ARMY OF TWO: THE 40TH DAY
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on February 28, 2020
Hello again, dear readers and welcome, yet again, to the Big Red Timemachine. Today, instead of my colleague Dennis "CallMeBackDraft" Aspers, it is I, your pal Sadhonker, who will take you on a trip to rediscover some of the best games of the past. As some of you may remember, things didn't end so well last time. Poor... whatshisface... eh... Bob! Yes, I'm sure it was Bob. Bob... Someone-or-the-other... oh well, just Bob then. After being viciously mauled by the Nemesis who inadvertently came back with me after visiting Resident Evil 3, there wasn't enough left of the poor chap to put a name to anyhow.
Well, that's all very sad and stuff, but where is Dennis, I hear you ask? Well, while bravely running towards the danger the Nemesis posed, thinking about it while running and making a major u-turn at full speed, he accidentally (but very heroically, I assure you) stubbed his toe against the corner of a very old cast-iron filing cabinet. Now, I've heard women claim that you don't know pain until you've given birth, but I say "pish posh" to that. Have you ever stubbed your toe against an unmovable cast-iron object while running away at full speed from a fully mutated Nemesis? See, I didn't think so! That is some serious pain, ladies and gentlemen, take it from me. That is why I will be taking over from Dennis today, so he can get some much needed rest.
So, we're go... what was that? How did I get back last time?! Well, after nearly escaping the Nemesis myself back in 1999, one of our applicants... eeh... fell, giving me the time to gain some distance between me and the Nemesis. No I didn't trip her! No, I didn't! She... kinda... just... stumbled onto my foot without me putting it there on purpose, honest! In any case, while she was being beaten into a pulp, I valiantly circled back to the Timemachine and unlocked the door with my spare key. Sadly, the applicant that fell a victim to the Nemesis' rage wasn't really big, so he was quickly done with bashing her into the pavement and came after me at speed. That is when I decided to fight it to the death! Sadly, right after setting the controls for 2020 but before I could introduce the monster to the Flying Red Furball ( my signature ninja move), I somehow, purely accidentally of course, tripped and fell backwards into one of the medium sized lockers we have aboard the Big Red Timemachine and somehow, the locker's door closed behind me, hiding me from the Nemesis' sight.
Next thing I know, we're back at the Big Red HQ and the monster went nuts on our brand new assistant, Bob. That's when Dennis sprang into action and was gravely wounded by the nefarious filing cabinet. In the end, I managed to send back the Nemesis to 1999 by attaching a prototype Tiny Red Timepod to its back and firing it up remotely. A very non-impressive puff of smoke later, the monster was gone and we were safe once more. Well, not Bob; we mopped him (or rather, what was left of him) up later and buried his remains in a nice glass jar. Yes, nothing but the best is good enough for our employees! Well, after that, things quickly returned to normal, which brings us to today; the day on which we are going back, not too far this time, to 2010. Once there, we'll meet a two man team that is one-of-a-kind. So, dear readers, get ready to meet Salem and Rios; the Army of Two!
Army of Two: The 40th Day is the second installment in the Army of Two series and, in my humble opinion, the best of all three Army of Two games. While the first game was fun, The 40th Day took things to a whole new level. The controls were far better, as was the overall experience. And while the third game in the series further improved upon the gameplay, it didn't feature Salem and Rios in the way I, and a lot of people with me, had hoped it would. Now, Alpha and Bravo were no pushovers, but they just weren't anywhere near as awesome as the original Army of Two duo. So yes, until they come up with a new game in the series (chances of which are, sadly enough, extremely slim to none whatsoever) that is even better, The 40th Day will remain my absolute favorite game in said series.
So, for those of you that have no clue what I'm talking about, let's get down to brass tacks; what is Army of Two? Well, it is a cooperative third person shooter, in which two players take the roles of the aforementioned Tyson Rios and Elliot Salem, bounty hunters extraordinaire. Our deadly duo travels to Shanghai, where a terrorist organization is wreaking havoc across the city. It's up to them to put an end to the terrorist threat and, as they do, make a few bucks while doing so. Quickly after landing their plane, they are in the middle of an armed conflict that will take them from one side of Shanghai to the other as they make their way through the streets of Shanghai, the docks, the South African Consulate, a mall, a hospital; hell, even the Shanghai zoo is crawling with terrorists!
Once in a while, Rios and Salem will have to make decisions that will influence the lives of various people. These moral choices were a brand new addition to the Army of Two universe and usually encompassed a choice between selfish and selfless choices. For instance, will we take the assault rifles we just found, or will we leave them for the people present so they can defend themselves against the terrorists? Making such a decision triggered a comic book-like cutscene that depicted the result of the choice you just made. These scenes looked really cool and the making of these choices gave the game an additional layer of involvement in the story's proceedings as they unfolded.
And while I truly liked the game's characters and back-story, there's something I even liked more and that was the awesome gameplay. Playing the game with two players, either through split screen or online coop, made it possible to incorporate honest to god tactics to this third person shooter. For instance, one player could mock surrender, while the other one picked of the unaware enemies from a flanking position. Also, if you were down, your partner could come to the rescue and heal you. This could sometimes pose a bit of a problem however, especially when your partner needs help because she's down, but forgets to mention that there's a guy with a rocket launcher and a clear line of site aiming at her position... you can guess what happened next, can't you?
A game mechanic called Aggro plays a huge part in the game. As you attack enemies you generate this Aggro. The player who generates the most Aggro gets the full and undivided attention of the enemies, making the other player almost invisible to enemy eyes and enabling them to flank enemies unseen. By making use of this system, players can coordinate their tactics and make the most of any given situation, controlling the battlefield and tipping the odds in their favor. Things like the aforementioned mock surrender by one player also generate a lot of Aggro and divert the enemies' attention away from the other player. In the first game, reaching maximum Aggro meant your character could go into overkill mode, making him almost indestructible for a short period of time, as well as deal more damage. Sadly, the overkill mechanic from the first game was removed from The 40th Day. It did later return in the third game in the series, but it's something I missed in this one.
Like any good shooter, the main focus of the game is on gunplay. By providing you with an extensive arsenal of weaponry, The 40th Day makes sure that you can overcome the many, many enemies you'll encounter during your adventure.... If you buy and unlock said weapons, that is. You see, by killing enemies and getting jobs done, Rios and Salem make a boatload of money. Now what good is money when it isn't spend on guns and armor, am I right? To this end, both characters can enter a shop at the start of each chapter and spend their hard-earned cash on weapons, armor and upgrades that make all your stuff even more awesome then it already is. And trust me, you will want this, because the enemies don't get any easier or more forgiving as you progress through the game's story! So be sure to get your hands the best weapons and armor money can buy!
All in all, I can only say that I truly loved Army of Two: The 40th Day. I've played it a huge number of times and it is still a game I pick up every now and again. The coop gameplay, the characters and the story make The 40th Day a title well-worth of your time and effort! And with that, another trip into the past is done and dusted. I would like to thank you for flying with us today and hope to see you again in the near future. I hope Dennis gets well soon, so he can take you on a brand new adventure in two weeks' time. For now, this is your friendly neighborhood Sadhonker saying adieu, take care and have an awesome time playing your favorite games. Until we meet again!
ARMY OF TWO: THE 40TH DAY