Daily Archives: November 18, 2008

365 Word Review: Army of Two

Army of Two tries, bless it. It tries to expand EA’s license dominated catalogue and offer up a fresh experience. Drawing on principles usually seen in MMOs, this third-person shooter places players in the bodies of two meat-head jocks working for private military contractors. Sent around the world fighting for a paycheque, this pair need to work closely together to push through each exotic level.

Against a stream of foes, the two must use cover and distraction to progress. When either shoots or advances they generate aggro. The more aggro generated, the more invisible your partner effectively becomes with the enemy forces preferring to focus on the biggest perceived threat.

This is where it really does try something different. This very clear idea of where your enemy’s attention is focused allows for tactical movement through the battlefield. Good communication between partners can make short work of those in your way. Those, however, with no clear plan could find themselves bogged down in arduous firefights.

Extending the teamwork principle, even if someone takes a tumble it’s not necessarily game over. Dragging them to a quiet corner allows for some emergency first aid. There is no limit on the amount of times this can be employed, the only deterrent is forcing the other into harm’s way.

Whilst in principle the game’s ideas are sound, there a far too many niggling problems to see Army of Two live up to the initial promise. The main offender being the enemy AI which can flip suddenly from overly reclusive to suicidal lemming. The controls simply can’t cope with fast moving foes close up. The targeting is not responsive enough and all too regularly you’ll get clotheslined by an onrushing soldier which cannot be countered.

The game does bring a handful of fresh ideas to the table, including coordinated sniping, a “back to back” mode which sees players at the centre of an on rushing horde and a parachuting section where one steers and one shoots, but none of these ideas truly raise the bar. Army of Two can be put down as a commendable effort to buck the licensing trend but something that ultimately falls short of reinventing co-op play.