Army Of Two: The 40th Day plots the events of the bustling US-marines over a few short days, as the world around them comes crashing down. There's an almost Cloverfield-like approach to the pacing in The 40th Day; you're never quite sure what's going on, but you know you need to make it out alive.
Army Of Two: The 40th Day has a 5-hour campaign that is playable alone (with AI), locally in split-screen or online with a partner. There's also an online multiplayer campaign, featuring co-operative deathmatch and the pre-order bonus mode Extraction.
Although later levels in The 40th Day boil down to generic romps through a war-torn city, earlier levels such as the Zoo have a real artistic strength to them. The colours are rich and the locations generally feel exotic. Because much of The 40th Day's gameplay relies on the same repetition patterns (move, shoot, find cover), the interesting locales add variety.
Army Of Two: The 40th Day is very much designed around the idea of co-op. Playing with the AI partner is adequate on the whole, but can lead to the occasional swearing-fit as your partner unwittingly drags you out of cover rather than healing you. Indeed, it's playing online or in split-screen that The 40th Day will provide the most entertainment. The Aggro mechanic allows loud, ruthless behaviour to draw enemy fire; and subsequently create the opportunity for a partner to flank and eliminate any threats. The game also introduces numerous "hostage" situations, where players will need to work together (with lots of communication) to successfully defuse the situation.
Despite the familiarity of much of the action, Army Of Two: The 40th Day provides plenty of scope for strategic gameplay. For example, there'll always be opportunities for one player to provide on-the-ground cover-fire, while another takes a vantage point and snipes. The game never really relies on you playing strategically, but those with human partners will get much more entertainment from the game's various shooting segments when playing this way. Interestingly, there are also sections of the game's campaign where players will have to split-up, requiring solid communication until successful rendezvous.
There's quite a detailed weapon customisation system in Army Of Two: The 40th Day that really allows you to get in-depth and customise your opted load-outs. This is emphasised by a financial system which rewards hostage rescue and exploration.
Army Of Two: The 40th Day gets far too repetitive, far too easily. Even when playing with a human partner, the gameplay rarely delivers enough surprises to make it interesting start to finish. There are a few standout set-pieces, but with row after row of similarly-clad mercs to plow through, they feel few and far between.
The 40th Day opts for an automatic cover-system that locks you into cover if you run at a wall, or crouch near one. It's the most cumbersome cover system we've come across in a while, rarely reacting in the way you expect it to.
As cool as the disaster movie plot might seem when described, the awkward pacing and weak narrative mean you don't even find out who the antagonist is until the last level, resulting in an anticlimactic showdown. Without any real plot to drive it, the events in The 40th Day feel a little bare.
Army Of Two: The 40th Day includes a complete multiplayer component which we'll detail in a future article.
Army Of Two: The 40th Day is a co-operative shooting gallery disguised as a disaster movie. The unusual pacing and not-so revolutionary shooting mechanics can make the game feel a bit of a chore alone; but some interesting co-op ideas make the game worthwhile with a friend.