Army of Two: The 40th Day Updated Hands-On

We check out a new locale in EA Montreal's upcoming co-op shooter.

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One of the publishers absent from the show floor at this year’s Tokyo Game Show is EA, but while EA may not be setting up shop next to the latest slew of tactical mech role-playing games and horse racing sims, its games aren’t entirely out of the picture. EA held an event here in Tokyo to show off its upcoming crop of games, giving us the chance to see--among other things--a new level from Army of Two: The 40th Day, EA Montreal’s upcoming co-op shooter set in disaster-ridden Shanghai.

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What's New: The level we saw was just a brief snippet from this third-person shooter. It took place toward the beginning of the game, as gruff protagonists Salem and Rios make their way onto a rooftop with a view of Shanghai skyscrapers burning and falling apart in the distant background. What set this level apart was its focus on close-quarters combat: the rooftop section was a dense maze of air conditioning units, ventilation shafts, fences, and metal stairways. This design highlighted the new cover system, which will automatically snap your character onto nearby surfaces if you’re in the crouch position. It was a nice feature in this area, where we were basically combat-rolling from one AC unit to the next in a heated firefight.

What's Different: We also got to see one of the new heavy-class enemies, which are minibosses equipped with ultraprotective armor that require far more effort to take down than normal grunts. They’re interspersed throughout the campaign as a means of pulling players together and drawing their attention on one enemy instead of letting you get too far apart in the environment. The trick is that each of these heavies has a specific weakness that has to be exploited. One we’d seen previously was a grenadier whom you have to shoot in the grenade satchel to blow up since the rest of his body is thickly armored, but this new guy we saw had a weak spot in his face, since apparently he’s not fond of using bulletproof visors on his helmets like the other guy. Since he’s so powerful, it pays to have both teammates go after him at once, but two streams of gunfire to the dome had him down fairly quickly.

What's The Same: While a lot of the focus on the gameplay has been on making the cooperative elements more natural and “organic” as EA Montreal is fond of calling them, there are still some lasting traces of the original Army of Two. Specifically, you can earn cash in the game and use it toward customizing your own completely ridiculous gun. We outfitted an assault rifle with a kitchen knife strapped to the barrel, fixed a small-sized riot shield onto it, and painted the entire thing in a heart pattern--and instantly had the most adorable/terrifying gun in all of Shanghai.

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What Impression The Game Made This Time: Army of Two: The 40th Day seems to be coming along nicely. The controls feel good, and the new co-op elements are well thought-out. We also really liked stabbing mercenaries with a gun that had pink hearts on it--but that might just be us. At any rate, you can expect to see The 40th Day released on January 12.

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