PAX impressions / Army of Two: The 40th Day

Why make a sequel for Army of Two? One answer, the obvious one, is so that a game can be called Army of Tutu, a tale of two star-crossed mercenaries for hire trying to dance the American people’s enemies off the face of the earth. EA has turned away from this obvious blockbuster in lue of taking the existing co-op centric gameplay of the original Army of Two and tightening and refining it. I consider it a missed opportunity.

The original AoT had several co-op specific features based on a system called Agro. The idea was that while one player drew the attention he got stronger and more bloodthirsty while the other guy became nearly translucent and more stealthy. The 40th Day keeps the system and refines it, making it more dynamic and clear. Three good head-shots and your a bull crashing through the opposition.

The section of the game we got to play through was a small encounter in a zoo being terrorized by a mysterious group of armed men. The main fire fight actually took place in the hippo enclosure, a huge pit filled with rocky terrain and hippo corpses. The cover system was just as intuitive and responsive as the previous game. I got personal satisfaction in letting my partner fill up on agro while I sniped the helmets off the enemies’ heads. Virtually none of the story was even hinted at, unless you know something about a zoo-hating terrorist group that we don’t.

Weapon modifications have also gone through a major overhaul. First off is when you can do it. Before you had to wait until in-between levels to upgrade and swap out weapon styles. Now, any time there’s a break in the fighting you can circle up with your bro and change out your provisions. Stuck across a ravine and wanna head off the opposition before they can overwhelm you? Double sniper rifle action it is. Clearing corridors and need some stopping power? Dueling shotguns sounds like a good fit.

That makes a lot of difference already but give it a second look and the customization will floor you. Possibly the most robust options when it comes to making the game do what you want, every barrel, stock, scope, and magazine can be alternated out between weapons. Want an AK-47 stock, M-16 barrel and homemade soda can silencer? You can do it in The 40th Day, and every decision will affect the gameplay.

How about something that won’t affect the gameplay? Ever. Sound good? Just before the launch of the game you will be able to make an account online and design custom face masks and armor decals to be used in the game. Why? Because it worked in Skate, that’s why. Direct uploads of images aren’t allowed but the service is supposed to be robust enough that you won’t miss it. This is clearly my venue for bringing Army of Tutu to fruition.

All in all this new installment seems to be taking every step in the right direction and marked improvements are there for anyone willing to look. Consider this one officially on our radar, just in time to start saving for its January 12th release date.

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