Army of Two Review
Army of Two, commonly known better as AoT, is exactly as the title suggests; a title which revolves around two friends who basically represent an entire army taking on countless enemies. This extravagant third-person shooter has been developed by EA Montreal and has earned its fair share of hype over the past few months. It’s time to see if the Army of Two can compete head first with the army of similar styled titles currently on the Xbox 360.
The games storyline revolves around the intense lives of Salem and Rios, two mercenaries who find themselves working for the largest private military contractors in the world. This often places the two in extremely dangerous yet well paid situations, in which the two must complete a selection of objectives thus increasing the pay to be earned. The way in which you play the game will vary your enjoyment greatly. You can either play through the single player campaign alone with the rather stupid yet still ever so trying artificial intelligence or you can make the correct choice and enjoy the game with a friend, online or otherwise.
As you progress through the game and earn more money, you will be able to upgrade a large array of arsenal. It is easily possible to get lost in the weapon customisation as you can literally change everything from the barrel to the butt of all guns available. An under-slung grenade launcher on an assault rifle or a silencer on a machine gun, weapons can be changed to fit your style of gameplay perfectly. Alternatively, if you simply want a pretty gun you can “pimp” your guns with gold plating! The feature of character customisation is also extended to secondary weapons and armour also, which brings a welcome addition to an otherwise linear experience.
Whilst the game provides a solid gameplay experience, it is the minor issues which mount up to spoil what could have been an otherwise enjoyable memory. Examples of this can be seen from the offset, with damage being one of the clearest. When you are hurt badly (which can be frequent) you will simply drop down and sit up on the floor holding your gun. From here your partner must drag you to a safe place where they can patch you up. Whilst this sounds like a great concept, little does it come together as you will begin to question why a shotgun to the face will make you want to sit down facing the enemy or why the AI partner decides to drag you through an entire level before patching you up? All in all the little knocks mount up to cause one large headache.
Army of Two follows in a trend set by other similar titles by providing a relatively short campaign which can easily be completed in a single sitting. Whilst you will visit a range of different locations, you will still be limited to the character which you first selected, fighting drones of the same idiotic opponents. This very nature of gameplay is only slightly improved by unique features such as ‘aggro’, which allows you to focus enemies on a single partner, whilst the other can sneak around to flank the enemies. Whilst such features have their own issues, they are a welcome step forward from what otherwise would have been a forgettable clone of previous failures.
The online multiplayer game modes add to the enjoyment experienced by playing the campaign cooperatively. It is clear that Army of Two can be a blast if played with a friend or even a stranger over Xbox Live. The basic principle of online multiplayer portion of Army of Two revolves around two on two versus matches in which you must achieve objectives and earn more money than your opponents, whilst going easy on your excessive spending to help aid the fight in your direction. Basically it comes down to a coin toss of how you will experience Army of Two. As a single player experience you will find that Army of Two is slightly better than your average third-person shooter, but by playing with another person you will find that the game holds promise and provides a unique and engaging experience.
Graphically the game is impressive and holds its own against competition on the Xbox 360. The character models specifically stand out with fantastic detail and animation, but everything right down to the detailed environments and dramatic explosions have the seal of shine added to them. The occasional clipping or texture rip is easily forgiven when you are flipping enemies around the room in all their dramatised rag doll glory.
Unfortunately the game follows the common misconception on how to recreate ‘cool’. This is evident throughout the game starting with the storyline which throws continual blows at the Army at every opportunity, with even the player characters themselves sporting their ridiculous hockey masks, feeling the need to swear at every given opportunity. Thankfully other than this the general voice acting is superb, bolstered more so by the explosive sound effects during fast paced combat.
Overall if you have recently devastated Raam in Gears of War and rolled the roulette enough times in Vegas, Army of Two could provide the change of pace you have been looking for with a friend. However if you want to go solo into a new gaming experience, this is no Army of One.