By no stretch of the imagination is Army of Two a groundbreaking franchise. It gratuitously “borrows” design elements from cover based “buddy” shooters like Gears of War or even the likes of Brothers in Arms. Moving from cover to cover and tactically covering your partner is a fairly standard game element in many of today’s shooters. Army of Two doesn’t even do the cover system better than Gears of War does, it just covers it in solid gold.
Army of Two’s Tyson Rios and Elliot Salem are private military contractors whose pimped out arsenal of customized face masks, gold plated assault rifles and diamond encrusted grenades are only out done by the duo’s ambiguous bromance that has the pair playing slap-ass and rock-paper-scissors in the middle of a war torn city. But there’s method to this games blatant madness. The game’s primary mechanic of teamwork is surrounded in its ‘Aggro’ system which has one player gaining the attention of all the enemies while the other player finds an advantageous area to attack from. Players can trade hate as battles progress, pushing their way methodically up a battlefield. The customizable weapons and gaudy gold and platinum played weapons increase the speed at which hate is gained and thus, the effectiveness of the strategy. Strangely, it makes sense.
Now, the game can be played solo with a computer partner being issued moved and attack commands, but much like Gears of War, this is a boring approach and I would much rather opt for a human element. I am currently playing The 40th Day with my brother and it is an absolute riot. Granted, we would probably plow through the story much quicker if we didn’t spend 10 minutes each level making insane monstrosities of gold plated weapons with attached blast shields, bayonets and grenade launchers or building our ‘camaraderie’ level by man-hugging and playing RPS in the streets. But why wouldn’t we want to do that.
Simply put, Army of Two: The 40th Day is unbridled fun that tries not to take itself too seriously. There are moments in the story that feature morality decisions that play into whether you earn monetary or equipment bonuses, complete with a comic book style cutscene that shows the repercussions of your actions. It’s a game that has mercenaries fighting about nothing in particular and cover being taken behind the corpses of dead rhinos in a zoo. It’s a game that has earned such a campy reputation it will forever be known as Army of Two: Total Fistbump Destruction. It may not be a great game, but it sure has a lot of great gaming moments.