Army of Two
Army of Two is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Electronic Arts, released on March 6, 2008 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles. The game is centered upon two mercenaries fighting through war, political turmoil, and a conspiracy from 1993 to 2009. Focusing on cooperative strategies, Army of Two's main feature is the necessity to use coordinated teamwork to accomplish the game's goals. While the game is meant to be played with another human as a partner, a "Partner Artificial Intelligence" (PAI) is also included and programmed to follow the player's strategies. Dependence on a partner (whether human or PAI) is so pronounced that most objectives are impossible to complete without it.
Army of Two is one of the first games released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles that feature region-locked online play. EA claims that the region-locking is to prevent network lag caused by players from multiple regions, and to prevent the Asian region console owners from playing the U.S. and European version of the game, as the Asian version has been censored to meet certain requirements (notably, the shooting of already dead bodies in the game). On August 11, 2011, Electronic Arts shut down the online multiplayer servers for the game. A sequel titled Army of Two: The 40th Day, was released on January 12, 2010.
The player can upgrade their armor to make it better and stronger but these cannot be purchased and are unlocked as the player progresses through campaign mode. The players start with Basic body armor, upgrade to Medium after completing the Afghanistan mission, and are granted Heavy body armor after the Aircraft Carrier mission. Players can also unlock and purchase new face masks that the main characters wear.
The game allows weapon customization, bought with money earned as the game progresses. Such elements as new barrels, stocks, forend-mounted vertical grips, and extra-large magazines and ammo drums that can be swapped out to give the weapon a unique look and superior statistics. Other modifications include suppressors, a gun-shield, an underslung grenade launcher, or an underslung 12-gauge shotgun.
The original game boasted three different drivable vehicles: a jeep, a main battle tank, and a hovercraft. Gameplay was designed so that one player would drive and the other would fire a secondary weapon like a ring-mounted XM312 heavy machine gun (jeep and hovercraft) or a 120 mm cannon (the tank). The jeep and tank were removed from the final product due to "pacing issues" and the hovercraft was used only in the China and Miami levels.
Multiplayer (or "Versus" mode) allows up to four players, with two on each team (similar to the co-op structure of the main campaign). Both teams will compete over objectives on the map such as assassinating a VIP or destroying an objective in order to earn the most money for their side. At the same time, they will also be forced to deal with the opposing team in order to secure their objectives. On August 11, 2011 the Army of Two online servers were shut down by EA due to lack of players.
Multiplayer for the game was region-locked. Players with the European, American or Asian version of the game could not play with each other.
There are three multiplayer gametypes: Warzone, Bounties and Extraction.
- In Warzone, the primary and secondary objectives are randomly generated and they may vary greatly. One team might need to get to a certain place and defend it, while the other team tries to destroy it, shoot down the chopper, blow up a jeep with its gunner, transport wounded soldiers to the extraction point, assassinate V.I.P's, etc.
- Bounty has the player hunt down the leader of the hostile forces on the map in exchange for a sum of money.
- In Extraction the objective is to rescue randomly spawned V.I.P.s or P.O.W.s to a safe location.
Also every map contains cases of intelligence documents that the player can seek out for extra cash.
Character customization is not possible in the multiplayer portion of the game but the player can buy preset sets of weapons, upgrade the characters body armour and the amount of ammo he can carry. Players need to be careful while shopping though, since the team with the most cash in the end wins.
The story begins in 1993 in Somalia when Elliot Salem and Tyson Rios are in the U.S. 75th Ranger Regiment. They are tasked to work with Phillip Clyde, a private military contractor with the Security and Strategy Corporation (SSC), tasked with carrying out the assassination of powerful local warlord Abdullahi Mo'Alim. During the aftermath of the mission, Philip Clyde invites Lieutenant Colonel Richard Dalton (CO for Salem and Rios's Ranger squad) to join the company for a desk job. He agrees, asking to bring Salem and Rios with him as contractors, and in the following year, the three enter the private sector. Salem and Rios begin work as Private Contractors.
By 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Salem and Rios are sent to Afghanistan to kill an Al-Qaeda terrorist named Mohammed Al-Habiib who seized a missile facility with Soviet M-11 missiles. They find and destroy the missiles, then find themselves in an area filled with noxious gas. Salem comments on how poorly they are equipped for missions and Rios sees conspiracy in this. They find fellow operative Brian Hicks beaten and poisoned in his cell and carry him to safety after successfully killing Mohammed and destroying the missile stockpiles.
By 2003, Salem and Rios are sent to Iraq. Their objective there is to rescue former squad mate Lt. Col Eisenhower, whose U.S. Army base was under siege by the terrorist leader Ali Youssef. They secure Eisenhower, but before the chopper arrives, they are ambushed. Eisenhower bids them farewell before the chopper takes off, but it suddenly explodes in mid-air. Ali Youssef makes a radio transmission claiming responsibility for blowing up the chopper. Rios suspects a conspiracy behind Eisenhower's death, thinking he was singled out – Salem dismisses this, saying he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just before entering Ali Youssef's oil facility, Rios asks Section 8 to investigate the ambushes and try to find their source. Salem and Rios eventually reach Ali Youssef, and kill him at his helipad.
The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, has been seized by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist organization. Returning from an unspecified mission after Iraq, Salem and Rios are redirected by SSC and tasked with liberating the aircraft carrier from terrorist control. They parachute onto the deck and meet up with Clyde. They clear the deck of hostiles and disable the remaining jets to prevent escape. Salem notes that the crew left behind one life boat, which could be useful. Salem and Rios soon stumble upon Clyde and a terrorist collaborating by a computer. Clyde flees, but Rios retrieves his USB flash drive. He sends the information on the drive to hacker Section 8 for analysis, and refuses to tell colleague Alice Murray what's happening until he hears back from him. Section 8 tells Rios that Clyde was responsible for leaking U.S. Troop positions to the terrorists. Salem and Rios then stumble upon the Captain, learning that the nuclear bomb-laden ship is on a collision course for the city of Manila on the Philippine island of Luzon. The captain detonates the explosives, sacrificing himself to make sure that the ship sinks before colliding with the city. Salem and Rios escape using the lifeboat they had discovered earlier.
Salem and Rios agree to quit the company. On a special mission for their arms dealer Cha Min-Soo in South Korea, they inadvertently make contact with Alice, and decide to pull off one last mission, because Salem needs the money. They are told to execute a head terrorist within Abu Sayyaf by detonating a bridge as his car crosses. They complete their objective, but find themselves under attack by the Chinese Military and wanted for murder. It is revealed that the U.S. Senator for Alaska, Richard Whitehorse, campaigning hard against a bill to privatize the military, was the one crossing the bridge. They assume Stockwell set them up, and agree to go public with the evidence they pulled off Clyde. Alice is kidnapped, however, so they head to Miami to save her and confront Stockwell. Cha Min-Soo lends them a large cargo plane and a pilot to take them there.
Miami, Florida is a hurricane zone. U.S. Air Force air defenses pick up the radar trace of Cha Min-Soo's aircraft and send up two F-15's to investigate. The two operatives notice the F-15's and then find that Clyde has murdered their pilot. They engage him in battle, but are interrupted when the U.S. Air Force shoots down the plane (due to the unresponsive dead pilot and sight of gunfire exiting the rear of the plane). Salem and Rios survive, and assume Clyde to be dead. They enter the Miami airport, where they are forced to engage SSC Operatives. Section 8 informs them of Alice's location, and they head on to rescue her. In the meantime, Cha Min-Soo radios them, furious that his plane was destroyed. They tell him it was Clyde's fault, and Cha Min-Soo decides he will pay them to kill him. Rios tries to tell Cha Min-Soo that Clyde already died, but Salem stops him, thinking it will be easy money. Alice reveals to them that it was in fact Dalton who was the mastermind behind the plot, and he plans to kill Stockwell in order to strengthen his political and military clout. Alice says they need to save Stockwell, as he is the only one who can clear their names. Salem and Rios assault the SSC headquarters to recover all of the evidence of Dalton's doing. Clyde is revealed to have survived the crash. Salem roundhouse kicks Clyde through a window, presumably killing him. They then head to the roof where Dalton is attempting to escape in a helicopter. Rios uses a Stinger missile to destroy the helicopter and kill Dalton.
In the epilogue, Stockwell is revealed on a televised news report to have turned himself in and served 3 months in jail. Salem and Rios call Alice and tell her that they have started their own PMC, named Trans World Operations (T.W.O.), and invite her to join them.
This game received two downloadable packs in 2008:
SSC Challenge Map Pack
Veteran Map Pack
The downloadable content (DLC) Veteran Map Pack became available for download on Thursday, May 29, 2008. It contains a new co-op campaign map (fighting and eliminating a dangerous Russian militia group based in Kiev's subway system), an expanded Versus map (China Canal Lock), a more dynamic and interactive environment, more destructible objects, and 6 new "secret" achievements. There's also an alternative ending to the game in which the players can take on Dalton in a more dramatic boss battle at SSC's Miami headquarters in which Salem and Rios have to lock him in a vault.
The online component for both addons was disabled when the servers were shut down, and the addons were delisted in 2017.
Army of Two received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox 360 version 74.56% and 72/100 and the PlayStation 3 version 74.31% and 74/100.
Graphic novel and comics
Army of Two: Dirty Money, written by John Ney Rieber and illustrated by Brandon McKinney, is a 2008 graphic novel which follows Rios and Salem through some of their earliest missions together working as private military contractors up to the War in Afghanistan in September 2001. The plot follows the corruption of the private military company that they work for as private military contractors. Rios and Salem work together as an 'Army of Two', trying to stay alive and uncover the conspiracy within the company that employs them. A six issue miniseries called Army of Two: Across the Border was also released and the events of this story take place after the first game and before the second game.
On October 23, 2008, Variety magazine reported that Universal Pictures had picked up film rights to game, citing Universal's desire to "fast-track the project to begin production in 2009," hiring Michael Mann to write the script and direct.
The 40th Day
The Devil's Cartel
On August 7, 2012, EA Montreal announced Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel. The Devil's Cartel is set in the same universe as the previous games, but focuses on two new TWO (Tactical Worldwide Operations) operatives—Alpha and Bravo—as the two playable characters. The game's campaign mode is set in Mexico, during a drug war. The game featured split screen and online co-op modes, like the previous games. The Devil's Cartel uses the Frostbite 2 engine. The Devil's Cartel was released in March 2013 on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
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