Jeff Markiewicz On January 27, 2010 at 7:52 am

Army of Two: The 40th Day is the sequel to the first Army of Two. Both made by the same developer, EA Montreal. Despite not being in the pedigree for the studio and the name may be cheesy the first one actually turned out fairly decent, but it was not perfect. Now almost two years later, its sequel hits the shelves. Will it build on the success of the first or will this franchise start to waver?

Elliot Salem and Tyson Rios are back and still working for the highest bidder in a Private Military Contractor (PMC). They are sent to Shanghai and tasked with placing beacons but once the mission was completed, things take and odd twist. The city comes under attack. Building all over are falling left and right and it’s time to get out of dodge. Picking up radios around the world elucidates a bit on the siege and what’s behind it but still doesn’t go into much depth. In the subsequent levels you’re basically attempting to make your way out of the city, out of the chaos. Along the way you’ll be faced with decisions that always have a clear morality, but not a clear conclusion. After you pick your decision, a conclusion will unfold in comic style animation which may or may not be consistent with what you’d think would happen. The story is pretty superficial and only gives you a reason for what you’re doing but this appears to be on purpose. It gets out of the way for replayability but the way the radios are set up breaks up the action for those playing the first time. I wish you could play them over the gameplay similar to Bioshock but instead you have to sit in a menu and listen to each for a couple minutes. Overall though it appears to have been a good decision as you’ll see later there is a lot of depth and replayability to the gameplay and a heavy story would only curtail that and diminish its high budget action film feel. Those who have not played the first one do not fret as it is not required to understand what’s going on here.

Army of Two: The 40th Day is a 3rd person cover shooter made for cooperative play. The main gameplay design is built around two people and an aggro system. One person can make a ruckus and takes all the attention while the other person sneaks around to get a good shot. Once you learn the system, it works amazingly well. Later levels will open up and give you more breathing room to make more daring flanks. You can’t approach the game like Gears of War where it has a hard snap to cover function; this one is softer and fairly automatic. If you run out of cover towards another piece of cover, the game will automatically drag you to it. It works well once you get a hang of it but you will find yourself in horrible positions sometimes and have to fiddle slightly to get to snap sometimes.  Playing in coop, this is all easily executed as long as you have good communication but in single player, you have to give orders to the other person. The tutorial for this is given a bit too late into the game but essentially three basic commands; advance, regroup, and hold. But then you can toggle if you want them to build aggro or to be more silent. For the most part, your AI friend does incredibly well and actually helps you kill bad guys but at times he can get flaky and ignore your orders. Typically, this is of no issue and he can hold his own but it has the potential of causing frustration.   

On the face, the combat can seem pretty standard fare. Move from cover to cover, get a decent angle, and take out the enemy but there is a lot of depth if you stick to it. For shooting you have the option to buy weapons and customize them to your heart’s content for particular missions. Some of the upgrades are new scopes and silencers which you can turn on and off in battle. Silencers tend you diminish the amount of aggro you make so taking it off can give your friend the opportunity to slip around and inside, most times you won’t need a massive scope on your gun. This stuff is pretty minor though and will only be utilized on higher difficulties; the true depth is when you get close to an enemy. You can charge at them and knock them down. Melee them to death or stab them with a bayonet. Use them as a human shield or choose to tie them up. Walk up to them and do a mock surrender, even get down on your knees before you take them down. But be careful, nearly everything you can do, they can do too. So if you find yourself getting too cocky, expect them to start using you as a human body shield. When you go down, you need to be revived, but during that time you can crawl around, use your pistol, and attempt to get to safety. Your teammate also has the option of dragging you to a safe spot before reviving you. For the most part, the enemy AI is pretty competent and forces you to use flanking maneuvers to take them out.

Accomplishing missions and finding money around the environment will give you the ability to purchase and upgrade weapons. The list of items is fairly extensive and the upgrade system is even more so.  You carry three weapons at a time which consist of your main weapon, a secondary, and a special weapon. The main weapon category contains rifles, shotguns, and submachine guns. The secondary is your pistols and the final category consists of sniper rifles and rockets. For most of these, you’ll be able to extensively customize them by changing out the barrels, adding scopes, larger magazines, and even paint jobs. Everything affects the statistics of the gun, even some paint jobs can be quite intimidating to the enemy it seems. It’s a lot of fun and there is a decent mixture of crazy and realistic options. For example you can purchase soda can silencers and shields for your guns. The best part is that all the weapons are well balanced and you’re never at a disadvantage. You could easily beat the game by ignoring this system all together. You can enter the shop whenever you’re not in combat and even switch to a different weapon you own to adapt to the changing demands of a level.

Once you learn the system, it clicks and is a lot of fun. There is a lot of depth in unexpected places and they all foster a great experience. The cooperative mode is where it shines though. As a single player game, you might be disappointed by the short campaign (about 5 hours) and limited story but it’s all made for replayability. The gameplay has a lot of flexibility that almost reminds me of the greatness of the first Halo. On the easiest difficulty, you can pull off crazy moves and be crazy aggressive while on the hard difficulties, you have to work together and be more cautious.

The game was made for cooperative gameplay and it shows. Pairing up with another human playing is the most ideal and will yield the most fun. The game supports split-screen or you can take the road online. If you already have a friend, you’re ready to have a lot of fun. If not you’ll have to be ready to exercise some patience. Starting a public co-op game doesn’t throw you in the game for people to join-in-progress; you have to wait for someone to come along. There is no server lobby to see which games are open or anything. Once you’re in the game though, the game is a lot of fun. With proper communication and teamwork, you can have a lot of fun. But be prepared for the parts where you have to make choices, the first person who chooses, chooses for both of you. To decide who gets to make the choice, you can also play rock-paper-scissors in game during your downtime. You can also show your approval or disapproval of their actions too. Playing with another allows all the tiny little subtle features to bubble up to the top and be fully utilized for great fun.

For those who want a cooperative experience that’s a bit quicker, there is a mode called Extraction which is basically like a horde mode where you fight wave after wave of enemies and move onto another portion of the map. This gets unlocked automatically after 30 days for people who didn’t preorder but somehow I managed to get into one a match. It’s played with up to 4 people and if you stick to the dynamics you learned in single player, you can go a decent way but with enemies coming from all sides, if you’re not communicating, things can break down quick. It’s pretty fun but it doesn’t match the feel or polish of the main campaign.

The competitive multiplayer doesn’t stand up to the tone set in the main campaign at all. It has a wingman-esque Team Deathmatch where each person is paired with another person and tasked with taking everyone else out. Then you have Control which is a capture the hill gametype. And finally, the best is Warzone. In Warzone it automatically cycles through different gametypes every couple of minutes similar to Killzone 2. The modes are VIP, destruction and infiltration. VIP is self-explanatory. Destruction is a mode where you have to plant a bomb and defend it. Finally, infiltration is basically one-flag CTF where the intel is the flag. All of these seamlessly jump from one to the other after the countdown. Unfortunately, overtime is not present at all. So if you take the intel with half a minute left, forget it, you’re not going to make it. If you plant the bomb before it has time to blow, you lost. It sucks when you’re so close to winning, yet lose to a technicality at the climax of a match. Everything you’ve learned about aggro and using cover has been thrown out the window as a useful tool. Downing others with an automatic rifle takes nearly a clip. People tend to resort to all using the same weapon and using melee, which is a one-hit kill. On top of this you have a special vision mode for your mask that allows you to see the objective as well as other people. This helps letting you know where campers are but also kills some aspects of sneaking around. This vision mode does eventually run out but it lasts sufficiently long enough that chances are you’ll be dead by the time you use it all up.

For the few that get into the online game, at you’ll have a comprehensive statistic tracker so you can show off how great you are at the game. Plus you’ll also be able to download masks and even make your own. The masks you can download are all community driven and look great. You’ll find a lot of awesome ones as well as ones that look like other videogame characters. If you’re not satisfied with this, you can go into the editor and make your own. It’s not as powerful as Adobe Photoshop, but you’ll be able to make something decent relatively quickly and publish it to the marketplace for others to download.

Initially you may not consider the graphics to be that great. When you see some early cutscenes you’ll be disappointed with the low-detailed buildings as you watch the fall of Shanghai. The first level is nothing to sing home about, not that it’s bad, just nothing that special. But once you get out of there, things start to shift. When you see some of the later levels are a whole, they look awesome. You’ll be fighting on top of collapsed buildings and make your way through a zoo. They do a good job with giving you different locales and new things to see. The player models are extremely detailed and the grenades will rattle as you walk around. All the weapon customization you’ve done in the menus shows up in the game perfectly.  There are not many different enemy types therefore you’ll be seeing them a bit over and over.

This game has some pretty good sound design. Right off the bat when the game starts, you’ll notice how it takes full advantage of 5.1 and you can sit and listen to the ambiance around you. One the other hand, most of your arsenal in the main campaign is silenced in one way or another so everything sounds weak and lacks a punch. Even if you remove the silencers they don’t give you the same fidelity as other games which is a bit disappointing. There is a general lack of loudness, even when buildings are crumbling around you, it seems miles off. The music is pretty standard fare action game music, enough to get your heart pumping in action but you’ll immediately forget about it once you’re done. The voice work is well done but it must be noted that Nolan North is once again in the shoes of Salem. If you don’t recognize this name, he’s been in the Uncharted series, Halo Wars, Shadow Complex, Halo 3: ODST, and many other big games. His work is as good as ever, it might just be a little weird hearing Nathan Drake’s voice everywhere.

Gameplay rules and for the main campaign it rocks. The gameplay has depth and is nicely varied. Pairing up with another player in cooperative play lets you pull off some really cool things. The story purposely gets out of the way to keep replayability high yet that doesn’t stop it from feeling like an action flick. The party ends at multiplayer though. Most of the mechanics you learned are destroyed and it just doesn’t feel very polished. It has some nice ideas but it always boils down to everyone using the same weapon and games ending right at the climax. The graphics are great once you get out of the first level and the areas are nicely varied but things in the distance can be quite lackluster. The sound design is nice letting the ambiance of the world come alive yet there is a distinct lack of loudness which makes everything sound weak. The main campaign is at least worth a play through, if not a couple, especially if you have a friend to play with. Unfortunately the multiplayer falls flat on its face and doesn’t continue the bar set in the main campaign. If you’re ready for a great cooperative experience or just a fun action game, this fits the bill. If you want great competitive multiplayer, it’s not here.


The story is fairly superficial, with just enough to push the story forward and make way to replayability. Gameplay has a lot of depth and replayability. The best way to access it is through cooperative play but the AI partner is at least competent. It’s short though, maxing out at 5 hours but you’ll at least want to play through twice. Multiplayer is mediocre at best and tramples all over the great gameplay found in the main campaign.


Graphics can keep up with the best of them. Varied locales and great player models. Custom masks are just an icing on the cake. The biggest issue is some things in the distance can be very lacking in detail, especially when they are shown up close in some cutscenes.


Great 5.1 sound design for the ambiance making the world come alive but there is a distinct lack of loudness in the game. Most weapons are silenced in some way and just sound weak, even with the silencer off they usually don’t sound that powerful.


The gameplay has depth and is nicely varied. The story purposely gets out of the way to keep replayability high yet remains the feel of an action flick. Multiplayer falls flat on its face and doesn’t live up to the main campaign. If you’re ready for a great cooperative or single player experience, this fits the bill. If you want great competitive multiplayer, it’s not here.

Comments are closed.