Aw yeah. Army of Two 2: The 22nd Two. I hope you’re ready for some completely manly, testosterone-filled, gun-toting, Deagle-pimping action with absolutely no homosexual undertones at all!

*fist bump*

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to beeswax. Army of Two is a relatively new franchise, filed under the now more popular then ever “3rd-person shooter” genre.

Army of Two’s main focal point is 2-player co-op (online or split-screen), and to a lesser degree, weapon customization. Now, these are already two features that most games are sorely lacking lately, so that alone makes the first and second Army of Two games worth at least a rent. But by no means are they perfect. Especially in the case of The 40th Day.

For instance, we’ll talk about story. Here’s the summary from what I’ve gathered: *OH YEAH SPOILER ALERT* You are one of two members of a mercenary unit sent to Shanghai to do… something. Anyways, you meet this black dude who you suddenly are told to kill (whether or not you actually choose to do it), then China starts exploding and falling apart. Your radio operator got captured in the process, so you go and rescue her. From here, you go on to gun down countless members of what is probably some kind of terrorist group over the course of about 6 levels or so, while stopping in the middle of each one to make a moral decision, which usually comes down to either killing someone, or sparing them. Next thing you know, your ride out of Shanghai gets gunned down. So instead of giving up and dying (which is apparently the only other way out for Salem and Rios) you decide to kill the guy in charge of it all (who keeps showing up in all the loading screens and menus, despite his near complete lack of presence in the actual game). You finally kill your way over to him, and after explaining essentially nothing to you, he gives you one last moral choice. *OKAY SPOILERS ARE OVER NOW*

I mean, I’m a guy who is usually pretty interested in all the story and fluff of the game I’m playing. I’ve read every single codec I’ve picked up in Dragon Age (which I’ll probably be reviewing in the future). It’s just that in The 40th Day… it doesn’t really give you any story/backstory, nor does it give you any reason to want to figure it out.

Anyways, as I passingly mentioned in the spoilers section, in each level you are presented with a “moral choice”. These usually just come down to either choosing to kill someone or spare them, but they help break up the constant gunplay. If you choose to kill them, you get money or unlock a new gun. If you choose to spare them, you get “moral points” instead, which I think affect the ending of the game. It never really says what they do.

But let’s touch on a definitely positive aspect of the game: weapon customization. While it is said that The 40th Day sports a supposedly improved version of the customization in the first game, this is a statement which I am still unsure of. In Army of Two, there are three weapon varieties: Primary, Secondary, and Special. Primary weapons consist of all manner of rifles, shotguns, and machine guns. Secondary are your sidearms, like pistols and smaller sub-machine guns. Special weapons consist of sniper rifles, grenade launchers, and other, well, specialty weapons.

The weapon customization is actually pretty cool if you like guns. You get a good number of weapons (most of which must be unlocked), and instead of the usual “scope: y/n, silencer: y/n”, there are a good number of barrels, stocks, magazines (and ammunition), scopes, bayonets, silencers, grips, shields (yes, shields) and underslung shotguns and grenade launchers to choose from. In addition to this, you can also paint your gun with camo print or zebra stripes or gold plating or other stupid shit as well. The point is; everything you do with the gun actually affects its stats. Aggro (how quickly the gun catches enemies’ attention), handling (recoil), precision (bullet spread), and damage are all taken into consideration.

While the game gives you a good 15 or so Primary weapons, there are fewer Special weapons (three sniper rifles, one RPG, one grenade launcher, and the “Grand Pinger”: A Garand with a scope, underslung grenade launcher, pistol grip, synthetic stock, silencer, and backwards-facing magazine. It was actually created and submitted by 4chan’s “weapons” board for EA’s Weapon Design Contest as a joke, due to how stupid it was. While funny at first, looking at the other possibilities on the official 40th Day website makes me thankful that this made it in, and not something like the “Sniper Shotgun” or the “Shuriken’s Launcher”), and to my own dismay, only three Secondary weapons. A Glock, A pistol resembling a Walther PPK, and of course, the Desert Eagle.

The controls suit the game well enough. Probably the most noticeable feature is the ability to switch whether the camera is over your left or right shoulder, for effective view around any corner. Other features include being able to swap out your scope and silencer in the midst of battle, and being able to either give your buddy props, or smack his head, resulting in a gain or loss in “comradery”. I have no idea what gaining or losing comradery does, but I guess it’s kinda funny.

In closing, I know that in my Demon’s Souls review I stated that my next review would be short, but that was mainly because I was really tired and kind of drunk.

Written January 17, 2010

(Played and completed one play-through of Co-op campaign split-screen on Normal Difficulty with Lee in roughly 6 hours. Played the PS3 version.)