The goal behind every video game sequel should be to top the original.
In a perfect world, the developer would fix every problem with the original, further tweak gameplay and deliver new additions to the franchise.
EA Montreal did just that with “Army of Two: The 40th Day,” which was released Jan. 12 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
The game furthers the story of the private military team of Rios and Salem, who continue to serve as mercenaries to the highest bidder.
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The sequel takes place in Shanghai following a terrorist attack on the city that causes Rios and Salem — who happen to be in the city working a job — to spring into action.
The game continues to build on its strong co-op elements from the original. This game centers around cooperation between partners, from helping a partner boost to a high ledge to flanking around enemies during battle.
The only game I’ve played that relies on cooperation as much as “Army of Two” is “Resident Evil 5.” It’s impossible to survive battles even on the easiest difficulties until you understand how to use your partner efficiently.
The game introduces new co-op elements such as fake surrendering and targeting specific enemies in battle. If one of the players targets a higher ranking officer, then the partner can hold him hostage to force his subordinates to surrender.
There are also new heavily-armored bad guys who require a co-op strategy to take down.
One of the best elements of the original was the ability to customize almost every aspect of each weapon. That feature has returned with even deeper options for customizing. There are also new weapons.
The game does, however, have some flaws.
I enjoyed the original game’s story more, which detailed the partnership of Rios and Salem and took the team all over the globe for missions.
While the scenery and graphics are strong in the sequel, the game doesn’t seem as broad in scope. It’s much more focused, which will appeal to some, but it seems restricted.
I also struggled with the AI, both with my partner and with the enemies. There are many instances where one or the other doesn’t act logically, like when my partner ran straight at a machine gun turret. The partner AI can easily be solved by playing with a friend, but the enemies still struggle with making logical choices in battle.
The flaws certainly aren’t enough to sink the game. EA Montreal accomplished the goal that some fail at: Delivering a sequel better than the original.