Army of Two Xbox 360 Review

May 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

Surely, an army of two isn‘t really an army at all, it’s just two pumped up American guys with big guns, big mouths and a load of luck on their side. They also wear stylish masks, sprout off cliché after cliché and help each other out in a manner that should be included in any good cooperative game. They’re still not an army though..

Army of Two is one of the newest and most macho brands in the unstoppable EA empire, an action game with more than an emphasis on working as a proficient unit as well as lots and lots of shooting.

Taking control of the big guys with the facemasks, Rios and Salem, you’ll be initially going through a delightfully helpful training phase. Here, you’ll realise that cover is your friend, teamwork is of the essence, and you may even think that the Aggro system is something to applaud.

So what is this Aggro system? Basically the more one of the duo fires at enemies the more attention he’ll receive (nicely indicated by a meter as well as the character glowing almost supernaturally red), thus it becomes easier for the other character/player to slip by and put some bullets in those nasty peoples back. Topping the Aggro meter will allow you to enter overkill mode, which results in you dealing out double the damage and your partner becoming more nimble and near invisible to the enemy eye.

The aggro works very nice as a cooperative option (whether playing with another player or an AI-controlled team mate) and the team play goodness doesn’t end there. Cooperative also includes hoisting partners to a higher platform, dragging them to safety when they collapse due to taking one too many bullets (an action which also allows both characters to coolly fire at their enemies), going back-to-back and into slow motion when surrounded, using a shield, parachuting and commandeering a hovercraft (one shoots the other controls the movement) amongst other things. Somewhat curiously, every single door also needs to be opened by both men which is utterly pointless and remarkably stupid.

Doors aside, the cooperative play has been implemented very nicely, although it’s just a shame that the game is so linear, and different routes aren’t possible to give you options as to how to use the team play opposed to you being forced to use particular actions at opportune moments.

If you’re going through the game with an AI partner in tow, you’ll find them to be surprisingly helpful at times. The rest of the time? Your AI mate may seem pretty clueless, particularly if you get cut down by enemy fire in which he often appears to be wondering as just to where he should pull you to, and whilst he’s thinking, or dragging you from pillar to post and then back again, you may very well succumb to the enemy gunfire and get angry with the failure that is the AI (what’s worse is that it doesn’t argue back, although at least when you return to the last checkpoint you can head butt him to teach him a lesson for his ineptness). Perhaps I have been cruel, as the AI does have some flashes of brilliance and the basic command system does prove that their obedience is as good as a well behaved dog, but if at all possible do yourself a favour and play with another person. Living and breathing players are normally smarter, and if you‘re playing somebody via split screen you can head butt them for real if they do something unfathomably stupid.

The in thing at the moment in gaming definitely seems to be the cover system, and Army of Two certainly encourages you to be cautious by using all of that rather convenient environment clutter. In fact, the levels would look pretty bare without all the things you can hide behind, and your survival chances would probably be zero such is the number of enemies (they also use cover sufficiently thanks to some rather solid AI) and the fragility of your health. Many cover features are present and correct: an overly accurate blind fire and being able to peek out of or vault over cover.

The game also gives you the opportunity to upgrade your weapons and buy new facemasks. Guns can be upgraded in a number of ways, you can improve the accuracy, increase the amount of ammo that they carry or the level of damage that they cause. You can even make yourself look rich by applying gold and silver to their appearance (killing people certainly pays well). Adding suppressors to your weapons may suggest to you that the game can be played stealthily, although quieter guns do attract less enemy attention (in other words, less aggro), this is certainly no stealth game.

Army of Two also has a fantastic online multiplayer mode other than the cooperative. The versus mode has three modes for two teams of two people and can even be played with a guest player on one console. Whatever the mode, the aim is to accumulate more cash then the opposing team by completing objectives and killing enemies. Cash isn’t only needed for the victory, but you can also buy new weapons and even revive yourself quicker, if your team mate isn’t around to do so and you can’t be bothered waiting for the game to respawn you. It’s certainly a mode worth mentioning, but even more it’s one worth playing.

Army of Two is a fantastic game and the beginning of a promising EA franchise. The AI controlled partners may not be as clever as EA would like to think they are, and the cooperative nature of the game feels a little too forced at times, although none of the problems deny the game its classic status as a tremendous multiplayer game.