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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437 Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece.  I strongly recommend anyone...

Army of Two Preview

JP_Hurh By:
JP_Hurh
07/27/07
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Action 
PLAYERS 1- 2 
PUBLISHER EA 
DEVELOPER EA Montreal 
RELEASE DATE  
M Contains Blood, Intense Violence, Strong Language

What do these ratings mean?

click to enlargeIt’s like the U.S. Army of One, but double.

No, you didn’t get drafted for this miniscule military because we ran out of National Guard Units.  Nope, you got here because there are two of you.  I mean you and your best friend.  You know, the guy you call “Shooter” and he calls you “Ace.”  He’s sitting next to you, right now.  You probably don’t have anything to tell, but it might be safer not to ask anyway.

Army of Two takes the usually derivative cooperative mode of other shooters and promotes it to the main game mode.  While the major new game mechanic is the “aggro” meter, an on-screen indication of which of the two of you the artificial intelligence is going after. There are also lots of neat cooperative touches in everything from movement to gun-sharing.  For example, when one partner hoists the other partner up over a ledge, the hoisting guy can lift the other gradually to peek over the edge or lower him to dodge bullets while he reloads.  Other examples include a dizzying back-to-back mechanic that leans the players against each other and a shield mechanic in which one mercenary carries a shield while the other shoots over the top of it.

The aggro meter makes for easy cooperative tactics, as one player will “go aggro” and draw all the enemy fire while the other flanks them.   Then, after they’ve killed everyone else, they can perform their secret handshake.  No joke.

There will also be some uncomfortable giggles, as EA’s Montreal studios flirt oh so faintly with themes usually not seen on the virtual battlefield.   You will get some strange looks the first time you heal your partner by shoving a tampon into him (the hud depiction of which fills with blood in a way that would make Tampax blush).  There’s also the “let’s share a parachute” airdrop that looks as fun as it does rainbow-friendly.

But you two are comfortable with your sexuality, and you’ll be even more comfortable with Army of Two.  Anyone says different, just go aggro on ‘em.

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