Something else EA almost got right is the weapons upgrade system. Before each mission and often mid-mission you're able to buy new weapons or upgrade existing ones. Cash is earned by completing objectives and it's pretty plentiful so you can upgrade quite regularly. Sadly you can only carry three weapons at once, plus your grenades, so it's unlikely you'll switch to anything new once you've got a fully kitted out killing machine - you can even add bling to make your gun nice and shiny and to attract more aggro. What effectively ruins this though is the lengthy loading you have to endure when you want to buy or upgrade. The menu itself takes far too long to load and then you need to load a new menu for each weapon type. Towards the end we often opted to stick with what we had rather than endure the loading once again.
Whether or not it's a great tool or simply a way to overcome poor level design is unclear, but Army of Two features a GPS, essentially telling you where to go and what the objectives are. For the most part it's perfectly possible to navigate without having to follow a set of glowing orange arrows, given than most of the maps are pretty linear, but we did have to consult the high-tech gadget from time to time.
As in Gears of War, Army of Two's competitive multiplayer modes only cater for a small number of players, in this case four. As a team of two you're placed in a large map (there are only four at the moment, but more via DLC wouldn't be a huge surprise) and you need to complete objectives before the opposition in order to earn cash. With AI enemies also littered about and the objectives being pretty varied for a multiplayer shooter, Army of Two's Vs. mode is certainly something you won't have played before. How much fun you get from it will depend on how you found the core controls during the campaign and if you can buddy up with a real friend who knows the ins and outs of the game.
Built using the Unreal Engine 3 Army of Two looks solid, but nothing more. Character models are excellent, but the environments are pretty sparse and enemies start to resemble clones before too long. The hovercraft sections don't shine visually either, with the vehicle almost looking like it's been pasted into the scene. Thankfully the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions both run at a pretty smooth frame rate and the differences between the two visually are minimal at most - we had both running side by side and it's hard to pick a winner. On the Xbox 360 everyone's got rumble support and there are plenty of Achievements to earn, while the PS3 features a few minor motion control additions, such as moving the controller up and down to reload your weapon.
It's hard to be down on a game that tries to do something commendable, but Army of Two suffers from too many problems to be the game we wanted it to be. It just about scrapes through, enough anyway to warrant some decent sales and hopefully a sequel. Hopefully next time Rios and Salem will be a little less wise-cracking, take things a little more seriously and come complete with levels and gameplay scenarios that match the clever aggro system. While the gun-play certainly grows on you as you progress, some hefty tweaks there wouldn't be amiss either. As a trial for a new gameplay concept Army of Two does its job, but as a great game it falls someway short.