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Reviewed by Rich DeWester
ven though "Army of Two: The 40th Day" may not be based on an actual movie, it sure feels like it. It has all the typical elements of a good ‘90s action flick. You want more explosions than a Michael Bay flick? You got it. You want more trigger pumping action than a John Woo joint? Done. How about a story that makes less sense and is as easily forgettable as an Uwe Boll film? It's there. The inspirations from Hollywood are there and put to good use, further thinning the boundaries between concept and capability for the industry.
"The 40th Day" is just another in a string of sequels, and like "Assassin's Creed 2," it actually seems to use the original’s strong criticism to help push its game beyond expectations. Just about everything has been improved this time around. Graphics have been nicely tweaked to add to the game's gritty feel (although some of the explosions could have been better rendered). Collapsing buildings seem to fall with all the intensity of a stack of Jenga blocks.
A lot of attention has been given to the customization options as well, including drastically expanded weapon options. You now have many more barrels, silencers, color schemes and even bayonets to choose from. The fact that you can gather more agro for poppin' off rounds from your gold plated-pimp hand is fantastic -- don't hate.
The agro system in general works much better this time around as well, allowing for tactical flanks to take place a lot easier. Even when playing single player, you can tell your partner to draw agro as simply as hitting the d-pad twice – and here's the kicker, it actually works! If you want to keep your agro low, then you can use a silenced weapon or switch it up to that gold-plated boom-stick we talked about earlier to draw fire for your friend.
"Army of Two" is, at its core, constructed to be a co-op game, something that was very obvious in the last installment due to the horrendous AI issues which almost forced you to play with another person. However, praise be, “The 40th Day” focuses on the AI and fixes many of those issues. It's still not perfect, but enemies and your allies will use cover intelligently. They have even included a GPS help tool that allows you and your comrade to tag enemies so they can be tracked even if they take cover. There are still some AI issues, like trying to drag your partner to safety or vice-versa. (My partner once dragged me out from behind a wall and moved me on top of a grenade – thanks, pal.)
I loved some of the stages – there’s a chapter that takes place in a collapsing consulate building, and even one in a zoo. The game varies from funny to serious pretty quickly too, but by the time it all comes to an end, you may be exhausted from the wave after wave of enemies. The game is a bit short (like every other FPS) and the later stages seemed a bit less inspired than the start, giving the game a bit of a repetitive feel. While the online modes are nothing special, they’re still fun to play. I truly look forward to going back and playing this again – well, until "BioShock 2" comes out.