Product Type: Ubisoft PS3 games
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War is a game, just not a particularly good one.
Army of Two (PS3)
Member Name: TheViolinist
Army of Two (PS3)
Date: 24/03/08, updated on 12/11/09 (137 review reads)
Advantages: Superb graphics, intuitive gameplay, plenty of unlockables.
Disadvantages: Pitiful AI, superhuman enemies, irksome protagonists, little longevity.
Admittedly war games are not generally my first choice; especially those following the story of arrogant and stereotypical American soldiers who believe themselves to be heroes in their own war movie who proceed by killing pretty much anything that moves. However, as this was pretty much the only game that I had for the first few days, I was more-or-less forced to stick with it.
Unfortunately I have been unable, as of yet, to experience the online gameplay, so I can't provide much feedback as of that feature.
-- Graphics --
I will admit that the graphics are exceptionally good. The large environments are well presented and the textures are smooth. Thanks to the advanced hardware, the game is able to present a lot of action on the screen at once without any lagging.
However, as this is a PS3 title, I would expect no less than a game that takes advantage of the powerful graphics potential that the system provides.
-- Story --
The story is stereotypical and unrealistic. It features around two military operatives (that's right...two...and only two) sent in to various situations to be pitted up against armies of gun-weilding enemies in exchange for insultingly low amounts of money ($3000 for shooting a hundred enemies and diffusing a missile, for example).
That's really more-or-less all there is to it. Thankfully the game is not clogged up with lengthy cut-scenes, and those that are there can be skipped, so the story rarely intrudes on the gun totting action.
-- Gameplay --
This is quite an interesting area to say the least. It features all of the things you might expect from a war game including lots of big dangerous guns, and lots of enemies on whom to use them.
One of the main ideas in this game is called 'Aggro', a strategy which involves lighting up your partner like a Christmas tree so that the enemies ignore you as if you weren't there. While this is an interesting idea in theory, in practice it becomes rather unrealistic because while you are the 'invisible' one, you are able to walk in front of your enemies without them noticing you.
Special effects are employed here; if you have aggro, your character will glow bright red. If your partner has all of the aggro, you will turn semi-transparent for some strange reason. I was under the impression that I was playing a war game, not the 'Fantastic 4 go to Iraq'.
This status is generally affected by how often you try to shoot the enemy, and what sort of gun you have. Naturally, carrying a gattling-gun is not the way to go unnoticed.
At the beginning you have the option to choose one of two characters, but this is purely for aesthetic purposes and neither has individual skills or anything with a little more depth to differentiate between them. The soldier you don't pick automatically becomes your AI controlled partner (on single player mode.)
While we're on the topic of AI; the intelligence of your computer controlled partner is often so poor that he becomes an encumbrance rather than a help. You'd think that even the simplest of AI programs could fathom that walking in front of my AK-47 as I am unloading a clip into a Bin Laden look-alike is not a particularly good idea. The AI partner can be instructed with a few basic commands such as 'hold passive/aggressive' and 'follow passive/aggressive'. There are also a few interesting sections involving simultaneously sniping at targets together, but this feature is seldom utilized.
Thankfully, this can be resolved by playing with a friend, who can take the role of the other character. Presuming that they have more than a singular brain-cell, they ought to be more apt than the AI's pitiful attempts.
The AI of the enemies on the other-hand is superhumanly good. They were able to spot me from two hundred yards away despite the fact that I was hiding behind some sandbags; not only that, but they were equally skilled to actually be able to shoot at me with deadly accuracy from that distance with a bog-standard machine-gun.
The game generally follows a linear path where it's virtually impossible to get lost, which is a relief as many of the locations look consistently the same. The entire game can be completed in around 4-6 hours depending on how skilled you are, but in a happy senseless-violence sort of way, there is some replay value in slaughtering the countless aggressive enemies.
After each mission, and sometimes at specific points during a mission, you are invited to go shopping (anticlimactic I know). At the shop you can buy a variety of weapons, upgrades, masks, and armor. Sadly, due to the insultingly low levels of pay as mentioned earlier, it can take three or four missions before you can afford even a half-decent gun.
I do admire the game for a few unique quirks. You can communicate with your partner to approve or disapprove of their actions. This has really no other purpose than cheap amusement, but I couldn't help but feel satisfied that I could back-hand the other character every time he had done something ridiculously inane (generally most of the time).
You can also interact with your environment to a certain extent, such as using car-doors as riot-shields.
-- Sound --
Again, the sounds are generally as one might expect from a war game. There's realistic gun shots, explosions, and other...stuff.
The enemies each speak in their own languages though they usually all say exactly the same thing in exactly the same voice leading you to believe that you're actually battling an army of clones.
The voice acting on the part of the two main characters is unique to say the least. Where as one sounds like a stereotypical deep-voiced military gruff, the other sounds like a sickeningly adolescent American youth who even wears a backwards military baseball cap to give the impression that he's actually cool when in reality he's just a...sickeningly adolescent American youth. Presumably this was to appeal to the fanboys who could find something to relate to in this character, but to the average gamer he becomes incredibly tedious in a very short space of time.
-- Summary --
Overall I would say that it isn't a half-bad game. The graphics are very impressive and there is no shortage of action. However, the missions often feel very repetitive and the extravagant personalities of the main characters will quickly begin to grind on the average gamer. It is worth it for the short term, but unless you are impulsively obsessed with unlocking each any every single weapon and feature in the game, there is little longevity.
N.B: This review is also legitimately published on Ciao under my pseudonym 'LegalEagle247'.
Summary: Not bad, but not great.