The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
When we look back on this console generation years down the line,
the co-op renaissance will stand out as one of the most important
developments of the era. After years of players turning the sights on
each other in online multiplayer, developers like Epic Games and Valve
brought gamers together to fend off Locust hordes and zombies.
Publishing powerhouse EA joined the co-op revolution with Army of Two,
an over-the-top send-up of gratuitous violence starring two
frat-boys-turned-mercenaries. The lure of co-op helped the game sell
well, but its sophomoric brand of humor and lackluster gunplay did it
no favors. The sequel, The 40th Day, does little to distinguish itself
from its predecessor.
Wisecracking goons Salem and Rios return
with their strange masks in tow, but EA thankfully turned down the dial
on the heinous attempts at comedy in favor of a more somber setup.
While the two are on a routine mission in Shanghai, the city comes
under attack from an unknown private military contractor. As
skyscrapers fall around them and citizens flee in panic, our two mercs
have one objective – escape the city by any means necessary. Though
this seems a good setup for a harrowing survival story, the plot is
largely buried in radio logs players access from the pause screen. In
its place, EA Montreal inserts a series of standalone “save the
civilian hostages” scenarios and ethical dilemmas where players can
make arbitrary moral choices with no context. Without the necessary
background to inform your decision, these moments come off as shallow,
and the comedic twists in the subsequent cutscenes do little to make
When the masked mercs aren’t flexing their pea brains
with ethical decisions, they’re flexing their trigger fingers in a
series of close quarters battles. The Shanghai environments give
players just enough room to use the game’s superfluous and quizzical
Aggro system, in which one player fires at enemies to draw their
attention to turn the other player invisible. This makes pulling off
flanking maneuvers a breeze, but expect to get flanked yourself by
shotgun-wielding super baddies who ruthlessly spawn in areas you
thought were already clear.
The core combat mechanic performs
admirably, but also suffers from a sketchy contextual cover system and
a lack of button customization. The most irksome problem is the poor
control mapping. When your partner goes down (which happens frequently
thanks to the uninformative damage indicator), you must run up to him
and hold the A button to revive him. Unfortunately, the A button also
handles the running functionality, which means your character may
accidentally start running or execute a combat roll when you’re trying
to revive your partner in a frantic situation.
don’t end there. Army of Two’s terrible checkpoint system saves far too
infrequently, forcing you to rewatch cutscenes and re-fight large
groups of enemies before returning you to the situation that was giving
you trouble. It also fails to save after you go into weapons
customization, which means you have to repurchase all your weapons and
upgrades every time you restart after dying.
fares better with its four enjoyable game modes – most notably the
Horde-like Extraction mode that tasks four players with fending off
waves of enemies. Why EA Montreal failed to integrate player rankings, a
progression system, and weapons customization into the multiplayer
experience is the most puzzling decision the developer made, especially
considering the fantastic arsenal options the single-player campaign
offers. Instead, players are left with a handful of weapon presets.
so many great co-op experiences available to gamers, it’s tough to
recommend The 40th Day. Lacking a cohesive story, solid controls, key
multiplayer features, and polish, this sequel fails to close the gap of
mediocrity running through its core game design.
Email the author Matt Bertz, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.
The 40th Day’s attempt at a meaningful co-op experience falls flat
due to clunky controls and the utter absence of a storyline. I
appreciated the fact that I wasn’t just playing as a cloned version of
the main protagonist like in many half-baked co-op modes, but I had a
harder time battling the controls than my onscreen enemies. The
mechanics punish you if you don’t stick close to your partner, yet
numerous segments split the duo up anyway, leading to cheap deaths and
shared feelings of helplessness (or resentment). After a while, we
stopped attempting even the simplest of flanking strategies and
resorted to the irritating grind of picking off enemies from afar.
Apart from a few decent multiplayer modes, you and your buddy won’t
miss much skipping the 40th Day.