Retro Games Rediscovered: Army of Two – 40th Day


Salem and Rios are back, baby.  Trust when I say you’re not missing much on story or character development with these games, but for those completionists here’s a little backstory.  Sequels are always better than the original, right?  Sure they are.  Please keep letting me believe that, ok?  But I digress.  Let’s check out the trailer for more Michael Bay ‘splodey ‘splosions courtesy of Electronic Arts:

Launch Trailer

Release and Tutorials

Published in 2010 by Electronic Arts, Army of Two: The 40th Day finds Salem and Rios once again in harm’s way, but this time instead of globe hopping they stay strictly within the confines of Shanghai, China.  We see from the intro cinematics that something is going down in the city that isn’t good: an unknown PMC force is everywhere, flyers proclaiming something called the 40th Day are fluttering on the wind, and when the cinematics conclude we find our brave heroes armed with little more than non-cared for equipment and weapons.  For their first mission, players are tasked with planting beacons throughout a series of buildings and a construction site.  This also serves as the tutorial and players learn almost identical skills as in the first game.  Concluding this section, a series of explosions rock the city and players discover that the PMC force seen at the beginning are members of the 40th Day mercenary force.  Rios and Salem then proceed to fight across the city of Shanghai, encountering adversaries in the city zoo, a hospital, a mall, and eventually fighting their way into a fortified temple which serves as the 40th Day headquarters.  Our plucky protagonists eventually encounter the 40th Day leader, Jonah Wade, and are forced to make the decision to either kill Wade and set off a city-wide bomb or kill their partner to save the city.

Three of the biggest differences between the first two games are weapon customization, hostage rescue, and morality moments.  Weapon customization was a lot more open, allowing players a greater level of detail in designing their kit.  Hostage rescue moments occur as players progress through each level and have the opportunity to either save hostages or let them be killed.  For hostages successfully rescued players are given a reward which is usually cash of some amount.  Players also can perform either lethal or non-lethal kills on the hostage takers.  Morality moments are when the players are given one of two options to decide the fate of an individual.  After the decision is made there is a short cutscene showing the future impact of the decision on that individual.  Depending on the decision made, this also affects rewards and the team rating. 

Quick aside, team ratings are a weird two word combination of camaraderie between the characters and moral stance during decision making moments.  Fortunately, the only morality moment that affects the game ending is making a final decision with the end boss.  Spoiler: either way, Wade is bluffing and the bomb isn’t real.  If you choose to shoot your partner, Wade gives a speech and the player is shown a cutscene where they lament their partner’s death.  If you kill Wade, players receive a death speech and UN troops come in to restore order.

Keep this kid safe and you get nothing.  Let him die and you unlock a sniper rifle.  It’s just bizarre at times.

So let’s dive into the morality system a little more.  On the one hand it’s just weird.  On the other hand, it’s kind of a shit-show.  Understandably it was intended to give Rios and Salem more than just a one-dimensional shoot the bad guy-get money-buy better guns-shoot the bad guy equation.  Plus you want to add a little something new for players to experience.  But it just didn’t work.  Ultimately whatever fate is chosen for the NPC, it sucks for them, and the endings are typically bad or worse.  What complicates things more is that the system is also set up to reward the player with the best items or most money by choosing the worst option.  This could have been something interesting, but I felt it fell flat.


Overall, this was again a decent game.  My mate Chris and I played through this one as well and had a great time.  The controls were very similar to the first, concepts were the same, more mini bosses were introduced, and I felt the AI was much better.  My biggest critiques are the story and morality moments.  As far as the story goes it’s a bit messy as you’re never really told why you’re in Shanghai and why you are engaging against the 40th Day.  This at least left me with little motivation other than to just survive and escape the city, which is what’s ultimately done.  Like an action movie, plot isn’t necessarily one of the big drivers but there needs to be some type of motivation for these characters to do what they are doing, and I just didn’t see it. 

Sadly, though, along with its predecessor, EA is no longer supporting the game and have shut down the servers as of late October 2022.  But while online co-op isn’t supported, local co-op is still available.  However what I’ve found is that not every prior gen game is supported, which means to play you’ll need that specific system.  Barring that option, video channels like YouTube have loads of gameplay and long play videos to get your 40th Day fix. 

Army of Two: The 40th Day can be found on Playstation 3, Playstation Portable, and Xbox 360.

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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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