Army of Two Hands-On Preview

I recently visited EAHQ to see a demonstration of Army of Two, their new co-op shooter, and sat down with Chris Ferriera, lead designer for Army of Two, and went on a personally guided tour and hands-on demo of the title.

Chris described the game as "…the first fully developed co-op shooter. From the ground up we wanted it to [be] a cooperative game. The idea is that it’s always going to be for two characters…be it you and a friend over Xbox Live or you and a partner AI working together to overcome all the challenges…you’re always a team."

In most co-op shooters, he said, "They just put another player in that helps you along but there’s really no need for them. But in our game, we demonstrate this need by introducing a feature called ‘Agro’. When you fire, you get the attention of the enemy to focus on you–your partner than can flank around the side to take them out or accomplish adjectives."

The more the ‘agro’ meter fills up, the more successful I am in drawing attention to me. I then can relay this info to my partner so he can strike or sneak past the bad guys.

We had an objective to get past a bunch of very rude enemy soldiers, (they were trying to kill both of us) and Chris gave me directions to fire at a sniper that had us pinned down. While I was trying to pick off the bugger from behind some cover, Chris took off and went around the sniper’s flank and nailed him. I then ran up a flight of steps and we were able to wipe out the squad that was making our lives miserable.

Although I didn’t directly kill the sniper, the teamwork aspect of it had me whooping and hollering because we did it together. It was pretty satisfying. The strategy of distracting and drawing fire while the other sneaks up on the enemy isn’t necessarily a new idea, but Army of Two seems to have taken this aspect in game play to a new and higher level.

There are 30 customizable weapons in a persistent inventory (no more hunting down weapons) with 10 to 15 upgrades for each one. Now that’s a lot of upgrades and should keep you happy for quite awhile. You get the upgrades by earning money during the missions and you can upgrade at anytime during the game. Added to this, if you join a game in progress you’ll be able to exchange your weapon with the other member, temporarily. But you won’t be left high and dry with just cover to hide behind; you can also use a riot shield to protect your valuable soft body parts while going into battle as well.

But this game isn’t just all about shooting. He showed me one level where, "there are a couple of co-op puzzles where one person has to flip a switch and defend an area while the other guy makes his way to a vehicle…you’re constantly communicating…you need two people to survive…there’s no way you can do it with just one."

The experience of actually having to consciously look out for your other teammate while watching out for yourself adds a different feeling to this genre. In a typical shooter, you’re only looking out for numero uno. You may completely own the competition in regular shooters, but in Army of Two if you don’t cooperate, you’ll get yourself and your teammate killed right quick.

Ok, but what if you’re a Lone Ranger? Will there be a versus mode for the more independent of heart? "We will have a versus mode, but we’re really not revealing any details about it, but it will be in there."

I faced off with some smart AI during the missions. While you can distract them by drawing fire, they’re not just passively shooting at you either. While I was intent on trying to draw fire to myself so that Chris could go up to higher ground, I found myself in a crossfire of enemy rifles because I failed to watch my own flanks. I not only got myself killed, but allowed the enemy to go and hunt down Chris too. I didn’t make that mistake twice. On the second attempt, I got my agro meter way up and then darted away to pick off some of the enemy sneaking up from behind and went on to help him in his gun battle.

You’ll see lots of scenarios in this game from straight up shooting to commandeering vehicles in order to progress. But one thing is for sure, you’ll have to talk to your teammate frequently and accurately if you are to form a workable strategy to finish your missions successfully.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.