Army of Two
Most video games place you in the role of a lone-wolf bad ass who doesn't need anyone to watch his back. However, sometimes, we need a little helping hand to get us over the hump. So join us as we take a look at Army of Two, EA Montreal's latest action title that reminds us of the importance of teamwork!
- Excellent co-op, enemy AI, aggro management, equipment upgrades, long missions
- Fatally flawed AI partner, tricky cover system, weak versus mode
If you're playing alone, or looking for a competitive online rampage, Army of Two teeters between middling fun and frustration, but if you take the time to give the meaty co-op component its due you'll find yourself sucked in by one of the few gun-obsessed romps worth playing through again and again.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
While serving your country is a noble cause, sometimes, you just have to get paid and when it comes to war, the real money's in signing on with a private security firm whose mercenaries answer only to the highest bidder. Welcome, troops, to the world of Army of Two.
Team Merc: World Police
Rios and Salem are two slabs of former Army Ranger beef who leap between heavy fire hot-spots like Afghanistan, Somalia, and Iraq as employees of a mercenaries-for-hire outfit. Each of the six protracted missions included in the game are comprised of a long string of objectives guarded by hordes of troublemakers, soldiers, and would-be martyrs who behave with admirable intelligence.
Your AI foes will push, flank, and retreat dynamically, depending on your behaviour and battlefield conditions. There's also an Aggro-meter that offers up intriguing strategic options: one member of your two-man team can draw the attention of the enemies by being more aggressive, letting his partner manoeuvre around unnoticed. Telling your partner to hold position and fire aggressively while you sneak around the enemy is a key strategy and really highlights just how vital teamwork is to the game.
Though the plot is predictable and laden with pointless profanity, a few elements successfully set Army of Two apart from similar recent attempts at two-man teamwork. Tear off a car door and creep forward behind it while your buddy lets loose; go back-to-back and lay enemies to waste in staged slo-mo sequences; boost each other over obstacles; and pick off goons from the sky while your partner controls a parachute descent. It's an exciting mix of elements, even if the different pieces don't always fit snugly together, and it works remarkably well right up until you're gunned down and left waiting for your partner's assistance. At this point, the poor jerk's brain turns to mush, and you'll often find yourself back at the last checkpoint quicker than you can say "bullet sponge."
Double Your Fun
Add a human partner to the mix, though, and the enjoyment level rockets skyward, both online and off. The inability to manually switch your view from one shoulder to another will aggravate some gamers, and there isn't sufficient feedback to know when you're properly attached to cover, but working under pressure with a pal to formulate strategies for tough areas is challenging, satisfying, and addictive. The whole shebang's also eminently replayable, thanks to attractive forking level designs filled with cover, occasional simultaneous sniping possibilities, and mid-mission opportunities to acquire, upgrade, and equip almost 30 different weapons with your hard-earned blood money.
Versus mode doesn't fair nearly as well. Dynamic objectives and 2-on-2 intimacy offer a serviceable gambol through four of the game's environments, and jeeps and tanks missing from the main campaign amp up the mayhem, but there are only so many times you can spawn right on top of the opposing team or take a bullet in the face from an out-of-thin-air NPC before you throw up your hands in defeat.
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