Army of Two: The 40th Day
|Army of Two: The 40th Day|
Buzz Monkey (PSP)
|Series||Army of Two|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3|
Army of Two: The 40th Day is a third-person shooter video game developed by EA Montreal and published by Electronic Arts for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game was also released for PlayStation Portable, which was developed by Buzz Monkey. It is the sequel to Army of Two. Army of Two: The 40th Day was released on January 12, 2010 in North America, on January 14, 2010 in Australia, and on January 15, 2010 in Europe.
The 40th Day focuses on two-player cooperative play and employs a cover system. It features Tyson Rios and Elliot Salem, the two protagonists from the original game, as combatant partners who, with the assistance of their handler Alice Murray, must fight to survive and prevail over invading forces that have engulfed Shanghai, China in a devastating terrorist attack. A demo of the game was released on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.
Weapons and upgrades are available, with interchangeable upgrades between weapons such as adding the barrel of one assault rifle to another. The "pimped" option returns along with new camouflage schemes. Weapons can now also be obtained from dead enemies, increasing the player's arsenal to four weapons, along with grenades. Bullets will be able to penetrate weaker materials such as wood and sheet metal. Certain weapons and weapon lockers can only be unlocked by morality moments. Weapon parts can be obtained in the game for free, either by searching armored boxes (which are locked as soon as the enemy guarding it detects the player's presence), rescuing hostages, or simply exploring.
New Heavy enemy types appear as bosses. They wear thick armor and often require a special method of attack to defeat, such as shooting gas canisters or grenade bags that they carry. The Heavy enemies carry weapons such as a flamethrower and a Gatling gun that cannot be unlocked by the player, though they can be picked up and temporarily used after the Heavy is defeated.
The 40th Day expands on and refines the cooperative play featured in the original game. Players can use co-op moves at any time. The playbook allows players to scan enemies prior to engaging them in order to set up particular team-based tactics. For example, players can mock surrender or set up simultaneous sniper shots. This is in addition to using aggro as a mechanic for tactically engaging enemies in the midst of combat.
Aggro is a system that allows two players to tactically control the target of their enemy's attacks and possibly change the outcome of a firefight. Aggro is measured by a HUD element that displays which player the enemy characters are currently focusing on. By performing aggressive actions, such as firing one’s weapon at enemies, a player generates aggro and in turn causes enemies to focus more of their attention on that player, and less attention on the player with less aggro. While one player has aggro, the other is usually being ignored and as a result can then freely perform actions such as flanking or sniping. In The 40th Day, additional non-aggressive actions can affect aggro. For example, by performing a mock surrender the enemy combatants will focus all of their attention on the player that is surrendering, allowing the other to perform a surprise attack. Some non-aggressive acts can be performed cooperatively as well.
In The 40th Day players are forced to make moral decisions that affect the story of the game. At pre-determined points in the game players will be presented with a choice, for example whether they should steal weapons from a mall security armory or vacate the premises. The decision is not a vote between two players, but instead either player must decide while the other player is forced to accept the ramifications of that decisions regardless of what their preference was. The outcome and presentation of these morality moments takes the form of comic panels created by the popular artists Chris Bachalo, Jamie Mendoza and Jock.
Dynamic and variety in gameplay
EA Montreal has taken steps to ensure that the gameplay in The 40th Day is more dynamic than the original. This includes the environment, where some objects, such as wooden walls and crumbling mortar can now be penetrated by bullets. There are noncombatant NPCs that players will be forced to engage with. Players can simply ignore these civilian NPCs and allow them to be killed, or players can decide to rescue them. This sort of interaction can also occur in specific hostage scenarios where players must use cooperative moves to successfully overcome the situation.
The 40th Day maintains its focus on cooperative gameplay by requiring that players play in a partnership. Partners are a source for ammunition and are able to revive their fallen team mate. There are four multiplayer game modes:
- Co-op Deathmatch pits teams of two against other partnerships.
- Control awards points to teams for capturing and defending randomly spawned points.
- Warzone has players battle over various objectives.
- Extraction is a game mode where teams of four fight waves of increasingly powerful enemies in order to clear the map for extraction.
On February 22, 2010, Electronic Arts announced downloadable content titled Chapters of Deceit. It was released on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network on April 1, 2010. It features two new campaign levels: "The Assassination" and "Collateral Damage", which attempt to bridge the plot gap between Mission 004: The Hospital and 005: The Mall.
The story finds Tyson Rios and Elliot Salem as self-employed private contractors, who, along with Alice Murray run Trans World Operations (TWO), hence the game's title. Their second mission as the newly formed company takes them to Shanghai where they are tasked with meeting a contact named JB. Upon meeting him it is revealed that he was once an SSC Operative who also worked for Dalton. JB leads them to a back alley where their gear and weapons have been stashed in a dumpster. They then proceed with the second part of their mission in the form of planting locator beacons throughout strategic locations in Shanghai. After planting the last of the beacons and an encounter with overzealous security guards, they regroup on a rooftop of a building.
When Alice radios in, telling them they will get extra cash for terminating JB, a Morality Moment comes for the first time, and the players can decide to either kill him or spare him by lying and telling Alice that he escaped. Following the sequence in which JB's fate is decided, a cut scene triggers showing the city of Shanghai under attack as buildings are bombarded and chaos reigns down below. Rios and Salem barely escape the rooftop and ascend the building, encountering groups of mercenaries that have specifically targeted them. They manage to contact Alice who informs them that she is alive, but is trapped in the South African Consulate. They set course for the consulate, dispatching waves of mercenaries through toppled and burning buildings as well as encountering civilian hostages, which the players can choose to leave to die or rescue. Rios and Salem discover Alice being held hostage in an office. After freeing her, the three fight their way to the main hall of the consulate where a cutscene triggers a helicopter crashing through the building and subsequently creating a hole on the floor for them to escape.
Salem and Rios use the underground tunnels and a highway, rescuing hostages and shooting through the hostile mercenaries. They make their way to the entrance of the Shanghai Zoo where they encounter a zoo employee who guides them via television monitors and speakers.
Rios and Salem rescue a trapped zoo worker who leads them to an exit. After departing the zoo, Rios and Salem are contacted by Alice, who has found safe haven, and informs them to locate a communications tower to hopefully signal for help. Rios and Salem march forward, traversing rooftops as they eliminate enemy waves. They finally reach the communication tower only to discover an empty room. They decide to continue forward and jump to an adjacent balcony. The balcony suddenly gives way and Salem plummets down to the ground and is knocked unconscious. Salem awakens 24 hours later in a hospital. They are met by Dr. Wu who asks for their help in evacuating the patients. Salem and Rios defend the hospital from the mercenaries, before heading to a nearby mall.
At the mall, the pair are held captive until freed by a mercenary named Breznev. Breznev informs Salem and Rios of three strategically placed bombs that will destroy the communications center. Rios and Salem successfully plant the bombs, and go their separate ways from Breznev. After exiting the mall, Alice contacts Salem and Rios that she has a helicopter attempting to extract the pair. Despite their efforts in destroying the defending anti-aircraft guns, the extraction chopper is shot down and destroyed, with Alice presumed dead at this point.
Rios and Salem bunker down to rest, and, realizing that there is no escape, decide to exact revenge on the man responsible for this nightmare; They decide to kill the leader of the 40th Day Initiative, Jonah Wade. They track him to a Chinese temple that is heavily fortified. If the player saved all of the civilian hostages, they will appear armed and ready to back up Rios and Salem. If the player fail to save all the civilians, then Rios and Salem must take on the enemies alone. The pair infiltrate the temple and eliminate waves of mercenaries until they reach the inner sanctum. Rios and Salem blast their way through a large door, and finally come face to face with Jonah. Jonah delivers a monologue justifying his actions as a violent social experiment to force the world to turn back from the moral decay that is destroying it. Jonah is holding a device which he claims is the trigger for a nuclear bomb located in the heart of the city.
He offers Rios and Salem a choice to make an "Act of Sacrifice" by having one of them shoot the other, or choose to kill him and his invading force, which will detonate the bomb, killing 7 million people. Regardless of the choice taken, Jonah reveals that the bomb was a hoax. Killing one's partner ends the game with an epilogue where the surviving partner laments for taking the life of his friend. However, the United Nations regain control over the city, starting a rebuilding process. Killing Jonah ends the game with an epilogue where Jonah quotes the Holy Bible as his inspiration for his actions in Shanghai.
Weaponry and equipment
A predominant feature is the ability to customize weapons using money that is earned through killing enemies and completing tasks. The official Army of Two blog describes it as "like Lego with Guns […] every part of your weapon is customizable and interchangeable with parts from other weapons.” The changes to weapons are not only for appearance, but also affect the performance and the amount of aggro that they generate. Some weapon characteristics that can be changed are handling, accuracy, ammunition capacity, aggro, and power.
Rios and Salem wear ballistic masks as part of their combat gear. By logging into the Army of Two: The 40th Day website, the player can create custom designs that appear on their masks in both campaign and multiplayer. EA has since taken down the website for the service and has not said whether or not they will reinstate it.
Weapon design contest
A community-oriented weapons design contest was run for The 40th Day. The contest challenged fans and enthusiasts from North America, Italy, France, and the UK to submit an image and brief description of a weapon that they designed. Two weapon designs (one from the North American and one from the European entries) were chosen as winners and will appear in the game for those players who have a saved game present on their game console from the original Army of Two.
The winning entries were chosen on August 6, 2009. The winning entries were the AS-KR1 "The Ass Kicker" Rifle (submitted by Angry Joe show) and the "Grand Pinger" Sniper Launcher (submitted by Uberblargh).
Army of Two: The 40th Day received mixed reviews from critics. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox 360 version 74.13% and 73/100 and the PlayStation 3 version 72.39% and 74/100. The PlayStation Portable version received reviews with a score of 46.40% and 49/100 on GameRankings and Metacritic. IGN awarded it an 8.5/10, saying "The morality moments could have posed larger dilemmas and the AI still stumbles at times, but overall, The 40th Day is a great game to blast through." PSM3 Magazine UK awarded it 85%, saying "It's not the most progressive or technically impressive game on PS3, but the morality system, weapon customization and online co-op elevate it, and it's one of the best cover-to-cover shooters on PS3", while PlayStation: The Official Magazine (US) awarded it 9 out of 10, saying "EA Montreal delivers a rich, over-the-top buddy experience that provides intelligent choices and a tough but fun Die Hard-like vibe that helps lighten the game's dark, gritty atmosphere." While Hardcore Gamer Magazine criticized the game's minor improvements and similarity to the original, it noted that "the 40th day is more serious, lacking in the “what the hell” moments that peppered the first game."
On April 17, 2012, EA Montreal announced Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel, Which was released in March 2013 on the Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3.
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