Or Army of Three, to be more precise, those guys would be nothing without me controlling them. Ok, jokes aside, me and this game have a curious story. As I've said a lot of times before, this was one of those cases where, in theory, the game sounded great! Two guys who can stand for a whole army, doing missions together, looking out for each other and wearing freaking cool masks! How can an action game get any better?
Then the first gameplay videos came out and, for some reason, it all looked much less impressive. The middle-eastern scenarios were all but refreshing or appealing, there seemed to be little feedback from shooting the guns, and the overall gameplay seemed dull and unattractive, with too much emphasis on an aggro system were your characters literally became transparent or start to glow red.
Still, for some odd reason, I decided to give the game a shot. Hey, how bad could it be? Certainly not any more disappointing than Sega Rally Revo, right? Well, let me tell you, as soon as I started playing Army of Two, I suddenly couldn't stop without finishing the damn game. Yeah, it was that addictive! I remember that the digipak edition of Cathedral's latest album, The Garden of Unheartly Delights, came with an apple scented disc that let off a fragrance from the warmth of the cd player. Well, I'm pretty sure that EA did the same with Army of Two, but with amphetamines or some shit to keep us playing!
Ok, let's analyse this objectively, what exactly makes this such a great game? For a start the story is pretty compelling, not at the same level of, let's say, Kane & Lynch, but it's definitely interesting to see (or better, play) the daily lives of these two mercenaries. In fact, I actually have one complaint about the story and that's because there's too much of it, I would prefer to see more of Rios and Salem's lives before it all going down the "conspiracy theory" path.
On to the gameplay, anyway. I have to admit, as dull as the shooting may seem on videos, when you actually play the game it gets pretty enjoyable. I still hate the way it's hard to shoot someone up close (but no so close that you can do a melee attack), and the enemies who can only be shoot from behind look like a pathetic excuse to create some mid-level mini-bosses, make the game slightly harder and force you to use the aggro system. Still, it's pretty fun when you shoot a guy in the back and he flies off in an exaggerated manner or when you nail that headshot, and the cover system works pretty well, so overall the gameplay is really good.
Story, check. Gameplay, check. What's left? Oh, graphics, of course. This game uses Unreal Engine 3, 'nuff said. Ok, not quite, but trust me, this game makes a really good use of that engines capabilities. Like I've said already, at first the middle-eastern levels let me down, because not only they're uninteresting (houses and sand, duh...) but also they're used in every action game nowadays and I'm starting to get sick of them. Fortunately they're not the only ones, and when you're suddenly parachuting over a giant aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean, things start to look really good! But wait, there's more, for when you reach the last levels you'll see some pretty original and interesting scenarios (I won't spoil it for you, of course...).
So, to sum it up, if my experience taught me something it was to not always judge a game without playing it myself. If you, like me, also crossed it off your "to buy" list because you weren't impressed by the videos, do yourself a favour and play it. Who knows, maybe you'll have a pleasant surprise...