Shanghai is under attack and the only army equipped to strike back consists of our two old friends Salem and Rios.
I've only been to Shanghai once. It's one of those cities so vast that it's completely impossible to take in during one visit and I was only there for a few days. It's hard to imagine a terrorist group powerful enough to try and destroy something that massive, but that's just what happens at the start of Army of Two: The 40th Day. And the terrorists are a rival private military company (PMC) to that which employs our dynamic duo Eliott Salem and Tyson Rios.
The original Army of Two was something of a culmination of the co-operative trend in video games. Instead of designing a game with co-operative play in mind, the whole game was designed to played co-operatively. It had a few clever mechanics such as taking on "aggro" to allow your friend that opportunity to flank your enemies, but most of the co-operative elements felt like set pieces. Don't get me wrong, it was enjoyable, but perhaps not as fluid as it could have been. EA Montreal aim to change this as they know let the player pick from a host of available moves in the co-op playbook. A nice addition that opens up the games and allows for more variation as well as forcing the player to look at different alternatives to solve a given situation.
The fluidity is also improved by simplifying the controls and making moves such as co-op sniping faster to perform. Perhaps a natural evolution of the ideas and concepts brought forward in the original game.
"We've made this game from the ground for co-op", says producer Matt Turner. "We took all the positive stuff from the first one, and blew it all up and made it deeper and better and really made that co-op experience something worth playing", he added.
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As I wrote in the opening paragraph, Salem and Rios are in Shanghai on a standard mission, when it comes under attack. Think of 9/11 and scale it up quite a bit, and you get what's happening to the city. Most people would run for the lives, but Salem and Rios aren't most people. They're badass. And badass people do what they do best. Kick some terrorist butt. Badass.
The guns in Army of Two: The 40th Day are pretty badass too, and they're customizable to the most minute detail. In fact you can add any part to any gun. I doubt any other game, with the exception of Borderlands naturally, has this many variations of gun on offer. Personally I'm not that obsessed with how my gun looks, more how it functions, after all it's a killing tool and tools are judge by their efficiency in any given situation.
I've used the word badass four times (this makes it five) in this preview so far, and that's how this game comes across. It's one of those games you're going to have a good time with, a fairly loud time (The 40th Day really shines in the sound department), but perhaps not the most emotionally memorable time. EA Montreal are perfecting their own brand of co-operative action, and with the exception of some rather unconvincing explosions I witnessed the game looks like it will deliver exactly what we are expecting.