Army of Two Hands-On - The Early Missions

EA Montreal's tag-team mercenary shooter is nearly done, and we got to blast through the first two levels.

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Big names such as Halo, Half-Life, and Call of Duty are flying to and fro these days, but shooter fans shouldn't forget about Army of Two, the upcoming cooperative-focused third-person shooter from Electronic Arts' new-ish development studio up in Montreal. We got to spend some time blasting through the early part of a nearly finished build recently. When you begin the game, mercs-to-be Salem and Rios are actually still serving as Army Rangers, and the game proceeds with a brief tutorial section that acquaints you with the fairly complex set of commands and team-play mechanics you'll have at your disposal as you build up your careers as soldiers of fortune.

If you play Army of Two by yourself, the game will still rely on co-op mechanics as much as if you were playing with another human being, but the other character will be controlled by the game. So in single-player mode, you'll have a full range of commands you can issue to your partner, including advance, hold position, and regroup. Then you can specify aggressive (shoot everything you see) or defensive (check your fire) postures for each of those actions to control your buddy's behavior to a surprising degree of specificity. You'll also learn about some of your other co-op abilities in this tutorial. You can convince your partner to trade weapons with you; go into a tandem sniping mode; position yourselves back-to-back in a 360-degree firing pattern; and even slap one another five or play some air guitar to signify a congratulatory mood when you've pulled off some especially brilliant teamwork.

After the tutorial, you'll hit the ground running in Somalia--still as Rangers--on a mission to take out a local warlord. At this point, we started to realize how much of the gameplay revolves around the interactions between Salem and Rios, whether both of them are human-controlled or not. This first mission will start out with the two of you on a buggy or jeep of sorts, with one character driving and the other gunning from a turret. In our solo game, we drove while our artificial-intelligence partner shot down the bad guys--of course, one person would take each of these duties in co-op. Our AI partner felt quite competent during the first mission we played by ourselves. In fact, we were often inclined to put him on "aggressive advance" position and let him do all the heavy lifting. He also made a solid effort to heal us whenever we went down (though one time he ran straight through the crossfire and got himself killed before he could bring us back).

Aggro management will be an important part of surviving any firefight.

Another section of the level afforded us the opportunity to use a ripped-off car door as a shield while our partner fired over our shoulder, and we advanced as a unit toward the enemy. At the beginning of the second mission, we played a sequence where Salem and Rios were tandem-parachuting down to a mission site. One player had to steer the descent via parachute, and the other had to try to steady a sniper rifle despite all that jostling, with the aim being to shoot out the rotor on a helicopter that was about to take off. Many of these co-op actions will demand specific inputs from both players, so both of you will have to be on your game at all times. For instance, to boost one character up to a higher ledge, then have him reach down and pull up the second character, both players will have to assume the right positions and hit the right controls at the right times.

We got to see the aggro concept in full effect during our demo. Like in many online RPGs, the character who is dishing out more damage to the enemies will seem to be the greater threat, and thus the enemies will thus focus their fire on that character. You'll see a display (which looks a little like a car's speedometer) at the top of the screen that indicates both characters' aggro; the needle will move toward the character who's generating more of it. Aggro will also be reflected in-game through a red aura around the active character that becomes more intense as aggro reaches max. Consequently, part of the co-op combat experience in the game will revolve around balancing aggro between both characters, so that neither player will draw too much fire. (It's a rare shooter that actually encourages you to shoot less when the action heats up.)

Hey bro, let's go get some Natty Ice, play some GameCube.

It can also get intense when you or your partner goes down for the count. You'll have to make your way to your fallen comrade, hold down the A button for several seconds (usually amidst a hail of bullets), and then go into a healing minigame where you staunch the blood flow with a tampon or administer CPR, depending on the severity of the wounds. Thankfully, the action stops when you start the healing process and the camera cuts to a minigame view, but if either player misses a single button press throughout the sequence, you'll blow it and the wounded character will still be down. What's more, you can heal your partner only two or three times in a mission before he dies for real, which forces you to start over at the beginning.

At the end of that first mission, certain plot turns will inform Salem and Rios that there's another way--a more profitable way--to earn a living busting heads, which will launch them into the mercenary life they'll lead throughout the rest of the game. We didn't get to play much further into the second mission, but we're told that the subsequent missions will be much longer and more objective-filled than the first tutorial. In fact, many of those objectives will be optional and will net you extra cash for better weapon upgrades. In a surprise twist, Army of Two was just delayed until the first quarter of 2008, so we'll bring you more on the upgrade interface, later missions, and multiplayer in the game between now and then.

Discussion

248 comments
cannabishero
cannabishero

Well, I wasn't sure if this game was gonna make it to my list. But after reading the review, I gotta say, it looks pretty good.

ninjarat
ninjarat

Looking forward to getting this!

joozd
joozd

Just bought it - Awesome to play with a friend, sitting next to each other, shouting instructions back and forth, raising each others stress levels. Playing together really is much more fun :)

Mujambo
Mujambo

I just got it and played through a couple missions. I wish the AI for your partner was better, would be a lot more fun when my friend comes over to play. This game definitely has great potential - there are not enough weapon choices in my opinion, a primary (choice of about 10), a secondary (about 10), and a special (same) as well as frags.

bamfer3
bamfer3

hope it lives up to the hype

rohil27
rohil27

dutch777 it is actually a modern first person multiplayer according to the genre at the top of the page in the info box.

dutch777
dutch777

thanks Burnout_Avenged, that's what i wanted to hear.

bman8186
bman8186

I hope this game is good. Its been so long since a good game was released on the ps3....

dutch777
dutch777

Can gamespot clarify if Army of Two will be a first-person shooter or a third person shooter?

Treblemaka
Treblemaka

Im ready to drop some hammers via multiplayer.

Desnadoggie
Desnadoggie

Turok is a drag im puting Army of Two and Rainbow Six Vegas 2 at the top of my list. Peace out

OFFAN
OFFAN

REALLY looking forward to this game!! Will there be a demo or beta coming out pre-relasedate?

Desnadoggie
Desnadoggie

This game is at the top of my list along with Turok it looks cool im going to get it right when it is out in Gamestop.

22GHOST22
22GHOST22

Looks so cool,can't wait to play it.

InuHanyou1701
InuHanyou1701

Really hope this game lives up to it's potential. I've seen alot of games that looked REALLY good, only to turn out mediocre or just plain horrible. I know Gears of War was very popular but I was never really crazy about it to be honest. (I mean it wasn't TERRIBLE but I never really considered it fantastic). Really looking forward to this game. High hopes!

JDaleMoney
JDaleMoney

Sounds Great his is going on top of my list with Haze,killzone 2,and mercenaries 2

TriggaMyke
TriggaMyke

Cannot wait for this game. Finally they focus solely on Co-op gameplay. You know how in games First player is always better? Not this time =) The senior producer Reid Schneider said it all right here: "Co-op is not a mode, it's the game."

illufox
illufox

Looks pretty good. Too bad it's not first person and you have to rely on a partner to finish the enemies. Probably Gears of War all over again....boring....

Mabumania
Mabumania

The moment this game is released, I am going out and buying it.

its_mmd
its_mmd

hope that playing with AI partner be like playing with a human, at least close to it !!

flushedorgen
flushedorgen

how is there a reviews for the game WTF is it OUT!!!!!?????

flushedorgen
flushedorgen

yea sure im only in it to see if livs up to gears of wars cover system and coop thing me and my friends have been looking for games like this for a long time

phroze_levi
phroze_levi

Can't wait...Been waiting for a game like this for a long time!

7121984
7121984

Can't wait, this is going to be a hell of a game!

SHReK987
SHReK987

yes this game will be one of the best. and what the hell evry1 how do you not know about the online co op. ive known that since june. the thing i just learned is that they will have two on two competitive online play.

SHReK987
SHReK987

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

flushedorgen
flushedorgen

the game looks really good because of a cool cover system when your buddy is down you drag him and he shoots lots of cool stuff is in here and i hope it doesnt suck

Solid_Devil
Solid_Devil

The game looks really good, i believe this could be a cool game to play with your friends so yeah... i might buy this one.

SaammyB
SaammyB

Been tracking this one for awhile. It's nice that developers are finally realizing the need for exclusive co-op gameplay. Can't wait to try it in March.

Redhairboy491
Redhairboy491

Seems pretty good, any word if theres multiplayer?

notquitesure
notquitesure

give me time to actually find someone to play with... ppl of doncaster UK... get yr PS3's online!!!!!!!! shud be snaztastic :D

alfred66
alfred66

it doesnt look too special..

bleach12345
bleach12345

the game will be realli cool if u can online coop to finish mission with other ppl..

mia_bori
mia_bori

I want this game cant wait for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looks great

7guns
7guns

I hope the AI is good, because it sounds like it will play an important role in controling the the team mate.......

Aarontan1
Aarontan1

I wonder if this game is really a third person shooter or FPS. Can the producer enlighten gamer like us?

debweb
debweb

Got to play the single player mission mode and I just can't wait till the game is ready!

silent_riku
silent_riku

Luckily it was delayed... it gave me the chance to get Rockband!! hahaha... now I'll still have cash to get this when it comes out! yey! and the delay also means for an even more polished game! YEY!! and maybe even online coop... ooh... wow... gaming has never been more fun than this year... save the Pacman years of course... hahaha...

Chief_Kuuni
Chief_Kuuni

sounds like a fun game, taking after my own heart

metalgaiger
metalgaiger

The co-op sounds innovative. I hope it works out as well as it's supposed to.

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

hopefully they add online co-op during this delay.

poppdigi
poppdigi

Dude, I can't wait to get a hold of this game. I've been wishing for some good co-op games for so long and I feel that "Army of 2" is the answer! Gears of War is a classic, yes -- but what the campaign lacked in length, I'm sure the AO2 developer's will take into account for the serious gamers...

m00man25
m00man25

With something as complex as this game is, delay it as many times thats needed to make it flawless, cause it looks sick. I can wait.

bennie12
bennie12

That delay will actually help me save money up