Army of Two: The 40th Day Preview (Xbox360)

Our last outing with Army of Two left us a little disappointed. The cooperative 3rd person shooter had some good features, but it wasn't the game it could have been. That's not to say that it didn't do well. EA Montreal's second outing plans on sticking with the same formula, this time stressing the good and pushing it to another level. Just what makes for a good sequel.

While the plot remains a mystery to us, except that returning anti-heroes Rios and Salem have to escape from Shanghai, we do know that more open and public locations will be available. There will be civilians in the mix this time, and at times they can both help or hinder the given situation. In our demo, we witnessed Rios and Salem given the choice to put down a guard who refused them access to a weapons cache, or to not take the weapons. Of course, the group decided to take them and Salem accidentally kills the guard with a ricochet bullet to the head.  

The game is not without a sense of irony, at the very least.

That is just an example of a decision available in the game. We're not sure what the long-term benefits or losses they inflict on the player, besides odd gameplay experiences (if our demoed decision is indicative of the others). Civilians do have several important things, such as money, information, and more we're promised.

Rios and Salem welcome you back to the PMC. That's Private Military Corporation, for those who forget easily.
lPerhaps one of the coolest new moves, surrender lets one player pretend like their giving up, giving the other the chance to flank the enemy.

There are also cooperative moral decisions, meaning players have to agree on the action at hand. It seems like a no brainer, but no one has done it before. We'll be happy to see what happens when players disagree.

Aggro, our favorite part of Army of Two, returns, bringing with it what's called the coop playbook. This playbook gives players the ability to share a map, and one player can highlight enemies, objectives and more on that grid. Planning has become a key element of The 40th day, to the point where, if done properly, it can be a tactical 3rd person cooperative shooter. The playbook is one of those features that seems like it can make a good game great.

Enemies are more versatile this time around as well. Whatever Rios and Salem can do, their enemies can do, including reviving downed-but-not-dead friendlies. This of course means that Rios and Salem have more tricks up their sleeves. Running to a wall will automatically put player in cover. Using human shields, faking surrenders, and picking up enemy weapons, to name a few. We're also told that the AI is receiving a massive overhaul, and that players will have more control over it, such as issuing commands.

Finally, weapon customization is going to be bigger than ever. Besides now being able to hold four guns, players will have hundreds of different variants for different parts of the guns, from handles to muzzles and everything between.

Army of Two: The 40th Day, 'don't call me Army of Two 2', comes out this December for the PlayStation 3, PSP and Xbox 360.

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By melzerith (SI Core) on Jun 28, 2009
I'll be watching this one. Hate to have to play it on Xbox though, cause my PC says it can do a better job!