Army of Two: The 40th Day

Review

posted 2/15/2010 by Marissa Meli
other articles by Marissa Meli
One Page Platforms: 360
Tyson Rios and Elliott Salem are two bad-ass mercenaries with a lust for blood...and each other.

That would be the first line of any Army of Two: TFD fanfic I wrote, and this game offers plenty of inspiration. I spent more time customizing their masks and wardrobes (you can even head to the game's site to design your own and upload it directly to your game) than I did in multiplayer. Salem got a Deadpool-inspired facemask, while Rios sported his metal gear embossed with pink and purple flowers (this is a design available from the get-go). Next came weapons. Naturally, the option to "pimp" your gun with gold, platinum, and diamonds returned from the first AO2. This go around, you can also pick from tens of other designs for your weaponry, from bubbles to hearts to desert camo. The rainbow jigsaw pattern I chose for Salem's automatic rifle is as confusing to enemies as the sleeping arrangements at merc HQ. Dedicated buttons let you interact with your partner out of combat. Press one button and negatively influence your relationship by slapping your partner. Press another and become closer: slapping your partner's butt, scooping him off his feet, and giving him an old-fashioned hug all contributed to the "Ambiguous Heroes" title I eventually obtained.

If you are not yet convinced to buy this game...well, why aren't you? Tyson Rios confesses to having had intercourse with a panda; is that more up your alley?

Ah, I see. You're concerned about gameplay. I guess that's valid.

Terrorists have overrun Shanghai, China, though don't expect to understand or care why or how unless you pick up and listen to the various radio logs hidden around the game. They're called The 40th Day Initiative (FDI), and they’re here to judge your sins. The allusion comes from The Bible, where it is written that your soul is judged forty days after your death. I won’t spoil any more of the story for you (the game or The Bible), but when buildings start collapsing around you quite quickly after your tutorial is through you’ll begin to figure out that something’s going wrong.

Nearly a decade has gone by since 9/11, but I still found the images of buildings being blown up right in the middle of a large urban area very jarring. I may be biased because of family ties (my brother was working a block away from the Twin Towers when they were brought down), but scaling down the side of a building while others blew up around me took me out of the game experience and into a mental realm that had very little to do with entertainment.


You do eventually escape that scenario and visit more exotic locales, like a zoo run by a bizarre puppet master in which you’ll need to take cover behind the bullet-riddled carcasses of elephants and other large mammals. Call me crazy, but I can snipe a thousand terrorists in the head without caring, and then I’m forced to cower behind Dumbo as he absorbs grenade blows and I’m all torn up inside.

Questionable scenarios aside, I've said it about the original and I'll say it again: co-op (in this case, bro-op--someone please tell me how I can trademark that) is one of the best gaming experiences you can have with a buddy, online or on the couch. Hitting a high-five with your pal or punching him when he misses a shot is priceless. If you communicate well together, you can run a tight Ghost Recon-esque operation with none of the choking seriousness.

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