'Army Of Two: The 40th Day' PSP Review - More Like 'Army Of Boo: The 40th Dollar (Wasted)'

Army Two 40th Daypsp Review More Likearmy Boo

'Army Of Two: The 40th Day' hit the PS3 and PSP simultaneously this week, nearly two years after the original 'Army of Two' impressed gamers with its blend of buddy-comedy fun and battlefield co-op action. In both platforms, your two-man team finds itself stuck in Shanghai, China, as another private security force takes over the city, blowing stuff up and generally ruining Salem and Rios' plans for a quick-and-easy contract. However, while the PSP version of the game follows a nearly identical story as its PS3 counterpart, that's where the similarities end.

The Basics



While both the original PS3 'Army of Two' and its sequel both feature a similar style of co-op play and features, the PSP title offers a drastically different style of gameplay with a top-down, linear shooter that abandons the co-op element and cover-based combat. The PSP 'Army of Two' follows a similar narrative as the PS3 version and recycles much of the dialogue and video, too. A multiplayer option allows for a two-person approach to the campaign.

The Highs

Keep It Simple (And Interesting), Stupid

For a linear, top-down shooter, 'Army Of Two' is a fun game for the PSP, requiring very little strategy or time to complete, and offers a story far more entertaining story for your effort than most games of that type. Though you have the ability to do so, there's little need to duck behind cover throughout much of the game, as it's much more efficient to just concentrate continuous fire at enemies until they die.

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It's All About The Banter... And The Cut Scenes

Like its PS3 counterpart, the narrative in the PSP 'Army of Two' is one of the true highlights of the title. The back-and-forth between Salem, Rios and any other characters that pop up tends to be amusing (if not laugh-out-loud funny), and the animated, comics-style cut scenes that follow each 'moral decision' moment (set points in which you have to choose whether to affect an NPC in a positive or negative way) are a great addition to the over-arching story.

The Lows

Brothers From a Different Mother?

Beyond the names of the characters and the story, 'Army of Two' for the PSP has little in common with its PS3 counterpart, and that's a shame. In fact, almost everything that was a highlight of the PS3 titles has been removed from the portable version. Even Salem and Rios, who were already somewhat cartoonish in their PS3 iterations, look as if they were pulled from the pages of a comic book, with ridiculously proportioned bodies and oversized weapons that would seem better suited for an anime series (or one of the 'Final Fantasy' games).

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Co-Op? What Co-Op?

If you choose to forego the multiplayer and use an AI-controlled teammate, be warned that your options are somewhat limited when compared to the PS3-hosted team-ups. You can tell your partner to 'follow' or 'halt,' and you can order your partner to be 'passive' or 'aggro.' That's it. Now, add the inability to turn friendly fire off, as well as the AI character's affinity for unloading bullets into your back (or hostages) as he strafes the screen, and you end up with a partner who's actually more useful when he's ordered to halt several screens back and not get in your way. How's that for co-op play, eh?

Hold Button, Repeat

Where 'Army of Two' on the PS3 required some amount of strategy and planning to defeat waves of enemies, the PSP title requires little more than point-and-shoot to proceed thorugh most of the game. Sure, a few enemies require you to set your partner to 'aggro' while you sneak behind them and target their backs, but 99-percent of the enemies you face will not only go down after a few bullets, but will end up running into your line of fire if you just keep shooting. At times, the strategy seemed more akin to old-school 'Contra' than 'Army Of Two.'

And... Done!

It took me less than five hours to complete the game on the 'Normal' difficulty level, and despite the lure of new character skins on replay (Isaac from 'Dead Space' and Dante from 'Dante's Inferno'), there's little urge to start up another game.

The Verdict

Anyone expecting an experience similar to either of the PS3 'Army of Two' titles will be sorely disappointed with 'Army of Two' for the PSP. The game discards most of the highlights of the PS3 franchise and offers up an entirely different tone and gameplay experience that hides behind the recycled narrative. At its best, 'Army of Two' for the PSP is a mindless diversion inspired by the franchise but not part of it. At its worst, the game is a frustrating example of the ol' bait-and-switch routine, and a negative mark on an otherwise fun franchise. How users react to the game will likely depend on how much they know about it ahead of time.