Multiplayer is a massive selling point in most games these days, and co-operative modes have proven to be particularly popular – although still surprisingly rare compared with the abundance of traditional Deathmatch modes.
Electronic Arts caters to those craving for teamwork with Army Of Two: The 40th Day. In the sequel to the 2008 original, players once again take up arms as mercenaries Salem and Rios as they shoot, stab and fist pound their way through waves of terrorist thugs.
The publisher is confident that The 40th Day will surpass its predecessors decent critical performance – and even match its No.1 standing in the All Formats chart. All of the game’s key mechanics have been refined and expanded, while new additions help to realise the franchise’s true potential.
“Army Of Two: The 40th Day is a major improvement from the original game, and is really delivering on the promise of that original IP,” says EA product manager Kevin Flynn.
“The co-op playbook has been expanded and the moves refined for a much slicker experience. Add to that the new four new multiplayer modes and a brilliantly written story and we’re delivering a very well rounded, intelligent and adult co-op shooter.”
IT TAKES TWO
In The 40th Day, Salem and Rios are caught up in the midst of a series of disasters and attacks that threatens to bring Shanghai to its knees. Together they must battle their way across the city if they’re ever to find out who or what is behind this.
As with the first game, players must use their character’s combat specialities and co-operative moves to defeat entire armies of enemy gunners. They can attack groups of foes in order to distract attention from their teammate, or snipe from afar while he keeps them occupied.
New additions allow gamers to take enemies hostage, keeping the others at bay while their partner ambushes them, or even mock surrender in order to get closer for a surprise attack. When playing with friends, gamers can even tag the thugs they are going after in order to avoid confusion in the midst of a battle.
The ability to customise guns returns, allowing players to modify their weapons with everyday objects found around the streets and alleyways of Shanghai. These can be as effective as they are comical, allowing gamers to stab their foes with a screwdriver bayonet, or take them down silently with a soda can silencer.
One factor of Army Of Two that met with a divisive reception was the attitude of protagonists Salem and Rios, boasting a light-hearted comradery that some felt jarred with the gameplay and scenario. While 40th Day maintains this, Flynn assures fans it has been toned down appropriately to appeal to a wider audience.
“One of the defining features of Army Of Two was the tone,” he says.
“The frat-boy humour was loved by some and hated by others. In The 40th Day, that tone is much more in the players’ control. We expect a very positive reaction to this and the fact the within the co-op game space, there are very few alternatives as polished as this.”
As EA’s first major release of 2010, the publisher is not holding back with the game’s promotion, working to raise awareness of the game in time for post-Christmas impulse buying.
“We’re treating The 40th Day like a Q3 release in terms of the marketing approach so we’ll be launching on a large scale with various facets to the campaign and we’ll be supporting this in stores, online and within our community,” says Flynn.
“There is also a significant investment being made in the UK for bespoke viral content using the main characters. You’ll see more of this very soon.”