What’s Hot, What’s Not and Final Word, so that you can easily find the information you want from our reviews.

What the Game’s About
Army of Two is a game that story is ripped from the headlines of today’s news broadcasts. You play ex-Army Rangers who are looking for a little more fame and fortune and join a PMC (Private Military Corporation) who has been taking contracts from the United States government. You follow a series of missions where you discover something shocking and it changes your mission all together.

What’s Hot
Ao2 is built from the ground-up with co-op play in mind. Rios and Salem, the two main characters throughout the entire game, are tough and rugged with an army friendship that appears rock solid. With that, Ao2 incorporates strong team tactics that enhance the gameplay greatly rather than make it cumbersome. You are never split up too far from your teammate which is a relief and makes the firefights tighter and more chaotic. Small touches like the back-to-back sequences, giving a boost to reach higher levels and dragging your fallen friend from fire to patch their wounds reinforces the idea that Ao2 is all about co-op. You can play split-screen, with a friend on Xbox Live or find a random person using a matching system to enjoy the game with another human. Multiplayer matches are more about objectives than racking up kills. You are a PMC, your goal is to make money so you have to compete for mini-missions against the other team and try to make more bank. It is strangely captivating to play and there is plenty of mileage you can get out of this mode.

The hallmark feature of Ao2, the aggro system, cements the fact that this may be the finest co-op game ever. For RPG player, aggro is no strange term but for action-shooter fans, you might be scratching your head right about now. It’s simple; all it means is enemy attention is grabbed by whoever deals the most damage. This gives Ao2 perfectly paced action and flexibility in your personal combat style. If you like to pray and spray bullets, your partner can be sneaky and flank the enemy. However, with the aggro system, it gives a dynamic ebb and flow to the gun-based combat so you’re never in one role entirely so you have to communicate with your partner to tackle the obstacles effectively. Enemy AI is competent and will provide a challenge no matter what difficulty you set it on. Not only that, but the partner AI is equally intelligent and will behave very organically, which helps out in situations where you think it’ll be game over.

With the co-op combat being so remarkable, it is nice to see the extra features to add more variety did not get glossed over. Weapon customization is important to PMCs and it is equally important to Ao2. There are opportunities in each mission to purchase and modify their weapons. In a slick move, you can “swap” weapons on the fly in battle with your friend if you want to try out a new weapon. You can customize everything from the barrel to the “pimped” out nature of your guns.

Graphics are very nicely detailed. The main characters look good and there is a wide array of enemy models so you don’t feel like you are fighting the same five people. The mission locals are diverse and show off some impressive attention to detail. The “ragdoll” physics are some of the best we at the Kombo offices have seen and you’ll really appreciate them once you see terrorist bodies pile up on top of each other.

What’s Not
To contrast the dynamite that is the co-op, the single-player mode is more like a firecracker. The magic of playing with another human fades when you play with the computer. The game is still the same but the intangible quality of having a comrade on the other side of the headset. It is not because the AI is poor or because you have to give complex commands, it is the nature of the beast that was built with co-op being the central focus. You simply won’t have as good of time playing Army of Two without someone else.

The story of Army of Two never really fleshes out. It starts off strong but trails off as your progress further. Some story holes like where Rios got his scar were never explained that should have been. Some of the lines are delivered in a B-movie fashion while others are sharp and witty which leads to an inconsistent dialog between the characters. What really makes the story fizzle is the last boss you fight because the game successfully builds up to an epic moment but fails to live up to the momentum behind the encounter. It is a shame because then the game predictably sets-up for sequels where we are left to assume more questions will be answered.

After you beat the game, weapons you would previously have to purchase will unlock and you’ll have access to the full arsenal sans upgrades. It harms the replayability of the campaign as you won’t have a large reason to keep playing after you have customized your favorite gun. With that said, the campaign mode is a decent length just shying on the shorter side.

Unlike your guns, your body armor is not upgradeable. You get access to better armor only by completing missions which seems odd with the lush customization for weapons that you purchase.

Final Word
What Ao2 nails cooperative mode and it nails it with perfection. The single-player starts to show some cracks in the bullet proof armor and you peel more problems from there. Admittedly, the problems are minor and you never have to play the game solo if you have access to the internet. Still, the way Ao2 was constructed, the single-player mode barely holds a candle to the co-op, that is how highly tuned that experience is. If you are looking for a co-op experience that will amaze you more than a trip to Alice’s Wonderland, Ao2 will take you down its own rabbit hole.