Heading into one of EA's custom built, air-conditioned booths over in the South wing of the Convention Centre was a great relief to me. The thunderous booming of EA's constant promotional videos had started to take its toll. Inside the cool, quiet, private booth we were shown a game which I had no real anticipation for - Army of Two: The 40th Day. Perhaps stifled by the lacklustre (albeit hilarious) original, my internal hype machine was idle. Two developers presented the game to a small group of us, across two enormous LCD screens.
Stressing the focus on the relationship between both onscreen characters and real life buddies, AoT is geared towards true co-operative gameplay. Scoring and achievements are spread equally across both players, so acting as a real team will be mutually beneficial.
Players' actions within the game will affect a virtual currency, influencing your access to bigger and better weapons. We were shown an example of a choice being presented, to kill an innocent security guard in order to steal weapons, or let him live and leave empty handed. Of course, the audience voted for the kill. A key gameplay dynamic will be instant gratification versus long term reward, with the currency system at its core.
Your home for the game (as far as we saw) is a rundown Shanghai, overcome by a mysterious catastrophe (something J.J. Abrams would slobber all over). Players are free to pick and choose the mayhem they wish to wreak across the beautifully detailed world. Buildings crumble and screaming masses pass by at just the right times, giving an excellent sense of two men against a gigantic, nasty world. Freeing hostages can give you a moral pick-me-up, at the expense of being horribly crushed from above somehow. In the frantic urban warzone you're stuck in, your only hope is teamwork with a like-minded friend.
A great-feeling title thus far, Army of Two: The 40th Day is shaping up to be a terrific two-player experience. The sweltering streets of Shanghai are all but yours to demolish, manipulate and survive on. This isn't a game focused on saving the world, it's about two guys shooting their way to survival. Definitely worth a closer look.