Army of TWO Review by Willie Fuego

Willie FuegoWillie Fuego606,717
28 Sep 2010
8 3 0
Army of Two promised to set a new standard for multiplayer cooperation. The game's credo was "Combat, Camaraderie, Cash." Let's delve into that.

Combat: The targeting system of this game is terrible. While firing over cover at long distance baddies works well enough, shooting at hostiles as they get close is miserably implemented. You will often find that it is much easier to just give up on your weapon and run through bullets to go for the melee at close range. Forgive me for saying so, but a combat system has to work up close and at range in or to be functional. Thus, this system is broken.

Once you resign yourself to eliminating run-and-gun close range tactics and restrict yourself to either methodical ranged attacks, or melee-spamming, you will find that the combat is more enjoyable. Working as a team to coordinate suppression and flanking works well, but works infinitely better in the Brothers in Arms series, making this game look poor in comparison to a system that has been around since the original Xbox. There is something to be said, however, for the ability to do this with your closest pal over Xbox Live.

Camaraderie: Opportunities to work collaboratively to accomplish objectives (other than the aforementioned suppress-and-flank combat mechanic) are few and far between. The only cooperative operations that are supported are:
- at scripted times in the game, you will go back-to-back with your buddy and enter bullet time to fend off an onrush of enemies.
- at scripted times you will have to do a tandem parachute jump. One of you will steer the chute, the other will be able to snipe.
- at scripted times, you can get in a hovercraft. One of you will drive, the other will shoot.
- you can occasionally find riot shields (or car doors) in the level to create rolling cover for you and your buddy
- at limited locations, you can boost your buddy to a high area that they can shoot from
- when your buddy is hit, you can drag him to safety while he shoots to cover you

The expectation for a game built around two player coop is that coop is built into the general fabric of the game. Instead, the players are dropped into role-based mini-games at scripted times, which disrupts action and seems shoehorned in. There was so much potential here... For example, why not let either player tackle and cover the other, such as when you both get caught behind the same cover facing a grenade you won't get away from? How about making the two characters physically different enough such that only Rios can lift certain objects, or only Salem can fit through certain areas (thus increasing the replay value, so you can try to beat the game with both characters)? Perhaps giving Salem the ability to hack electronics and Rios the ability to perform bomb disposal... The potential is endless. Sadly, this potential is never realized.

Cash: The opportunities to get cash bonuses during the campaign are woefully slim. There are perhaps four sub-missions during each level that are placed right in your path. There are no real "side-quests" that you can do for extra challenge or extra money. In my first playthough, the only objective my buddy and I failed at was shooting down a Chinook helicopter, and that's because we didn't bring rockets with us. This game would have benefited from a more open world environment that would enable players to take their own routes, set up more elaborate ambushes, and perform more coordinated sub-missions along the way. Sadly, everything is laid right out in front of you, so it feels like the amount of cash you earn is fixed.

Be that as it may, the cooperative multiplayer is the best part of the game. Playing with the idiot AI as a partner in the single player campaign is frustrating and not worth doing, unless you've just got to have the achievement for it and the competitive online experience is absolutely miserable. Only one in six attempts will land you in a ranked game that will run to completion without a disconnection occurring. When you are able to find a stable game, it's just a lame experience. Objectives spawn out of thin air within a very fixed amount of map space, often requiring the player to blow up the same map target twice in the same game.

While I applaud the developers for attempting to build a game around the cooperative element, unfortunately, the game just fails to execute. I would recommend that folks rent it to try out the online coop with a good friend that they know will finish the coop campaign with them, but otherwise, don't bother spending the money.
2.0