Army of Two: The 40th Day for Xbox 360 Review

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The first Army of Two had some neat ideas and, sure, it’s a flawed game but it’s fun, especially if you have someone to play it with. We enjoyed it so we decided to blast through the sequel, Army of Two: The 40th Day. I was excited to see what existing mechanics would be improved because I really did enjoy the concept and I love all this mercenary shit. Developed and published by EA, Army of Two: The 40th Day was released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in January, 2010. Buzz Monkey developed the PSP version which released at the same time. We played the 360 version and did acquire the Chapters of Deceit DLC which includes two new campaign missions. I should mention that as of this review, the game is not backwards compatible on Xbox One.

The story follows returning protagonists Tyson Rios and Elliot Salem who are now self-employed private contractors. They formed their own company, Trans World Operations, with assistance from Alice Murray, another returning character. During a mission in Shanghai, the city is attacked and groups of mercenaries attack Rios and Salem. It turns out the attacks are being carried out by The 40th Day Initiative which is a private army lead by a lunatic who basically thinks people suck. Throughout the campaign are choices you can make that do affect the story in some ways and the outcome of these choices is presented in comic-book style cut scenes. The returning characters are voiced by different actors with Nolan North as Salem being a standout only because the character now sounds like Nathan Drake. The voice acting is alright and some of the banter between the two protagonists is quite humorous. Honestly, we thought the story was pretty uninteresting and most of the characters you interact with are forgettable.
You can choose masks for the protagonists from a preset selection and there is an option to download custom masks from the Army of Two website which is no longer up so we didn’t get the chance to try it. You can play through The 40th Day solo or cooperatively in split-screen or online and you can choose which character you want to play as and they both play exactly the same. You can walk, run, sprint, crouch, vault over obstacles, sprint, shoulder charge into enemies, you can slide into cover and the characters will snap into cover whenever you approach an obstacle or wall. You can flip over objects to use as cover and some objects and structures can break from gunfire and explosions so you need to be aware of your surroundings. You can change the shoulder camera at the press of a button and bring up a camera to see your partner. You can bring up a GPS which allows you to see your current objective, how to get to get there, and you can use it to plan out attacks. With the GPS active, enemies can be tagged and they are highlighted along with civilians. Throughout the campaign are areas with civilian hostages. You have the option to sneak up behind the enemies guarding them and take one of them hostage, which can cause the others to surrender. You can then tie up or execute them which does affect your morality. Sometimes you’ll have to mock surrender where one character can pretend to surrender, allowing the other to flank or snipe the enemies.

The aggro system from the first game makes a comeback. How it works is, one of the character’s draws the enemy fire while the other becomes basically invisible, allowing him to flank enemies and advance through enemy territories undetected. When playing solo, you can command your AI partner to advance, hold, and regroup and you can determine if he should acquire aggro or not. You can also command him to use mounted machine guns, open doors, take shields, take hostages, and tie up enemies. When playing with another person, you’ll need to communicate with each other. Co-op actions return and require both characters to work together to accomplish specific tasks. These include things like co-op sniping, opening doors, and going back to back to fend off enemies. You can pick up and carry a shield to use as cover and your partner can get behind you as you slowly move through areas populated with enemies. Your health does regenerate and if one character falls in combat, he needs to be revived by the other before he bleeds out, otherwise he dies and you’ll have to restart from the last checkpoint. You can drag your fallen partner to cover first before healing and you can always feign death if you’re low on health. The 40th Day is best played cooperatively with another person because the friendly AI is not very bright. I think it’s a bit better than the AI in the first game but things can still be frustrating. I’ve told my partner to hold and he runs directly towards the enemy. Whenever I told him to acquire aggro, he would do it and slowly lose health in the process because he’s just not smart enough to stay down when necessary. On the plus side, he will shoot at and kill enemies and if you can utilize the aggro system properly, wiping out a group of enemies can be a lot of fun.
The weapon customization element has been significantly improved in The 40th Day. Not only are you provided more weapons to play around with but you no longer need to buy weapon attachments in a specific order and once an attachment is purchased, it can be swapped between weapons of the same class. Some weapons and attachments are locked but will unlock as you progress through the campaign and you can find weapon parts in the world. When you complete certain objectives and make certain choices, you’ll earn money which can be spent on weapon customization. Money can also be found in the world and will be dropped by fallen enemies. You can access the weapon customization menu during gameplay and you’re not limited to using only the weapons you’ve purchased. You can pick up and use the weapons dropped by fallen enemies, too, and they’ll also drop ammo. You can buy assault rifles, sniper rifles, sub-machine guns, a light machine gun, shotguns, pistols, a rocket launcher, and a grenade launcher and most of them can be modified with different attachments like barrels, stocks, shields, plates, scopes, cartridges, grips, suppressors, muzzles, and front mounts like a shotgun and grenade launcher. You can purchase different styles to change their appearance and when equipping scopes and suppressors, they can be removed and re-attached on-the-fly. You can also purchase extra grenade slots, diamond encrusted grenades, and extra ammo capacity. You carry a primary weapon, secondary weapon, special weapon, and grenades. The attachments do make a difference so you’ll want to experiment with them to see what works best for you.
You’ll be shooting a lot of enemies throughout the campaign and they do exhibit basic behavior. They run around, take cover, shoot at you, some will snipe you, some fire rockets, and they’ll throw grenades. Some carry shields to use as protection and they will utilize mounted machine guns to gun you down. Their AI isn’t super smart but they do seem a bit more intelligent than the enemies in the previous game. You will encounter different types of heavily armored enemies that need to be taken down in specific ways. Heavy types with shotguns need to be shot in the head. To take down a grenadier, you need to shoot his grenade packs. An enemy wielding a flamethrower can be killed by shooting the gas tank on his back. And the most dangerous heavy type is easily the dude wielding a gatling gun because he can put you down quickly. You need to shoot the ammo pack on his back to kill him and out of all the heavy types, this one definitely requires team work and communication. If you’re playing solo, you’ll really have to babysit your partner.
The campaign plays out in chapters and it will take you to various locations around Shanghai. You’ll engage enemies on the streets and in buildings, and you’ll also traverse through a zoo, hospital, mall, and temple. In the Chapters of Deceit DLC you’ll get to battle your way through an office building. There are items to find in the environments like weapon parts, radio logs, and lucky cats and they all act as a form of collectibles. Throughout the campaign, you’ll reach areas that contain enemy Supply cases that can only be looted if you’re not detected. That’s what the game indicates, anyway, some of them seem to stay open even if you’re loud about it. If you are detected, the cases will usually lock. Supply cases do contain items like weapon parts, masks, and money so they are kind of like the game’s way of rewarding you for being quiet. The environments are pretty linear and because the GPS will point you to your objective, you should never get lost. Sometimes you have the option to take the high ground to engage enemies and many areas offer multiple ways to flank and approach enemies. You’ll fight enemies in small confined spaces as well as large open spaces with plenty of objects to use as cover. You need to watch out for or take advantage of the explosive barrels and canisters scattered around and much like the first game, you need to stay in cover whenever bullets start flying. If you’re out in the open during a firefight with any amount of aggro, the enemies will have their sights on you and you can go down pretty fast if you’re not careful. You have to be mindful of what you use as cover because some things can break and vehicles can explode. You’ll encounter enemies patrolling or on guard, they’ll rappel down from helicopters, and come hopping over walls. Sometimes enemies arrive in waves and there’s plenty of bad guys to shoot. At the end of a chapter, you can view your stats for that chapter the game does include general stat tracking. After you beat the campaign you’ll unlock cheats and different outfits for the protagonists.

The 40th Day does look better than the first game. Pop-in is frequent but the texture work is solid and the animations look good. There’s nice visual effects like sparks and debris as a result of objects being hit with bullets and the environments are filled with plenty of detail. There’s garbage, debris, and bodies on the ground, some bodies are on fire, and the gore effects help to enhance the gunplay. You can blow off enemy heads and when enemies are hit, their blood will splatter on the walls. Injured enemies will slowly move around on the ground and even start shooting at you. Unfortunately, the audio is underwhelming. Most of the weapons are just not loud enough, although the shotguns sound pretty good. Characters will shout during firefights, explosions sound okay, and the audio work in general is nothing exceptional. As for the music, we think the soundtrack in the first game was better. Intense tunes kick in during encounters but there’s not many songs here that stick out to us as memorable. From a technical standpoint, the frame rate does dip whenever there’s a lot of action on-screen and we did not encounter any major bugs.

We had an absolute blast with Army of Two: The 40th Day. It’s such a huge improvement over the first game. The AI is still a bit shitty but even when I was playing solo, I was still having a great time. I think the series was overshadowed by other games back in the day or maybe it’s just underrated but whatever the case, this is a fantastic sequel. We thought the story was uninteresting but loved the action, tone, atmosphere, the humorous moments, and the weapon customization is awesome stuff. I was always hoping to have enough money for new weapons and attachments because I just wanted to try everything. Experimenting with different weapons and attachments does add some replay value to the game as does the multiple difficulty modes, cheats, multiplayer, and collectibles. There is some kind of an Extraction game mode which we didn’t get a chance to try but that may have been another reason to return as well.
We would absolutely recommend Army of Two: The 40th Day to fans of action games. It’s not a perfect game but it’s a good example of what a sequel should be. It’s bigger, it’s better, it contains plenty of content, and it’s a lot of fun. Almost everything established in the first game is improved here. The 40th Day is an action game you should definitely check out.

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