Army of Two is EA games’ highly anticipated third person co-op shooter. This game puts an emphasis on strong co-op tactics and really awesome guns. All the while, it treads on a hot topic, the war in Iraq and terrorism. But unlike most games instead of playing as soldiers in the military you play as mercenaries who work for big money. So grab your guns, throw on your gear and let’s go to war.
Army of Two revolves around two mercenaries, Elliot Salem and Tyson Rios. In the beginning of the game you will have a choice of what characters you want to play before you are thrown into basic training. After learning how to take down the enemies easily in basic training you are thrown into Somalia. In the Somalia Republic representing the U.S. Army, you and your partner are assigned your first object, to assist a mercenary in a mission. Once that mission is completed you figure out that you could make more money being mercenaries, and this is when the game starts.
The cut scene that follows shows Salem and Rios fighting battles across the world which comes to a news bulletin on TV of 9/11. This puts the team into Afghanistan and Iraq doing missions for the all mighty dollar. Once you reach the aircraft carrier level you learn that there’s a mole in the SSC (Security and Strategy Corporation), which is the company you work for. So from here on out you want to figure out who the mole is all the while fighting terrorists on foreign and domestic soil.
In Army of Two you can choose to either complete the campaign on single player, multiplayer or private/public co-op online campaign. If single player is chosen, you only get to pick between Salem and Rios, unfortunately you don’t get to switch between the two mercs in game. Once the game gets going, like most co-op based strategy games, you order your teammate to move with simple d-pad commands. If you pick multiplayer or private/public co-op you and your friend get to choose which character you are and it’s the same campaign as single player but it’s much easier and so much more fun than single player. You get to work together to take down tough enemies using Aggro. Aggro is a meter, which shows you who, out of you and your teammate, is drawing the enemies’ attention. If one person is drawing all the enemy fire the other player will become “invisible” to enemies giving you an excellent opportunity to flank. Multiplayer is extremely rewarding if you’re able to strategically use aggro. Co-op tactics is the key to success so don’t just go in shooting your way to the end.
Online, there are some pretty neat modes. The first one is versus; this is where you and a buddy team up against another two-man army. Whichever team completes the most mission objectives and earns the most cash wins. For more team action you can enter the Warzone which essentially has you finding the opposing team and trying to kill them before they kill you. This is all with the added pressure of trying to complete objectives. Extraction is the next one and this is an interesting mode. The goal in Extraction is to try and save downed allies and bring them out of the battlefield. The trick of Extraction is that both teams will be trying to save their own group of friends at the same time. This causes you to be careful and balance your time between killing the enemy and saving lives. The last online game mode is Bountie. In Bountie the levels are filled with enemies who have a price on their head which turns into a race between teams to earn as much cash as possible.
Besides the multiplayer modes, some cool features in Army of Two is the ability to upgrade your weapons and armor with the money you earn. There are three categories of weapons, primary, secondary and special weapons. Primary weapons range from assault rifles, machine guns and shotguns. Most of the primary weapons can have upgraded barrels, stocks, cartridges, front mount attachments, suppressors (which are a little pointless) and a shield. Secondary weapons are side arms, and like primary weapons, have all the same upgrades. Which brings us to special weapons, basically anything with a scope on it or which is carried on your shoulder can be found here. Aside from all the aforementioned upgrades each gun can be “pimped” which is basically gold and silver plating put on the gun you chose to have pimped. Other than the weapons you can upgrade, there are also three choices of body armor, good for either mobility or strength, and you can also upgrade your face shield to look more aggressive.
Army of Two is the best co-op multiplayer game since Gears of War. With the strong use of tactics and cover, every enemy kill done with a friend is rewarding. Also the ability to upgrade weapons hasn’t been attempted in many games, but Army of Two successfully does this. Even though Army of Two shows off excellent co-op multiplayer it doesn’t mean there are no flaws.
One problem with Army of Two is that the enemy A.I. can be extremely stubborn to kill. If you pay close attention sometimes it takes 3 bullets to the top of a terrorists head to take them down, last I checked it really shouldn’t be that hard to take a human down. The enemies accuracy is also impeccable, whether they’re shooting you close up or sniping you with a pistol you’re going to get hit, so make sure to use cover. Another issue with Army of Two is how long the game lasts. Army of Two can be completed within 5 hours which is unfortunate seeing the game is so good. It also didn’t help that they showed Salem and Rios doing all these events in the cut-scenes that could have been turned into missions extending the games play time. Although, games wouldn’t be games without flaws, because then it would be real life.
The graphics in Army of Two are good. Most of the environments look realistic aside from some small issues. The enemy movement is clean and the rag doll effects are as good as they are in most games. At times the graphics can seem a little on the arcade side. Each enemy has a health bar on top of their heads, which could have been done without to give the game a more realistic feel. Also the blood which shoots out of enemies when they get a .50 cal round, or any round, in them isn’t realistic at all. Other than that there are no real problems. Rios and Salem look pretty awesome with their full gear on and holding an M60, PSG-1 and a P90 (which was my weapon set up for the last levels.
As far as the sound is concerned there’s no problems at all, gunfire sounds realistic, grenades exploding all around you, bullets flying past your head everything that gives an action game its title.
If you’re looking for a new co-op shooter for you and a friend to blast through again and again and high five each other every time you get a sweet kill then the $60.00 is definitely worth the tag price of Army of Two. Army of Two does everything right in the multiplayer aspect of the game, but somehow lacks in single player play. Army of Two should be advertised with the warning “Requires 2 or more friends” on the back of the game box. Even if you’re friends aren’t around single player is still worth a try. Just be sure to put the whole war in Iraq and military patriotism behind you for this game, because it does base itself on a touchy subject.
Gameplay: 8.5, Graphics:7, Sound:9, Innovation:9, Mojo:10 Final: 8.7 / 10