Saturday, 20 February 2010

Hey Bro, Fancy Shooting Some Terrorists?

Bro-operative. Bromance. These are just a couple of adjectives that could be used to describe the nature of Army of Two: 40th Day. A game where you and a friend (Biological or Artificial) need to essentially, as the name suggests, become a walking, shit talking army of two.

The plot unfortunately is fairly non-existent, which should come as no surprise given the game’s target audience, no offense intended. And whatever plot is present is unfortunately too quiet to hear. Yes quiet. During the games development cycle the developers forgot to turn the volume up during any scene of narrative worth whatsoever. This leaves the player in an apocalyptic rendering of Shanghai with no context at all to fuel your actions, in fact, upon completion me and my bro-op partner had literally no fucking clue what had just ensued, minus the asstastic gameplay.

But on the bright side, we did learn that EA Montreal was the first development studio comprised solely of deaf people.

So with the absence of a story, the game really needed some top calibre, highly polished, eternally fun gameplay to shine through the bullshit and make you forget those initial criticisms. And guess what, it doesn’t accomplish that one either. A third person shooter with a clunky aiming system is like a racing game with cars made out of cheese, it’s doomed to failure, just like Army of Two. Not to mention the game has an unintuitive cover mechanic that screams, “What the fuck” at you whenever you attempt to hide from the sheer number of bullets en route to your face.

However, amid this torrent of shit lies a silver lining. A single bubble of fun that has transcended all else to rise above the crap. The game handles co-operative play really well. Whether that be a system that allows players to draw fire away from their buddy in order to co-ordinate an attack, or whereby one player can falsely surrender, luring the gullable, artificially unintelligent terrorists into believing your cowardice whilst your partner conveniently dispatches them. It’s fair to say that the most original aspects of Army of Two come from these co-operative elements and when played with a friend the game isn’t shit, heck, it could even be described as “enjoyable”.

Had I not played Army of Two: 40th day with my friend this post would not exist. I would have failed to experience the single redeeming quality of the game, been exposed to a flood of derivative level design, combat and an overall sense of shit and proceeded to dismiss it as a dreadful videogame, which if experienced in tandem with a bro, it’s not.

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