Retro Games Rediscovered: Army of Two


Probably more than any other game type I really enjoy action games.  Whether that’s skulking in shadows of Gotham in the Batman Arkham series, trying to reestablish government control in Division, or tearing apart daemons in Doom, action games are where it’s at.  Sometimes I want Shakespeare and sometimes I want Michael Bay ‘splosions, and while both are great in their own way Army of Two definitely falls into the ‘splodey ‘splosions category. 

Without further ado let’s kick things off with the game trailer:

Army of Two Trailer

Release and Tutorials

Good stuff for the late 2000’s, right?  First released in 2008 from Electronic Arts on both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, Army of Two centers around the protagonists Tyson Rios and Elliot Salem.  The game is a third person, cover to cover shooter, with major emphasis on team-work and enemy aggro to complete objectives.  More on that in a minute.  Objectives cannot be completed solo, so keeping your partner alive is critical.  Speaking of which, the game can be played as split-screen co-op or single player with an AI controlled partner.  Rios and Salem will be the focus of the first two games in the series, with the protagonists switching to two new characters in the third installment, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel.  For this article I’m focusing on the first game in the trilogy.

Once the player(s) selects their character(s), the game begins with an obstacle course tutorial where Rios and Salem learn basic controls and the ability to help one another out through aggro.  Aggro is a meter that literally heats up as one character or the other draws attention to themselves through supporting fire.  As one character generates aggro the other character becomes invisible in a sense, allowing flanking maneuvers, such as attacking enemies from behind.  Certain targets, like machine-gun positions or enemies carrying ballistic shields, can only be taken down in this way.  Being able to fire and maneuver, and generate aggro at the correct time is critical to player success.

Salem (L) and Rios working for SSC.

Players are also introduced to a few other interesting game mechanics such as shield stacking, going back-to-back, and overkill.  There are times throughout the game, and the series in general, where players shield stack, utilizing both standard and improvised ballistics shields to protect their partner and drag out wounded personnel.  Another key moment is working together in going back-to-back.  In back-to-back, players face away from one another, time slows, and enemies appear in all directions.  Players learn to move in a circular motion and attempt to successfully eliminate all the enemies before being killed yourself.  This is a neat little quick time event that is thrown into the game throughout the series.  Lastly, overkill allows the player to become invincible for a short period of time and draw all enemy fire to them.  This can be very useful when trying to provide serious cover fire for your partner.

Shield stacking in action.

Game Story-line

As far as the story goes, we find Rios and Salem as Army Rangers in 1993 on a mission in Somalia to kill a local warlord named Abdullahi Mo’Alim.  During the mission they partner with a private military contractor (PMC) named Phillip Clyde, who works for the Security and Strategy Corporation (SSC).  After successfully completing the mission, Rios, Salem, and Clyde are extracted via helicopter, and on board are Rios’ and Salem’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Dalton.  Clyde offers Dalton a position with SSC, and Dalton brings along Rios and Salem, thus ending their time in the service and beginning their lives in the PMC world.  As the story progresses, Rios and Salem globe-hop to and from exotic locales such as the caves of Afghanistan, sunny oil fields in Iraq, a US aircraft carrier off the coast of Manila, the mountains of South Korea, and eventually back to Miami during a hurricane. 

Throughout their adventures, Rios begins to suspect a conspiracy within the ranks of SSC, as terrorist attacks increase and are more coordinated across the globe, eventually confirming his suspicions by finding a USB drive containing damning information on the SSC aiding various terrorist cells.  The pair head to Miami where they confront Clyde and Dalton, eventually killing them both in semi-spectacular fashion, and bring the SSC CEO, Ernest Stockwell, to ‘justice’.  The game ends with Stockwell on the news turning himself over to authorities and serving a three-month prison sentence, and Rios and Salem starting their own PMC: Trans World Operations.


I got into this game late, but was hooked from the outset, beating it in very short order.  I also got my mate Chris hooked on it as well and we had a blast playing through it a couple of times.  Completing objectives and missions allow for payouts, which players can use to upgrade equipment, and purchase new weapons and mods over time.  Certain items, like armor, however are not upgradeable and are locked behind mission completion. 

The ultimate downside is that EA discontinued support for the game awhile back, and eventually servers were shut down.  However, while local co-op is still possible, current generations systems tend to not be backwards compatible.  This forces players to find an outdated system or visit sites like YouTube to watch gameplay videos.  But if you get the off-chance to play it then take the opportunity.  I had an amazing time playing this game. 

Army of Two was available on Playstation 3, Playstation Portable, and Xbox 360.

[This post was originally published at Otherverse Games & Hobbies]

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A New England transplant that originated from parts westward, Ryan is a bit of a nerd that knows a little bit about a lot of things, all while claiming to know nothing about anything.  Seemingly part Khajit a logistician by trade, he’s the kind of guy that can get you virtually anything if there’s coin to be had a problem to solve.  Ryan began to learn the scrounging arts while serving time in parts east as a Loggie and has been perfecting them steadily over several decades.  He has a problem with continually purchasing models, paints, and terrain that he doesn’t really need but his wife doesn’t seem to mind.

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