While the premise of this game is interesting and its story is surprisingly enjoyable for what many would discount as just another bro shooter, Army of Two is a franchise that got off to a rocky start due to a plethora of technical problems that make the game almost unbearable.
Obviously, this is a co op shooter. The gameplay revolves entirely around two players – who’d have thought, considering it’s called Army of Two? While I can say nothing negative about the game if you are playing it with another real person – as the last time I did was not at all frustrating – you can no longer play Army of Two via on-line because the servers are gone. Playing with the AI or playing locally with a friend is your only option now, and the game is borderline unbearable with an AI partner. My Virtual Friend, the achievement for doing so, should be worth 1000 points on its own on Xbox Live to make up for that in some way.
I wish I had a game recorder set up to show videos of this but there have literally been times when I’ve gone in to dying mode, and the AI partner dragged me for a solid 2 minutes around the map without once even trying to heal. The AI has no ability to determine what is and is not proper cover, apparently. Once the AI actually dragged me directly in front of an enemy – one of Clyde’s bodyguards – with an RPG. Guess how that ended. Clearly, the game was never intended to be played single player, so single player literally should not be an option.
As far as other technical issues, the difficulty of the game is absurd due simply to one thing: the AI never misses, ever. It doesn’t matter where an enemy is, or if they can even see you – even if you are behind solid cover – they will always hit you if they shoot. The bullets evidently spawn at a point in the map and the only thing they can possibly do is hit you. At times I actually saw floating muzzle flashes that were not attached to enemies, and ran towards them to investigate, only for there to be no enemy. Its this type of primitive game design that often causes these titles to get overlooked.
Army of Two has a story full of conspiracy, intrigue, and references to real world issues such as privatization of the military. It hasn’t happened yet but it is certainly real – such as the Blackwater mercenary company. Private security firms exist and though they aren’t realistically represented in the game, it isn’t far from the truth. There actually comes a point in the game where you get tired of shooting people and only want to proceed so you can hear the next bit of story.
For anyone interested, or for completionists, it’s unfortunate that you must play the original game in order to get the full backstory and familiarization with the characters in it – because without a real partner, it’s a dreadful trek through the same levels over and over again as the AI gets you killed, or gets themselves killed, but it is at least worth a play through so that you can get to the sequel, which is leagues ahead.