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Army of Two

Developer: EA Montreal | Publisher: Electronic Arts
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 03/06/08 | Genre: Action

In the world of co-op gaming, few games have truly felt... cooperative. Many let you play through the story with another player--but few give you a unique role and require you to work with your partner. Army of two does this brilliantly--even if it fails on many other levels.

It's obvious from the outset that Army of Two was built to play with a friend, not with AI. The Partner AI (the computer controlled player, if you play solo) is inconsistent at best. The AI is not so bad that it detracts from the fun, but it most certainly is not good enough to add to it. On the flip side fire the game up with a friend and the fun of twenty-four hour Goldeneye marathons is alive again.

Army of Two adds a few new things to the shooter genre that set it apart, and in the process, makes it so much fun with a friend. For the MMO vets, agro with be an easy concept to grasp. You generate agro by attacking, making your partner invisible to those being attacked. The gun you use directly effects how much agro you produce. As you play through the story you gain cash that you use for guns. They can be upgraded with bigger barrels for more damage, better stocks for less recoil, and even pimped out to really piss off the baddies. Some upgrades, silencers for example, will reduce the agro you generate when attacking. This is what makes co-op great. You and your partner must work together to control agro--especially in the more intense fights. Two other things to note; there are team moves you are required to perform to get through missions. Also worth mentioning, although it isn't original, is the cover button. But what is unique to Army of Two is the fact that the cover button WILL get you killed. When you press it, it has a mind of its own, you will either roll or slide to cover, or, you will leap over the cover. Cover doesn't kill the game, but it is quiet annoying.

While the AI for the second player is spotty, the enemy AI, for the most part, is very good. There are a lot of enemies, and they all work well as a team. On the hardest difficulty level, Army of Two is very challenging. One complaint about the hardest difficulty though, the baddies will almost everytime get the first attack when you try to melee them. It makes no sense, and will really get you twisted.

Since the co-op multiplayer is great, the versus should be equally fun, right? Not in this case... Army of Two in the versus mode is about as far from fun as you can get. How versus works is like this: two teams of two compete to complete objectives and earn cash. Like counterstrike you can buy new gear mid match. It sounds great, it just doesn't work like it should. The maps are not well designed and there is a real lack of balance. If your team is behind any at all, you will lose. It is virtually impossible to make a comeback and win this mode. With games like Call of Duty 4 and Halo 3 already on the market, there is no point in wasting your time with the competitive online modes of Army of Two.

Despite the problems listed above, the story in Army of Two is timely and handled well. You play as either Rios or Salem, two ex-army rangers, whom take up the life of mercenaries. They have their individual story that takes place inside the overarching story of concerns over privatizing our military. I won't go into much detail so not to ruin the story. Just know that, for a shooter, this is one of the better stories. The voice acting is top notch, the script is well written, and the characters are engaging and at times, very funny.

You owe it to yourself to pick up Army of Two with a friend. Otherwise, it's worth a look, but not at full price. Army of Two excels where it meant to, but it fails everywhere else.

By Chris Gravelle - 04/06/08
ESRB Details: Blood, Intense Violence, Strong Language
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Screenshots for Army of Two

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