Army of Two

Army of Two Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3

New action tile from EA that pits you with a clever AI comrade or a live person in co-op play.

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6Out of 10
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EA almost nails the co-op shooter
EA almost nails the co-op shooter

EA almost nails the co-op shooter

Army of Two is a brave step by EA. Despite being responsible for some of the most entertaining games released over the past few years the publisher still has a bad reputation with certain gamers, and Army of Two was looking to change that. As a brand new IP with a clear focus on cooperative gameplay we had high hopes, but for every moment where the ideas seem fresh, the gameplay feels awkward, often to the extent that the fundamental mechanics feel broken. You're certainly an army of two, but you might not want to see your partner again once you're finished.

With a plot revolving around soldiers for hire (mercenaries Tyson Rios and Elliot Salem), privatising the military, political hot spots and some backstabbing and revenge, Army of Two is set up pretty well. It's got all the ingredients needed of a solid action game, but it doesn't make the most of it. The plot seems patched together and is never all that engaging, the characters are hard to believe - mainly because they don't do enough that plays towards their different personalities - and the threat never seems as big as it's made out to be. Without the story to keep you playing, the gameplay has a lot resting on its shoulders.

Whether played with a real person (online or via split-screen) or an AI partner the game focuses heavily on what EA calls the Aggro system. A meter at the top of the screen shows who is generating the most aggro, and the enemies focus on that character. Taking the aggro is as simple as firing at an enemy location, or better still hitting enemies - the higher the aggro the redder the character becomes. The other character then becomes somewhat invisible to the enemy (to the extent that the game shows him as being slightly transparent), enabling him to sneak around the back of enemies to get a better shot - indeed, some enemies can only be downed by attacking from the rear.

For this to work you need to play the game as it wants to be played, which means sticking to cover and working as a team. Rather than using cover like in Gears of War or Rainbow Six Vegas, you simply move behind objects and peek out from the sides. The only snapping to cover is when you dive behind something. It feels a little fiddly at first, but you get used to it and it works - although you'll often think you're aiming directly at a target only to find you're shooting into a wall.

If you play by the rules the gameplay works, but problems arise far too often.

If you play by the rules the gameplay works, but problems arise far too often.

Problems quickly arise though. When everyone is playing by the rules - you're in cover or trying to flank the enemy and the enemy is a reasonable distance from you - the game ticks along, unspectacularly, but decently enough. You feel like you're having to use tactics to overcome them and it seems like a job well done by EA. But then someone will rush at you and the game falls apart at the seams. For trained soldiers these guys can't deal with close-quarters combat well at all.

The main problem is the camera, which isn't your traditional third-person shooter viewpoint, instead going for something like Splinter Cell where you can only strafe when using the slightly zoomed in aiming view. Unlike Splinter Cell, Army of Two throws an awful lot of enemies at you and you need to be able to aim and take them down quickly, often while moving. Trying to shoot anything while not using the aiming view makes a joke of the soldiers you're controlling, as they're almost incompetent and the turn speed when using the precision aim view is so slow that you're a dead duck if you're out in the open.

All it takes is one guy to get up close and you'll be a mess of aiming reticules and spinning camera angles, and if that guy happens to want to launch a rocket at your face from two metres (it does happen), you can wave goodbye to the world. Things aren't helped by an inability to easily spot where enemies are shooting you from. As is the norm, an on-screen red marker appears when you're hit, indicating the direction it came from, but in the heat of the battle - and with enemies ducking down behind cover all the time - it's almost impossible to spot them. It's made even worse when the screen is filled with red to indicate your ill health.

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User Comments

hotwadd's Avatar

hotwadd

ok soo i picked this game up for a tenner in hmv...not too bad actually well worth the money for a few hours of shooting...very linear and kinda railed at times but a bit of fun for two
Posted 23:09 on 21 May 2009
emu2282's Avatar

emu2282

Tom has explained the game perfectly, but 6 was a pretty poor score. 7.5 or 8 would have served better. Very enjoyable game, played a couple times through and enjoy the games light heartness. I think the games main fault is to portray itself as serious hardcore when it's more just fun.
Posted 14:42 on 07 September 2008
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MONKEYMAN5428

I THOUGHT IT WAS A FRIKEN AWSOME GAME AND I WAS SUPRISED ON WHAT REVEWS IT GOT
Posted 00:24 on 31 March 2008
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sfjp

i got it 1 week ago from game in uk. I though it was rubbish for the first half an hour then was alright i thought was a bit of a fun game nothing special but good fun to have and play though ive only seen one other person on psn so havebnt played online wich is gutting cant wait when i do though bet its quality.
Posted 14:26 on 12 March 2008
Exnor's Avatar

Exnor

GameSpot's review has just been published: http://us.gamespot.com/xbox360/action/armyoftwo/review.html

6.5/10.
Posted 21:39 on 11 March 2008
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capeo

Yes, JayB, we're all noobs compared to you and your limitless gaming experience. Which is odd, when considering how you write, I'd have to assume you were twelve years old. You must have gotten a lot of gaming in when you were a toddler.
Posted 17:24 on 11 March 2008
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JayB

Razor or wat eva ur stupid name is , this game got nothin short, controls are bad , mult-p aint pretty s@@t , this game made 4 lil kids
Posted 16:06 on 11 March 2008
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capeo

I find it odd that the couple reviewers who gave this game pretty bad reviews both complained about about not being able to kill guys on the run or take guys out at close range. I think they just suck at the game. I seem to have no problem doing this. It seems like the want the game to play exactly like other games they have played. Not to mention you can adjust the aim settings as well.
Posted 15:38 on 11 March 2008
RaZoR_GTX's Avatar

RaZoR_GTX

This game is mint! the only beef i have with it is that enemys are not get hit when i am exactly at them. I use a 40 round clip aiming at this guys headspace at bout 5 meters and nothing, i had to play dead instead. But im well happy with this game! worth 37 quid neways.

Jaybe there must b a lot of noobs in this gaming world but your the only one who thinks its crap :blushsmile:
Posted 14:14 on 11 March 2008
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JayB

From wich planet r u? only noobs will play this crappy game.... gonna trade it tomorrow
Posted 03:51 on 11 March 2008
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bortonj88

This game is absolute quality! Just been playing for ages with my mate on campaign and we are hooked. Truly a great game!
Posted 02:55 on 11 March 2008
NinetiesKid's Avatar

NinetiesKid@ MarkToomey-08

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkToomey-08
Army of two is a brilliant game the only thing i don't like about it is you can only kill bosses from the back!!!!!!!

Shotgun them down, run round them and pump some lead into their back while they're getting up :D
Posted 19:14 on 10 March 2008
MarkToomey-08's Avatar

MarkToomey-08

Army of two is a brilliant game the only thing i don't like about it is you can only kill bosses from the back!!!!!!!
Posted 12:14 on 10 March 2008
NinetiesKid's Avatar

NinetiesKid@ FantasyMeister

Quote:
Originally Posted by FantasyMeister
As for Army of Two, you only have to take a quick look at the sub forums over at XBox.com to realise that it might be worth a bit more research before parting with your money.

Really? Most of the guys I've seen over there are in love with this game - infact I played the versus mode with 3 guys I met on the Ao2 xbox forums today and we had a great time.

To be honest the only downside to this game is how short it is but then again after other games being much the same (Call of Duty 4) you can't really complain about that.
Posted 21:58 on 09 March 2008
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TS9

This game is ****ing sweet... 1) the close combat is my favorite option (they can choke slam somebody to DEATH).. thats priceless.... and 2) I think that not knowing where bullets come from is kind of the point of being an open gun fight. I mean, to an extent you'd know, but I find that once I find out who shot me, I just run at him and pump kick the turban off his head.

Great game, don't listen to this guy.
Posted 23:31 on 08 March 2008

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Army of Two
6
Out of 10
Army of Two
  • Solid visuals
  • The aggro system is great
  • Lacks spectacle
  • Awkward controls
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 07/03/2008
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: EA Montréal
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1-2
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 3,819 42
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