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Army Of Two: The 40th Day (X360) Preview

Army Of Two: The 40th Day (X360) Preview

Army Of Two was released last year to a mixed critical and public reception. You had to fight through the environments with two mercenaries – Salem and Rios, both hardass gunslinging warriors who reveled in blowing up everything and everyone in their path. The action was intense but many felt it was shortlived and that the cooperative experience could have been much better.

EA Montreal aim to address the issues with the first game with the next title in the Chapter entitled “The 40th Day”. At a recent press event we managed to get some hands on time with the cooperative mode to see how it is shaping up so far.

The 40th Day is set around Shanghai where the two unlikely heroes Rios and Salem have been deployed to accomplish an apparently straightforward mission with their handler, Alice Murray. Unfortunately things take a turn for the worse and the mission ends up rather more complex than first expected. After they complete the contract based mission they are placed into the middle of a shootout as the city comes under attack from the air. Alice, their handler lands herself in a tricky situation as unknown soldiers appear at her location causing not only an issue for her survival but for the intelligence information she has on hand. It is up to both Rios and Salem to rescue Alice and to find the fastest way to escape Shanghai while fighting through all the forces in their path.

While they fight through the enemy hordes, there is a lot of destruction on route, buildings fall down and helicopters smash into structures and explosions erupt in all directions. There is a GPS system which shows the route to the next objective plotting the course from your current location. The GPS offers other options however as it allows you to mark any enemy you see showing their rank and location at all times. This is particularly useful as you can spot them behind cover points and walls. Playing in cooperative mode also allows your partner will get to see the same information, which is extremely valuable.

The Aggro methodology is still in play and the concept is relatively easy to understand. During firefights and combat the character who fires his weapon at the enemy units is the one to draw their anger and return fire, this boosts their aggro meter. As this happens their partner effectively becomes invisible to rival soldiers allowing the character to stealthily sneak around and perform a rear attack. These don’t always work however because if you move too close or make a noise you will be spotted, leaving yourself open for retaliation. If you manage to work with a friend who is good with this system however it is an effective way to keep destroying enemy forces in hard to reach locations.

As well as dealing with enemy forces there are certain ‘hostage’ situations when you find the enemy interrogating innocent civilians who are also trapped in Shanghai. You can choose to either ignore it and let them suffer or perform some actions to deal with the situation. You can sneak up behind the ranking officer at the locations and turn the tide by taking him hostage and tying them up after making them drop their weapons. You can also just shoot them by aiming your sniper rifle at one of their heads – your AI colleague will realise what you are intending to do and help you co-snipe the forces. If you are a maniac you can even just shoot both civilians and enemy soldiers.

All of your actions are connected to a morality system, if you save people and deal with the situations in a suitably heroic manner then you will get rewarded with good morality points as well as money and weapons. If you decide to kill everyone in your path, including the innocent then actions and other events will change across the whole game.

You obviously start with weapons on hand and you can acquire weapon accessories or bonus cash by saving civilians and searching supply boxes which populate the environment. Sometimes if you try to shoot the enemies they will lock the boxes permanently, so stealth kills are required to get access to the goods.

Weapon customisation is also offered and apart from when you are in the middle of live combat you can instantly change and alter your three categories of weaponry on offer. The handguns (secondary weapons), primary weapons (machine guns or shotguns) and special weapons (sniper rifle) can all be fine tuned to your desires.

You can adjust these in many ways, from cartridges, scopes and barrels and they will alter how you fight. When you equip a bayonet for instance you can stab enemies in close proximity. Weapons can also be adjusted in regards to their colour scheme and they allow for a plethora of wacky and rather silly end designs. The face masks can also be modified with preset designs on offer or personal customisations. If you really like your work you can upload them to the EA Servers to share with other people and characters.

In our time with the game we noticed the change of direction to address the issues which were criticised before. The levels seem larger and more expansive and the combat is more engrossing and enjoyable – it is certainly shaping up well. We will have a review of Army Of Two whenever it gets released in 2010.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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