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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Action / Shooter

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Montreal

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

January 12, 2010

 

 

- Pick-up and play for action/shooter fans

- Weapon upgrades and mask creation are pretty darn cool

- Co-op is great

- Some really interesting set pieces

 

 

- "A" button does a lot

- Companion AI can be aggravating

- Jarring moral choices

- Unskippable cutscenes

 

 

Review: Gears of War 2 (360)

Review: Avatar: The Game (360)

Review: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (360)

 

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Army of Two: The 40 Day

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

army of two 40th day          army of two 40th day

 

It doesn't really matter what's happening in Army of Two: The 40th Day. There's always some hunk of Shanghai spectacularly exploding or falling down or exploding as it falls down and that's about all you need to know. And those guys with guns? Shoot them. Climb a long flight of stairs and confront the big bad guy. Make a "moral" choice. The end.

The experience is short and sweet -- 40th Day doesn't overstay it's welcome -- but it's pretty damn fun with another human player. The companion AI is okay most of

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 the time, but it will occasionally do something completely boneheaded, like run right into the line of fire or drag you away from safety as you bleed out.

The basic orders you can give your AI partner help alleviate this somewhat. I most often parked the AI behind cover in an aggro stance so he would stay put while drawing fire. Then I always knew where he was.
 

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For almost the entirety of 40th Day it's all about flanking the enemy. Having your partner aggro the enemies so they focus on him while you sneak around for some easy kills or lay down suppressing fire so your buddy can move forward is what the game is built around. There are only a few instances I can think of that you're forced to stick together -- that game slots you back-to-back with unlimited ammo as a stream of bad guys streams forward -- the rest of the time is all about flanking.

The 40th Day loves the "A" button, which can result in unintended consequences. Pressing "A" can slam you into cover, roll, vault you over cover, run, or mock surrender. Having one button handle so much can lead to sliding into cover when you meant to roll or lure the enemy into an ambush. On Casual mode this isn't too much of a problem but playing on Normal or Contractor difficulties can raise the frustration level since it doesn't take much to be felled. On my second run, I could spot the problem areas well ahead of time because I knew what to watch for making for a more enjoyable experience, even if I had to sit through unskippable cutscenes. Again.

 

army of two 40th day          army of two 40th day


As jocular and high-five happy as Salem and Rios are, 40th Day takes these strange dramatic dips with "moral" choices. Shoot the guy that just helped you escape or let him (possibly) rape a woman; euthanize a Siberian tiger or let it live; or let a small child pick up a sniper rifle or take on the horde by yourself. These jarring scenes (concluded in graphic novel style) tend to interrupt what many might consider light-hearted action (because it's okay to slaughter people with guns). Also affecting the morality meter is the bonus you get for saving civilian hostages, which also nets a little cash.

The weapon customization is over-the-top. Some of the options are completely ridiculous, especially the paint options, but most of them impact handling, accuracy, and even aggro, which do have useful effects. There's also the chance to create custom armor and masks and use them in-game. It's a cool feature and one that I actually used if only to be able to wear them in online matches (after you've ranked up).

Besides the campaign co-op (either over Live or splitscreen) the 40th Day has a full complement of online modes of which I see myself playing a little longer before Left 4 Dead 2 calls me back.

Army of Two: The 40th Day is a fun experience, with some really awesome set pieces -- the zoo level in particular -- and if you have a buddy handy, I'd recommend it. I consider Left 4 Dead 2 to be the epitome of a game that requires teamwork for success but 40th Day is right up there, too.

- Aaron Simmer

(January 21, 2010)

 

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