By Philip Dunkley
I am not an online Gamer. There, I said it, and have officially come out of the closet. Yes I’ve played online game before, and dabbled in some MMORPGMORPPG (Whatever they are called nowadays), and I’ve enjoyed the experience, but inherently I am a single player fan and my gaming time is more private than most people’s and one of my true escapism methods. I don’t want to have to deal with incessant kids who think they know more than anyone else on planet earth, and as a whole, I just prefer to get myself involved in a story rather than a competition.
So once again I found myself somewhat out of my depth reviewing a game that relies on the actions of a team mate and brings dynamic AI to a CO-OP format of Gameplay. As I fired up the game on my PS3 and was preparing to get stuck into something I knew would probably not tickle my fancy as much as a decent RPG or Single Player FPS would have, I realised that my perception could well be changing. Now it took me a good hour just to come to terms with the control system in the game, and to adjust myself to a dynamic that had previously not been a huge part of my life.
The story seemed solid enough, as it starts off with you (a choice of 2 characters) back in the nineties, as a private in the Marines, and progresses to 2001, with your character now working for a private security firm when most of the poo hits the fan in the United States. This is where the story kind of really begins, as the first 2 missions are more of a tutorial and stage setting event more than anything else. You then proceed to fight your way in a third person format, through various scenarios that your new employers deem fit, and handle situations that the general military can’t. As the story progresses, a deeper more sinister story unfolds, and without spoiling anything, you are in for a few twists.
I didn’t really know what I thought of the game at first, because it was all so new to me. Now I know that have been plenty of team based games out there, things like Rainbow Six: Vegas and the likes. But this is different, really different. It brings out a certain side of manhood that few other games have captured, ever. High fiving your teammate and rocking out to air â€œGunâ€ guitar just oozes testosterone. Relying heavily on a teammate also brings out a certain feeling of masculinity and this emotion starts to seep into your style of play, and one gets a certain sense of protectiveness over your team mate, and a real reliance from him in return.
EA have managed to bring a few new ideas into the game with a new kind of mechanic called AGGRO. It works as follows. You ask your team mate to give you cover fire and this draws all the attention to him from your enemies’ fire, and allows you to become invisible and flank them for easier kills. This also works in the reverse, and should you keep the AGGRO on yourself for more than a few seconds, a mode called Overkill becomes available. Once activated, everything slows down to become more accurate, and you become invisible for a few seconds allowing the player to rush in and blast as many baddies as possible. This works quite well and is a nice touch. Another mechanic called â€œBack to Backâ€ thrusts the two team mates in the, surprise surprise, back to back position and allows them to take out enemies in a matrix style slow motion bullet spree. After the fight, just look at the floor and see the thousands of shells lying next to you. You also have the ability to heal each other, but need to drag the fallen to a safe place before this becomes feasible, but the injured player can still fire at enemies while being dragged. Very nice. Another nifty touch is that you earn cash as payment for each mission, and a few bonuses become available in each mission too. This allows you to buy new Weapons, ranging from Primary weapons, Secondary Weapons and Special weapons, and a few pimping options for the guns (These are great, I blow all my cash on this).
The graphics in Army of Two are very good, not quite on par with the top games like Call of Duty 4, but still clean and crisp enough to capture the various regions and moods the game is spread across, with level design impressing me. The sounds are great with a lot of â€œWhoo Haa’sâ€ and â€œRock on’s â€ thrown into the mix. One thing that did irritate me a bit was the use of the word â€œBroâ€ in the game a little too much. The surround mixing was particularly impressive, making me look behind more than once.
I did not get the chance to try the multiplayer features of this game, as it seems that SA is the first country to receive the game, and as hard as I tried, I could not find any game sessions running on the PSN. This will be reviewed when we receive a copy of the XBOX360 version.
At first I struggled with the controls, maybe this will feel better on the XBOX360 version, and I definitely missed the rumble in this game on the PS3 version. One control scheme that really blew me away was the reload option of quickly lifting and lowering the controller. It just feels right. The game play was smooth enough, with a few moments of frame rate slowdown, but nothing serious at all. I also had an issue of the game locking up in a cut scene, but this has only happened once.
As I stated earlier, I was unsure at the beginning of the experience, but now I’m sold. I love it, and I would gladly recommend this game to anybody. EA, I commend the originality and overall experience. If you love serious simulation and reality, you might not enjoy this as much, but it’s still worth a really good look at.If this is what mercenary work is like, count me in. Whoo Haaa.
Graphics – 80% (Lazy – 85%)
Playability – 85% – (Lazy – 90%)
Originality – 85% – (Lazy 90%)
Tilt Factor – 90% – (tilt what?)
Overall – 85% (Excellent). (agreed)
Ed: I loved this games and from the short time I played it I would have given it a 90%… Hopefully I will be blessed with a copy very soon and I will be adding my version of events to this review. For you lucky PS3 owners go buy this now. It is awesome.
Last Updated: March 2, 2008