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of Two: The 40 Day
Score: 8.0 / 10
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
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.
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.
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,