cool stuff happens in the future. "Army of Two" for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 shows that the buddy genre is alive and well. Published by Electronic Arts (EA) and using the Unreal 3 Engine, this third-person shooter is a nice change from all the first-person shooters out there. The story is about two fictionalized military contractors who are more or less mercenaries and are given missions that take place in different parts of the world, spanning from the years 1993 to 2009. In an age of macho, testosterone-inducing shooters, this game seems to top them all. Throw in some swearing and over-the-top blood theatrics followed by air guitar antics, and guys might worship this game.
Still, it's a complex game that co-op fans will appreciate as one of the best multi-player games of its generation. Despite its cartoon action elements, "Army of Two" is more a thinking man's game. Those who play strategically will be rewarded with more money and glory. The game takes the basic idea of shooting alongside a friend and adds welcome complexity. What makes the game work is what's called the Aggro system. Essentially, the more attention you create for yourself, the more Aggro you have. This helps your partner become somewhat invisible and free to move about. Switching the Aggro back and forth between the partners helps you progress through levels.
The game includes a single-player mode wherein you can command an A.I. teammate. But if you're playing this routinely, you've probably bought the wrong game. As EA has said time and time again, this is a co-op game. And without a friend, it just isn't the same. Whether you're playing split-screen locally or online, having another person is crucial to the experience. Even the versus multiplayer, which includes a variety of objective-based modes like the VIP-focused extraction, is heavily co-op oriented; you'll need to work effectively with your partner to win. And, like most games, what shortcomings there are tend to fade from the focus when you're more interested in having fun with a friend.
The graphics are extremely polished, character models are well detailed, the environments varied and the frame-rate smooth on both versions of the game. The sound is strong with great voice work permeating every aspect of the game - albeit with large doses of profanity. Game developers delayed "Army of Two"'s release in November, and the decision appears to have paid off.
Basically, if you like co-op play, get this game. While the Xbox 360 version may have the leg up in terms of the smoothness of online play, the Playstation 3 version is also worth the time and proves a treat for both console owners.