The lights are on
I've read a lot of reviews, the last few days, on Army of 2: The 40th Day. And while there are issues, you just can't help but nod your head in agreement on, I think this series get's a fairly bad rap, but it's more about gaming taste, then it is the actual game. Granted this series has it's fault, so we'll just tag the negative out first.
Overall, I liked it. Nothing surprising about that, because I really enjoyed the first game. It's one of those games where if you have a friend who you can hook up and play with in Co-op- split screen or otherwise- then it's time well spent. I think it's important to note, that I'm not big on the single player experience with these games, but the game was aimed co-op...and, in that, I think the title succeeds.
The controls can definitely be an issue early on, but with a little practice, can be overcome by observing what's happening in your environment. There's just no avoiding the fact that sometime your partner falls in the most unopportune moments, and any misstep leads to defeat. It's those times that I think the controls are the worst to deal with, but if anything it forces us, as gamers, to adapt our strategies to avoid those situations. Harsh learning curve? Maybe, that's why I deducted an entire point for it, but at the end of the day it's made me a better player overall. If you're an adaptive player, you can over come this and deal with it.
I've heard a lot of critique about the characterization of Rios and Salem in the first game. Honestly, I think this plays more to taste. It never bothered me, I just figured that was who they were as characters. Maybe the fact that Rios was a college football player feeds into the fact that he sounds a lot like a "frat boy" to some people. It fits his character, so I don't see the problem. The fist bumping, also not a problem. It's a nice addition if you want to show gratitude for a well executed strategy on screen, if you don't, then just don't do it. Pretty straightforward. It's not something that's forced on you, and if your partner does it to your dismay, feel free to smack him in the back of the head, which is another nice addition for a poorly executed action. There have been so many times that someone triggers a cut scene before I'm ready and it's kind of fun that I can slap him in the back of the head for it now.
The environments are decent. nothing to write home about, but they aren't without their merit, though they do tend to become fairly formulaic as the game progresses. I don't think that EA set out to reinvent the wheel with their back drops. and that's OK, I did enjoy the setting a lot more in this game, then I did the first, so that accounts for something.
My 7.25 score is based on the frustration level, that occasionally rears it's head. This is going to happen when you have such a touchy execution system tieing several actions to the same button, some of these actions should flow into each other...such as running to your partner and pulling him to safety. It fails to flow, so you'll want to adapt your strategies to accomodate that. Other times, it's just a matter of paying attention to what it is you are trying to do, and what your doing while your trying to do it. For me, this frustration wasn't a game breaker, because I found ways to counter the affects. There were also a few areas where enemy placement was really stacking the deck against you. Which wouldn't have been bad, if the game allowed you to skip cut scenes, level introduction or saved your weapon customization. Dying means if you haven't hit a saved point since your last Weapon spec, you do it over again. It's frustrating. I like the game, and fully admit it can be off putting to a lot of players. So do bear this in mind if you decide to give this game a go.
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