Army of Two Review
Army of Two is a third-person shooter that takes the concept of co-op play to an entirely new level. You take on the role of one half of a two-man team of mercenaries while a friend (or your friendly Xbox 360) takes on the other – there is no going it alone in this game. The game’s nature of duality extends beyond the side-by-side nature of its combat, though, because it seems that every cool idea and feature in the game is balanced by another that doesn’t work so well. The result is a game that will probably appeal to about half of the shooter fans out there.
The two in the Army of Two are Salem and Rios, two former Special Forces soldiers who have decided to leave the army and join a private security firm. This career change is driven by their belief that private security companies are better equipped and more competent than the US Army. The irony inherent in all of this seems lost on the game’s story writers in the wake of the monumental screw-ups by private security firms such as Blackwater, but we’ll just roll with it and accept that companies that give their mercenaries scary hockey masks are better equipped than the most advanced military in the world.
Central to Army of Two’s combat is the concept of aggro. If you’ve played MMORPGs before than this concept will already be familiar to you. Basically the player that presents the greatest threat or is doing the most damage gets the most attention from the computer –controlled enemies. In Army of Two, an aggro meter is prominently displayed at the top of the screen with an icon representing Salem and Rios at each end. As one player fires at the enemy the needle moves towards that player’s end of the meter. When it reaches one end, the other player is effectively rendered invisible to the enemy. It’s a pretty cool mechanism that is an effective way to model suppress and flank tactics. While one player pins down the enemy and draws their attention by emptying clip after clip in their direction, the other is free to work his way behind the enemy and make a quick kill shot.