Thursday, 27 January 2011

This is war!

Back! This is going to be the wargame post of the year probably! So load your gun, aim and fire!


Army Of Two 40th Day



Platform tested: PlayStation 3

Let’s kick off with my playthrough of Army of Two: The 40th Day on PlayStation 3 with a friend. We played the original together the same way in splitscreen two years ago. It’s been an entertaining game, if not a very underwhelming end. The game starts rather epic, with the city of Shanghai under heavy terrorist attacks. The first part of the game is actually the strongest and the sheer size and amount of destruction around you is amazing.

The controls and feeling of the game is instantly familiar from the first game and they work fine. They have also added the option of switching the shoulder the camera is looking over, so you can easily swap it over depending on where you are aiming. A nice touch and they have thankfully removed most of the annoying  “back-to-back” scenes, there are still a couple of them in there, but far less. New for this game are morale choices you need to take when meeting new characters. You also have to make the choice of trying to rescue civilians or take them down. These choices will effect cutscenes and of course the ending.

Like the first game there is an extensive weapon customization mode, which allows you to literally build your own guns with various parts from real weapons.  Hard earned money gets quickly put into new and more powerful weaponry! However the amount of variation, which clearly is in for show, does not add up to the fairly simple feeling of each weapon and thus they mostly feel the same. Each assault rifle is much like the other and so on.

Sitting back, and letting the game sink in a while, I feel the original was better. It offered far more varied locations, and it almost looked better for it. There is a lot of gray and red in the 40th Day visuals and all the levels blend together and fail to stand out as very original. Sure you have some more memorable parts, the Zoo comes to mind, but it could have done with more locations. So all in all it’s a good coop experience, it is without doubt a game to play with a friend either online or splitscreen. However I would actually recommend the original over this and of course the Gears of War series, which not only is technically superior, but also offers a far better story.

Rating

★★★




Modern Ragefare 2



Moving ever so swiftly on I have to mention that I have finally finished playing Modern Warfare 2 online, forever! The screaming teenage brat-fest of a game is going down in my book as simply annoying. The back-to-basics gameplay of Call of Duty 4’s multiplayer has been turned into a knifing, perk and aircraft warfare of gruesome proportions. Each round has been a pain in completing, simply because there is so much going on rather than actually shooting basic rifles at each other from a distance. Sad but true.


Battlefield Bad Company 2




Platform tested: Xbox 360

Thank god then for Battlefield: Bad Company 2! Yes, it’s mine, and I have completed the singleplayer! Now I am enjoying warfare online in its fantastic Rush multiplayer mode. Which is like the first Bad Company game, where one team attacks and the other defends. This encourages proper warfare, and makes the battlefield feel more real with two clear fronts. Add the amount of vehicles and sheer destruction in the environment and we have ourselves a really dynamic and enjoyable multiplayer game!

So the singleplayer then, how was it? In one word? Fantastic! A little short but the time it lasted its right up there with the Call of Duty Modern Warfare games. Like I mentioned earlier, the amount of damage you can do on the environments makes the game much more varied. BC2, just like the first game, lets you take a more open ended approach to the world, so you can plan your attacks better. It lets you flank and find new routes to get to the enemy. You can even just blow holes in buildings to get through places! Even better still, you can even demolish whole buildings! One note though, the levels have smaller scale to them than the previous BC, this is especially apparent on levels where you use tanks.



Over the course of the main game you also get to try out some really heavy machinery like the M1 Abrahams tank and a drone helicopter! This adds variation and changes the pace of the game in a very good way. One desert level even puts you in a completely free desert to explore, this level is on its own and its construction could have been used for some of other levels as well in my opinion.  New weapons can be found on the way, either by picking up the ones left by enemies or finding ammo deliveries, and you are rewarded for doing so.

The story in BC2 is more serious than the original, and it has sadly significantly toned down the humor. However some of it remains and the Bad Company team of four soldiers each have great personalities and funny lines. The voiceovers are great and the dialogue feels very natural.

Speaking of sound, the first BC had fantastic sound, this game is no exception. BC1 and 2 are unrivalled in this department. Play the game on a surround system and you are in for a treat. The heavy pounding of .50 cal rounds, the grinding of metal from tanks and the rattle of a light machinepistols are simply beautiful tones in a concert of war! They way the game blends these sounds with where you are, if it’s a small room, under a bridge in open space or suffering ear deafness after a grenade, just has to be heard to be understood.

All in all I strongly recommend BC2 for FPS fans, the story is good, the locations vary from icy mountains, to rainy jungles or to dry deserts and the gameplay with its destructible environment is fantastic. Add the great dialogue of your comrades and you’re in for a great journey! This Swedish produced game series featuring the Bad Company can proudly stand tall next to the Modern Warfare series, and that’s one hell of an achievement!

Rating

★★★★★☆

That’s all for now folks, see you around!

(This article was first published on Wednesday, March 10, 2010 on my original IGN blog.)

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