What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a gritty and violent co-op military shooter. Players use the standard array of firearms and grenades to kill opponents, often with bloody results. Characters blur the line a bit between good and bad. They're mercenaries who mostly care about money, but ultimately prove to have somewhat of a conscience. Between the dialogue and online capabilities, brace for pretty strong language.
What's it about?
Electronic Arts delivers its take on the buddy system with the cooperative shooter ARMY OF TWO. Players control both Salem and Rios, mercenaries in a world where private contractors dominate the United States' military efforts. The duo works for the SSC, a contractor who deploys them on missions to Iraq, Afghanistan, and other global flashpoints.
Central to Army of Two's action is the cooperative play. You don't move as one soldier but as two. You and your partner must work as a cohesive unit to navigate each environment and complete the objectives. The directional pad hosts three commands: Advance, Regroup, and Hold Position. Pressing once sends your partner into a defensive stance. Press twice, and he turns more aggressive. Tied in to this is Aggro, an aggression meter measuring which character enemies are most focused on. If you cause a major battlefield ruckus, your Aggro soars and you turn red. If it shifts to your partner, you become nearly invisible, allowing you to covertly flank enemies and kill them quickly. If you or your partner are injured, either character can drag the other to safety and heal.
Is it any good?
While team mechanics are intuitive, the game's potential is wasted on an average campaign and erratic artificial intelligence (AI). Although enemy intelligence is rather impressive -- they flank, use cover, and work vigorously to flush you out into the open -- unfortunately, when the computer controls your partner (versus another person when playing multiplayer), he's often inconsistent. He seemed best-suited for holding position and boosting Aggro while you quietly picked apart enemies. Otherwise, he'll lunge into combat exposed. Firefights are sometimes intense during campaign mode, but levels lack punch, often fizzling out in the end.
As you complete objectives, you'll earn cash to spend on Army of Two's spectacular customizable arsenal. But the ability to upgrade in the heat of battle feels a touch unrealistic. Multiplayer salvages the game somewhat, since you can rely on a human partner instead of one controlled, in part, by the computer. Modes are unique, focusing more on accumulating money than kills. Co-op fans will enjoy the unique experience, but the campaign and inconsistent AI hampers what could have been a phenomenal title.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about games implementing cooperative play. How much fun is it to play co-operatively as opposed to playing solo? Do you wish more games had this option? Since most of the environments are based in modern-day hotspots, discussions on current events and war may emerge.