Hands-On: Army of Two: The 40th Day E3 2009 Preview

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Posted June 2, 2009 - By Paul Semel

It seems like only a few weeks ago that we were at EA’s offices in Los Angeles, playing a bit of Army Of Two: The 40th Day. And yet while our E3 demo of the game was largely the same level we had gotten to play before, the team added some new elements to the game that, well, didn’t make it seem all new, but did add some depth to the game.

The most obvious change is in the A.I. of your computer-controlled partner when you play the game on your own. Granted, the game is meant to be played with a friend, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to skimp on the stuff for those of us who don’t play well with others. Your partner A.I. is a lot smarter this time out, and, according to the developers, is far less likely to get himself shot up by doing something stupid. He also seemed a bit more proactive this time out, more willing to take the kill shot, where before he was just so polite, waiting for you to go first. 

Army of Two: The 40th Day In-Game Footage Trailer


Army of Two: The 40th Day In-Game Footage Trailer »

There is also some morality to this tale, one that can actually help or hinder you. Unlike some war games, where killing or saving civilians is pretty meaningless, here it can actually help you if you help others, since you’re rewarded for your compassion with money and, on occasion, some weapons or equipment. Which means you can be a jerk, and kill those who are unarmed or uninvolved in the conflict, but if you help them survive, it’ll make your life easier.

There are other, more concrete moral decisions in the game as well, times when you’ll have to decide whether you want to do the right thing or the wrong thing. Except that both have consequences. Sure, sometimes funny consequences, but consequences nonetheless.

In the instance we saw, the guys find a weapons cache, but before they can decide who’s taking which gun, a security guard catches them and tells them to put the guns back where they found them. You’re then given a choice: hit one button to take the weapons, or another to put them back. But unlike with the civilians, there’s a rather obvious advantage to being a jerk in this instance: you get the weapons. Which is why we decided to keep them, much to the chagrin of the security guard. And his next of kin (sorry, dude).

What’s interesting is that if you’re playing the game co-op, either player can make the decision, and whatever button gets pushed first is the choice that’s made. Which seems like it could be the start of some interesting online shouting matches.

The final new aspect of 40th that the developers showed us was the weapon customizing. While this was part of the first Army, they’ve taken it to an unrealistic place by making every weapon part modular, and you can mix and match any part like the guns were made out of LEGOs. Which means you don’t just have to attach the AK-47’s silencer to the AK-47, you can attach it to any gun. There are even some rather inventive weapon parts you can find on the battlefield, such as a silencer made out of an old Coke can.

With all these new additions, this already exciting game has gotten that much more interesting. We’re almost afraid to ask for another demo before the game comes out this winter; we’re afraid of what other cool stuff they might add to the game when we’re not looking.

Hands-On: Army of Two: The 40th Day E3 2009 Preview


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