Reviews

Army of Two: The 40th Day (PSP)

An inferior presentation and broken AI co-op play keep this buddy sequel from succeeding on the PSP. If you want to see Salem and Rios at their absolute ass-kicking best, stick with the much better console versions.

Not content to only conquer the console space, Army of Two: The 40th Day’s co-op killers head to the PSP for more fist-bumpin’, baddie-cappin’ action. While the deadly duo provide some solid top-down, arcadey thrills on Sony’s hand-held, most of what makes the console entry such a balls-out blast is sadly lost in this translation.

The coolest aspect on consoles is the disaster movie-like vibe that sees Shanghai’s towering structures literally crumbling to flaming bits all around you, changing the levels’ landscapes on the fly. The PSP does sport some modest destruction effects, but there’s nothing even remotely on par with the immersion-ratcheting Roland Emmerich-style chaos that keeps your adrenaline racing in the 360 and PS3 entries. Without this all-hell-breaking-loose presentation, the portable entry is left to rely on the title’s other defining feature — dedicated co-op play.

Unfortunately, the game falls woefully short here as well. Playing as a team works well enough if you’ve got a PSP-packing buddy to enjoy multi-player with. However, if your masked mate is controlled by the AI, you’re in for more frustration than fun. Aside from occasionally bringing you back from death’s door, your AI partner is useless; he rarely picks up items, does little damage to enemies, and often falls a screen behind the action. His efforts were so piss poor during my play-through, I wondered if he was secretly working for the opposition.

There is some mindless, bullet-whizzing fun and a few neat set pieces in this portable take. And, at its best, The 40th Day does recall the arcade action of classic quarter-munchers such as Commando and Contra. But for the most part the technical and visual achievements that make this title tick on consoles are all but absent here, leaving PSP players with a broken bro-mance.

PROS: Some decent level designs and set pieces complement occasional trigger-pulling thrills.

CONS: Broken AI co-op and a technical inability to deliver the disaster movie vibe of the console versions sink the experience.

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