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Army of Two

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Jimquisition

Jimquisition: Bullshit In Sheep's Clothing


Jimquisition is a thing that happens!
Apr 02
// Jim Sterling
Join Jim as he celebrates the 100th episode of Jimquisition ... and complains about EA. Again. Companies (mostly EA) have started to learn they can get away with pulling their familiar stunts by giving them a new coat of pai...

Review: Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel

Mar 28 // Jim Sterling
Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: EA MontrealPublisher: Electronic ArtsReleased: March 26, 2013MSRP: $59.99 Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel replaces series protagonists Salem and Rios with two even more generic heroes, the imaginatively named Alpha and Bravo. The names and lack of history are supposed to make players feel more connected to the game, as if they are the ones leading the charge, yet the story paradoxically attempts to give Alpha and Bravo personalities and conflicting ideals in a way that just seems cynical. By contrast, Salem and Rios finally evolve into borderline interesting characters the moment they are no longer playable. Borderline.  The story is as one would expect -- forgettable, cliched, and generally a flimsy excuse to get to the action. There's a typical Mexican drug cartel, a typical girl out for revenge against the villain (getting herself predictably in need of rescue now and then), and a typical bad guy who we're expected to hate for very little on-screen reason. Alpha and Bravo are alienating in their canned dialog littered with gay and mom jokes, and flavored with uninspired grunt speak. This is all par for the course, however -- Army of Two has never had a story worth telling, to the point where I've often wondered why we don't get to just create our own character and partake in random missions.  Mindless shooting is the heart of the experience, and there's plenty of that. The game gets a solid eight hours of third-person cover-based warfare, and for the most part it works as intended. From beginning to end, you slog your way through the environments and mow down armies of indistinguishable opposition. As players gain kills, they rack up an Overkill meter which, when full, can activate a temporary state of invincibility, unlimited ammo, and extra damage. If both players initiate Overkill at once, it lasts longer and instigates a slow-motion effect.  [embed]249904:47828:0[/embed] Players are, as usual, expected to work as a pair to distract enemies by drawing fire, flanking positions, and combining their firepower to tackle heavily armored foes. Each action in the game, from standard kills to tactical maneuvering, earns points, and one's performance is graded between chapters while cash is earned. Cash can be spent, once more, on unlocking and customizing new weapons, as well as fresh costumes and face masks. Masks can also be personalized from scratch using a variety of templates and colors -- my personal favorite touch, considering the mask designs are easily the best element of the series.  Like all Army of Two games, Devil's Cartel is designed to be enjoyed almost entirely with two players, so I'm utterly baffled as to why, three games in, EA Montreal hasn't made this system work in an elegant or fluid fashion. There's no real drop-in/drop-out co-op option. If a player joins an open game, the current session -- and all its progress -- has to first end so the entire chapter can start from scratch. I do not know why games, especially ones so reliant on cooperative play, do this. Army of Two's chapters aren't the longest, but can contain some rather large areas littered with many enemies, so the time between checkpoints is such that the penalty for allowing a player to join is exactly the same as getting killed -- either way, all your progress in a battle will be lost.  If you get a join request during a particularly rough area and want to wait to reach the chapter's end ... good luck. It's not uncommon to be spammed with join requests during hectic fights, receiving pop-up notifications that pause the game. Accepting a request is as simple as pressing the same button you use for cover, so it's easy to accidentally confirm one of these sudden notifications and end up undoing everything you were trying to finish.  Sorry, but when there's no difference in punishment between losing a fight and accepting a player in your co-op themed game -- your co-op doesn't work properly. I'm finding this less forgivable as I keep seeing it, and given this is Army of Two's third try, it is thoroughly inexcusable by this point.  This is compounded by other problems stemming from co-op. Some of the areas where players must both open a door together or give each other boosts onto high ledges cause the animation to stick or glitch. In one area, I had to reload a checkpoint because I was stuck to a wall in a pre-boost jump animation and couldn't cancel it. In another area, I was trapped in a black loading screen while the other player was in the game, unable to proceed. Sometimes doors won't give you the prompt to open them until you back away and move forward a few times. Other times, the game just slaps you with a big exclamation mark and invisible wall until it's finished loading the next bit -- surprising, considering the game looks visually mediocre (even after installing HD textures), environments aren't large, and loading screens between missions are considerably lengthy.  Some of these issues could have been less venomously received had the action itself, in any way, been better. However, Army of Two's combat is bog standard at best, and even feels stripped down in comparison to the last one. Devil's Cartel is as straightforward a shooter as straightforward shooters get, with weapons that feel underpowered through a lack of visual and audio feedback, controls that aren't always responsive, and bargain-basement enemy A.I. If it wasn't going to do anything new, the least EA Montreal could have done was polish or improve the gameplay in some way. It did nothing, at all, but simply serve up more of the same -- and Army of Two simply isn't good enough to get away with singing the same song three times. Gone are the "moral choice" sections, gone is the competitive versus mode, gone is Extraction. The only new mode -- and I hesitate to call it that -- is Contracts, a series of optional killzones in which you try and keep your Overkill mode active for as long as possible. The campaign is longer to make up for the lack of modes, but when every chapter bleeds into each other with similar-looking levels, similar-looking enemies, and similar scenarios, this is one of those situations where more does not mean better.  I'd be lying if I said it didn't have its moments, though. Some of the sections in which players get to help their partner from behind a helicopter chaingun may be seen in dozens of games, but they still manage to get the blood pumping. Player customization is fun enough to at least get some mileage out of the joy of seeing your lovingly crafted mercenary in action. I also really appreciate that the arcade, score-based feeling to combat at least does a noble job of fighting to keep one invested. Moments of hopeful amusement peppers the experience -- just not enough to make it worthy of a look.  The core of Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel is still decent. It's a serviceable game, and provides the kind of no-frills, unimaginative action that can at least provide cathartic fantasy violence. If that's what you want, however, you're better off getting the last game -- one that felt more refined, offered more compelling interaction, and will likely be available to purchase for peanuts these days. The Devil's Cartel, by contrast, is buggy, unnecessary, and outstays its welcome before the credits close.  Army of Two has never been an especially bad series, it's just never been an especially good one. The Devil's Cartel is the ultimate example of this. Is it bad? Not especially. But it's a far, far cry from good. 
Army of Two review photo
No sympathy for this devil
Army of Two has never been an especially bad series, it's just never been an especially good one. Providing simplified cooperative shooting action, as dumb and dirty as can be, the series has clearly found a fanbase for its p...

New releases photo
New releases

New releases: BioShock Infinite finally arrives


Plus Luigi's Mansion, Army of Two, more Pocket Monsters, and some golf
Mar 25
// Fraser Brown
This week, I welcome Monday with open arms, inviting it into my living room, and even introducing it to my parents. Strictly speaking, it's really Tuesday I want to embrace, because that's when BioShock Infinite launches. Bu...

Army of TWO photo
Army of TWO

Army of TWO: The Devil's Cartel demo available March 12


In the meantime, have another trailer
Mar 06
// Conrad Zimmerman
The Tactical Worldwide Operations group is setting forth on their new mission later this month, fighting against a ruthless drug cartel. Judging from the new trailer released today, there may be an enemy within as well. Scin...
Army of Two photo
Army of Two

New Army of Two trailer gives you the finger


Then shoots you in the leg
Feb 28
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
So, I haven't really been super interested in Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel. That is until this new trailer that focuses a lot more on the story. I think part of the reason is that the story presented here looks like it'll...

'Dude-bro' takes a back seat in The Devil's Cartel

Feb 21 // Keith Swiader
Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel (Xbox 360 [previewed], PlayStation 3, PC)Developer: Visceral GamesPublisher: Electronic ArtsRelease: March 26, 2013  Set in Mexico, The Devil's Cartel takes place in midst of cartel wars and assaults, and Rizzer said the team at Visceral Games didn't feel they could accurately portray the seriousness of the situation with Salem and Rios as the game's main characters, even with the game's gore being over-the-top.  "As much as the graphic violence is over-the-top and very 'Hollywood,' as I call it, the story itself is dealing with something that is actually in the headlines and realistic, so we didn't want to have the guys ass-slapping and playing air guitar in a Mexican cartel backdrop," Rizzer said. "Again, they will have their banter back and forth, but that whole dude-bro mood [from the first games] didn't fit in the kind of story we wanted to tell." Sure, Rizzer knows there are people who enjoyed the more playful and silly nature found in the previous Army of Two games, but added he also knew Visceral had an opportunity to reach more people if they toned that element down a few notches.  "We wanted to keep it in the style of Lethal Weapon or Bad Boys -- that vein of comedy. Not over-the-top, super silly, but still good cop-buddy kind of comedy," Rizzer said. A different kind of co-op for the series "We took what we thought worked [from the first two games] and took out what we thought didn't -- for instance, the Aggro system is still there, but now it's under the hood." As mentioned in our hands-on preview, the Aggro meter -- which displays on which character the enemies are focused -- is replaced with the Overkill meter, which, when filled, turns your character into a damage-dealing tank. Even though this sounds potentially game-breaking, the meter does take some time to fill, and Rizzer assured me the team worked through its kinks to make sure the balancing was just right. One of the gameplay mechanics most prominently advertised during the release of the first Army of Two title was the ability to go back-to-back, a mini-game of sorts which had both players putting their backs to one another and laying waste to their surrounding enemies. It was a feature that I thought worked quite well, but to my surprise, it's one of the many co-operative gameplay elements not returning in The Devil's Cartel. Parachuting is also not returning, though fortunately, the riot shield ability is. The Devil's Cartel is in many ways breaking away from the norm of co-operative shooters, even going as far as having an emphasis on breaking up the team more often as opposed to keeping them together. "We actually found that one of the coolest things is splitting the players apart to do separate things, and when they come back together it actually makes the co-op experience feel that much stronger," Rizzer said. Set-pieces and "one-off" moments will still be found in The Devil's Cartel. Unlike past games, Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel won't feature any sort of competitive multiplayer component, as the team at Visceral focused solely on the co-operative experience this time around, Rizzer told me. The only sense of competition will come in the form of "co-opetition," as Rizzer calls it, as at the end of each checkpoint both players will have their stats accrued --including kills, revives, etc. -- and the player who has the most points will have bragging rights for that section. Rizzer explained that if you really want to play a competitive multiplayer game, there are plenty of good offerings out there. "I don't want it to be just a bullet-point on the back of the box where we can say, 'look, we have competitive multiplayer,'" Rizzer explained. On the whole, the Army of Two franchise has been the victim of receiving a lot of flak from critics and gamers alike, what with its gameplay and overall style taking the more over-the-top, arcade-shooter route as opposed to the realistic approach many games take nowadays. This notion is extremely apparent in the shooter genre. Rizzer told me there's a place for both in today's market, and while realism is great, playing something that's fun is what's important. "People can say what they want about the Army of Two franchise," he said, "but bottom line is, when you play this game, I feel it's fun. And with videogames today everyone's like, 'we're the most realistic shooter' and stuff like that, but how about you just make something that's really fun?"
Army of Two Interview photo
Rebooting the Army of Two series with producer Greg Rizzer
"We really pimped out the whole gun customization this time around." That's what Greg Rizzer, producer of Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel first told me as I sat down to get hands-on time with Visceral Games' latest entry in t...

$20 off game pre-orders photo
$20 off game pre-orders

Get $20 Amazon credit for pre-ordering Dead Space 3, more


SimCity and Crysis 3 also applicable
Jan 25
// Jordan Devore
Are you planning to buy SimCity (physical copy), Dead Space 3, Crysis 3, or Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel before launch? Amazon is throwing in a $20 credit on all four titles, which I don't need to tell you is strongly wort...
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Army of Two 'Overkill trailer' features a lot of shooting


Guns, explosions, guns, explosions, and more guns
Jan 16
// Alasdair Duncan
In case you needed reminding of what you're going to be doing in the upcoming Army Of Two: The Devil's Cartel, then this trailer makes it totally clear. You're going to be shooting lot of bullets at various bad guys (for som...
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Big Boi and B.O.B. to appear in the new Army of Two


Hip hop stars to appear in pre-order bonus pack
Dec 07
// Alasdair Duncan
Hip hop fans are in for a treat if they pre-order Visceral Games upcoming Army of TWO: The Devil's Cartel. Rappers B.O.B. and Outkast's Big Boi will not only be performing the theme song for EA's co-op shooter, entitled "Dou...
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Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel coming out on March 26


Nov 01
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel releases on March 26, 2013 in North America, and March 29, 2013 in Europe. Folks that pre-order the game will be upgraded to the "Overkill Edition," which will include early access to three "Ov...

gamescom: Overkill in the new Army of Two is ridiculous

Aug 19 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Another thing about the new Army of Two I liked was the cover mechanics. You simply need to look at an object that you can take cover behind, press the cover button, and the game will take care of the rest. Your character will automatically do what needs to be done to make his way to the desired cover destination. You're not locked into the run, so you can pull back on the left stick to break the run if you change your mind. Overall what I played felt like your standard third-person shooter experience. It certainly looked great visually thanks to the Frostbite 2 engine, just nothing really wowed me from the demo. It definitely had that Army of Two feel going on, which I'm still not sure if that's a good or bad thing.
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One of the abilities the two new protagonists of Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel get is called Overkill. After filling up the Overkill meter from in-game actions such as killing others, a player can activate it to slow thing...

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gamescom: First look at Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel


Aug 14
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
EA just showed off live gameplay footage of Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel here at gamescom. The live demo focused on the new pair of heroes working together to take out enemies, much like the past games. Eventually th...
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Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel announced for 2013


Aug 02
// Jim Sterling
[Update: Destructoid has been told Carlos Ferro is voicing Alpha. THAT IS A THING WE KNOW!] The Army of Two series hasn't exactly set the world on fire, but Electronic Arts clearly must be making some bank off it. Army of Two...
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Layoffs and reorganization continue at Electronic Arts


Apr 26
// Fraser Brown
It looks like EA's "restructuring" just keeps on going. Up to 50 staff at EA Montreal may lose their jobs. EA confirmed this, but said that many of the staff will be moved to other projects and only a "small number" will leav...
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Rumor: Army of Two sequel is Army of Four


Dec 01
// Jim Sterling
Whoever spilled the beans to Kotaku yesterday is spilling some more. The latest EA rumor concerns another Army of Two sequel, one that hopes to up the ante with four-player co-op as opposed to the traditional two.  Army ...
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Live show: Mash Tactics plays Army of Two the 40th Day


May 25
// Pico Mause
Today on Mash tactics we will be playing Army of Tutu! Er, Army of Two Two? The second Army of Two? Anyway, you can join us on Justin.Tv/Destructoid and we can figure this out together. [Join us for Mash Tactics every weekday...
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New Army of Two: 40th Day DLC gets released early


Mar 19
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The new Army of Two: The 40th Day DLC has been released early... on the Xbox 360. PlayStation 3 owners still have to wait until April 1 to get the new content. The original plan made it sound like the "Chapters of Deceit" DL...
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EA announces Army of Two 'Chapters of Deceit' DLC


Feb 23
// Nick Chester
Time to pull your Salem's and Rios' out of retirement. EA Montreal has announced a new campaign map pack, "Chapters of Deceit," for Army of Two: The 40th Day. The pack will feature two new cooperative campaign maps, and the ...
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Army of Two's Salem and Rio see the world


Jan 17
// Matthew Razak
Army of Two: The 40th Day is out on store shelves now, and we've reviewed it. Usually this means the end of the line for trailers and such, but Electronic Arts has one more up its sleeve. Above you can watch Salem and Rio tr...

Review: Army of Two: The 40th Day

Jan 13 // Jim Sterling
Army of Two: The 40th Day (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 [reviewed])Developer: EA MontrealPublisher: Electronic ArtsReleased: January 12, 2010MSRP: $59.99 Here is this game's story: There are bad guys. That is literally the plot to The 40th Day. First, there were not some bad guys, and then there were some bad guys. Salem and Rios have been hanging out in Shanghai, doing their mercenary thing, when all of a sudden, planes start crashing and buildings start falling over. Then those damn bad guys appear and shooting happens at them until the game ends. High brow stuff, for sure.  Of course, Army of Two isn't about the plot, it's about the sexually ambiguous co-op shooting, and Army of Two is pretty decent at it. Not spectacular, but not terrible either. The cover based shooting generally works well, with the same shooting mechanics we've seen in plenty of other games. It's all been done before so often that it's hard to do wrong anymore, and 40th Day makes sure to keep its third-person shooting strictly by the book. The game plays it safe, never trying to switch up the gameplay. This can be quite repetitive, but at least it keeps the quality consistent.  EA Montreal tries to keep things fresh by throwing optional gimmicks at you. The big thing this time around is the "Morality" system, and it's about as dreary as it sounds. Every now and then, Salem and Rios will come across civilians that are being abused by bad guys. The duo can choose to ignore the plight of the innocents, or rescue them for a Morality boost and a reward. While these segments are pretty neat the first few times, they soon break the gameplay flow and grow irritating.  At various points in the game, the mercenaries will encounter a more pressing moral dilemma. Between them, players will have to decide which course of action to take, although they are usually very clearly "good" or "bad" decisions. Morality in gaming often feels forced, by 40th Day takes the overbearing and strained nature of this gimmick to new heights, as it desperately struggles to make you care about characters and situations in a game where characters and situations mean absolutely nothing. After each decision, you're treated to a small comic book style cutscene showing the consequences, but you'll be hard pressed to care. The more promising gimmickry comes in the form of the various tactical options open to Salem & Rios before and during combat. This can range from sneaking up behind an enemy and taking them hostage, or pretending to surrender so that you can quickly whip out a gun to blast an unsuspecting foe. Players can pretend to have died, or spot and tag various enemies for easier pickings. While none of these options are essential, they are sometimes fun to screw around with at least once, before the novelty wears off.  The "Aggro" system returns from the first game, and it works out pretty well, allowing the tactical nature of the gameplay to shine. Using one player to draw fire so the other can sneak around and pick off priority targets works surprisingly well and expands the potential for tactical gameplay. Again, it's never really required for anything, especially as the game is pretty damn easy, but it's nice to play around with for a while.  As always, there is also plenty of cash to be earned from callously gunning down enemies, most of which are white this time. There is a wealth of customization options, and the ability to wield diamond encrusted grenades and paint your guns in gaudy bright gold remains Army of Two's biggest draw. It's just charming to have an AK-47 painted with flowers.  The single player campaign is short and unremarkable, and the lack of a drop-in/drop-out system for online co-op is a real hindrance, since you'll need to set up a game and stick with it. If you'd rather just go it solo, the allied AI is surprisingly good, able to hold his own in a firefight and obey commands given with the D-Pad. He will occasionally screw up, and has a tendency towards dragging you out from cover if you need healing, but he'll generally do a good job.  As well as the main campaign, there is a survival based "Extraction" mode and a full online Versus mode. As with the single-player mode, there is nothing really remarkable about any of it. There are better games out there that provide better online modes. What is in 40th Day is pretty solid and somewhat enjoyable, but there's just very little reason to play any of it, since it's not only been done before, it's been done far, far better.  That's the problem with Army of Two: The 40th Day. It's really not bad at all. In fact, it's pretty good at what it does. It's just outshined and outclassed by so many other games. There are titles out there with tighter combat, more enthralling co-op play, better online, and more interesting gimmicks. 40th Day brings nothing essential to the table, making it feel rather humdrum in comparison to the competition. Also, it's not even very funny anymore. Aside from one brilliant bit of dialog in which Rios talks about the time he raped a panda (and that's what he did, Rios actually sexually assaulted a panda), the lack of humor in the game is quite apparent, when a dose of inappropriate comedy could have helped set it apart.  Army of Two: The 40th Day is a good, but entirely forgettable experience. It's worth a quick play if you've got nothing else to do, and a weekend rental would serve you very well. However, it's definitely not something you'll want to keep on your gaming shelf for very long. Score: 7.0 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)
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Army of Two didn't exactly set the gaming world aflame when it released back in 2008. In fact, the only remarkable thing about EA Montreal's co-op shooter was its sheer tastelessness, as daring duo Salem and Rios fist-bu...

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EA: No more Killing brown people for cash in Army of Two


Jan 13
// Jim Sterling
When Army of Two was released in 2008, it upset a number of people because it starred two fist-bumping mercenaries who shot terrorists in Afghanistan so that they could gold-plate their guns. Apparently, this was wrong, and E...
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Army of Two: The 40th Day launch trailer is full of chaos


Jan 12
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Army of Two: The 40th Day is out in stores today for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. What better way to celebrate the release of the game then with a trailer giving away some key plot points! Also, explosions. Lots and lots ...
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Army of Two: the 40th Day TV spot appears, is serious


Jan 07
// Brad Nicholson
One of the first -- if not the first -- TV spots for Army of Two: the 40th Day doesn’t measure up to the brilliant bit of marketing we witnessed with Borderlands. No midgets, no three-balled bosses, or loot are shown. ...
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Salem and Rios like GameStop, hate cash registers


Jan 07
// Brad Nicholson
This morning’s Army of Two: the 40th Day trailer is a return to the ridiculous. It features the functionally retarded (and venerable) Salem and Rios during a release day event at a GameStop.  If you care to take a...
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Army of Two: the 40th Day has multiplayer, guns


Jan 05
// Brad Nicholson
A developer would be out of its mind to not include a competitive multiplayer component in its game nowadays, right? This afternoon we were reminded that EA Montreal’s cooperative-focused shooter Army of Two: the 40th ...
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Army of Two: 40th Day teaser is short but sweet


Dec 25
// Jim Sterling
Sometimes, saying very little says much more than saying a lot. This small teaser for Army of Two: 40th Day perfectly demonstrates the beauty of the understatement. If you're like me and have to spend more time than is fair ...
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Army of Two: the 40th Day lets you design your own mask


Dec 21
// Brad Nicholson
Mask designs don’t define Army of Two: the 40th Day’s Salem and Rios. The two are their own dudes, capable of making their own bro-tacular choices. But what badass in the PMC universe doesn’t paint his stee...
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Isaac and Dante are in Army of Two: The 40th Day for PSP


Dec 18
// Jordan Devore
There are a few new interesting tidbits to take away from this latest trailer for the PlayStation Portable version of Army of Two: The 40th Day. The fact that it's a drastically different experience than its console brethren...
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Destructoid confirms zombies in Army of Two: the 40th Day


Dec 17
// Brad Nicholson
We’re no strangers to odd narrative twists, but who would have thought zombies would make an appearance in Army of Two: the 40th Day -- a game that seems grounded in physical reality?But zombies are exactly what Nick C...
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We tried to play the Army of Two: the 40th Day demo


Dec 17
// Brad Nicholson
Earlier this afternoon, Nick Chester and I gave the Army of Two: the 40th Day demo a spin. We didn’t finish it -- two deaths, the lack of guitar support, and the constant wrangling with the cover mechanic combined to f...

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