We'll be honest, this week's podcast goes a little off of the rails. What we originally envisaged as a discussion centred around artificial intelligence programming in terms of companion characters in games became a hearty chinwag about some of our favourite companions.
We even manage to make a case for Slippy Toad being the Best Video Game Companion Ever!
Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be a few instances of strong language.
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Gosh, that's an alarming headline.
Perhaps I should preface this article by explaining that I - along with my fellow Dealspwn writers - love ourselves some Army Of Two. Sure, the series is riddled with flaws (and it's easy to make a persuasive argument for them being pretty bad games), but the original game and its sequel delivered something you'll rarely find in the shooter genre: good old fashioned cooperative fun. We air-guitared our way through some well-designed arenas, hooned a hovercraft around like nobody's business and fist-bumped our mates after each successful mission. Army Of Two is fun, empowering and a perfect way of blowing off steam with a friend, and bringing players closer together through Rios and Salem's lighthearted banter.
And yet, our delight at discovering that Visceral Games are working on a reboot soon turned to major concern after witnessing the first trailer, followed by a gut-wrenching realisation that The Devil's Cartel may have already failed during the planning stages. By setting The Devil's Cartel in the midst of the Mexican drug war, Visceral has potentially derailed their sequel before it was even revealed.Click here to read more...
EA has blown the lid off a third Army Of Two title, currently in development by Dead Space developer Visceral Games. Subtitled The Devil's Cartel and powered by Frostbite 2.0, this new outing will see mercenary partnerships hit the gritty streets of Mexico. However, it plans to take a "more mature and grittier" tone than its predecessor, and almost certainly won't star series mainstays Salem and Rios.Click here to read more...
Stargate Atlantis actor Joe Flanigan has seemingly confirmed EA's rumoured Army Of Two sequel - Army Of Four - in a recent tweet. The star will apparently be providing voice talent for the project, which is heavily tipped to use Frostbite 2.0. However, Flanigan got his franchises slightly mixed up and quickly corrected the mistake.
"Just signed on to do the new AO4 video game for Electronic Arts. Some splinter from Battlefield. Finally, my kids think I am cool again."
"Actually, showing how distinctively uncool I am, I think I have those games mixed up. Thankgod my kids don't read twitter."
We're rather excited about this, actually. Army Of Two may be dumb, but it's big and brilliant fun - and we're looking forward to more details. Salem, Salem, Salem! [Twitter]
Roses are rubbish. Choccies are cliché. This is the 21st century, people, and the world of gaming has provided us with infinitely more meaningful presents to proffer to our significant others on this Hallmark holiday.
That being said, the course of true love never did run smooth... and it's very easy to get things apocalyptically wrong. Therefore, as Dealspwn's resident doctor of lurve (my diploma is in the post, shut up), it's my duty to sum up the very best and worst gaming gifts out there. There's no need to thank me. It's my job. It's what I do. Just knowing that I've brought a little more love into the world is reward enough.
A hardcore strategy game might seem like a bizarre choice for a romantic present, but you'd be dead wrong. Each purchase gives you two codes, so in between breathlessly fragging each other (read that again, you sick puppy), you can stay connected and swap sweet nothings in an exclusive social network.
What's more, you can always pretend that you let your partner win for extra brownie points... even though they kicked your arse fair and square.Click here to read our (slightly risqué) Valentines Day special >>
EA seems to have more leaks than the Titanic at the moment - if Kotaku's staggered "insider" reports are to be believed. The latest rumour is that EA are working on an Army Of Two sequel that features four-player cooperative modes and runs on Frostbite 2.0. That's pretty much all we have to go on, and remember that it's very much a rumour rather than a report.
And you know what? We want this. Army Of Two is big, dumb, uncomplicated fun... and if you disagree, we're going to leave you hanging next time you go for the fist bump. Here's hoping for some larger maps that allow us to get our flank on, bro. Yeah! Ladies lift your shirts! Salem, Salem, Sal...[That's definitely enough. - Ed]
It's our sad duty to report on yet another EA server cull. I hate having to do it, but to be forewarned is to be forearmed. This latest shutdown is set for August 11th, and is set to include Army Of Two, Battlefield 2: Modern Combat and Need For Speed: Most Wanted. We have the full list after the break.
Achievement hunters, it's time to get your skates on.Click here for the details >>
I quite enjoyed playing through Army Of Two with one of my flat mates a couple of years ago, it's good brainless fun, but I've got to admit I wouldn't rush out to play it again, once was enough! If you're dying to run into a gun fight that looks almost impossible for two people to win though, or you just want to go back to back with a friend and destroy every living thing in sight, then maybe this one's for you. The Game Collection are parting with copies of the game on the 360 for £9.99, which is almost £2 cheaper than the next best offer.
Another Army of Two title is seemingly in the works, if a number of job postings on EA's recruitment site are to be believed. The publisher is looking for a senior producer and lead environmental artist to work "for the Army of Two franchise". The prospective employees would join the Visceral Games team in Montreal, Canada, and join in on delivering more co-operative shenanigans for Elliot Salem and Tyson Rios.
Personally, I don't think the previous Army of Two games quite got the rep they so deserve. Co-op is quick becoming a staple of any respectable shooter, but AoT is one of the only contenders to actually sculpt its gameplay for true co-operative elements rather than simply the function of having two player-controlled avatars in one game-space. We'll keep our eyes on this as it develops. [Eurogamer]
We live in the world of the sequel, the remake, the annual release, the safe bet, the lazy rehash. Occasionally a new name might emerge, a new IP (Intellectual Property) that hopes to become the next big franchise, but they're generally seen to be too risky in the world of the multi-million pound costs of developing and marketing a game.
Some sequels are essential though and 2011 will be no different with Uncharted 3, Mass Effect 3 and Batman: Arkham City already driving us nuts with the wait. Sometimes though, when we see an announcement for a sequel, our hearts sink, we question the sanity of developers/publishers and usually have a bit of a fight around the office to see which poor sod will have to review it.
So here's a look at the sequels that haven't been announced yet, but in all probability will be in the near future. Albeit with slightly more marketable titles.
Last year Io Interactive took the unusual approach of making an ugly game even uglier for the sequel and fixing almost nothing. You have to admire their work ethic of 'f**k the public, they'll buy anything, so why bother?' Handheld camera angles, super-blocky lo-res images (yay it's like YouTube said my PS3 in disgust), childish controversy and bullets that still seemed miserably slow. What's the point of well-conceived multiplayer modes when shooting a gun is such a broken experience? A tie-in movie might just work instead, as the story had a sharp pace to it and we've all enjoyed the Michael Mann-inspired moments, but in all honesty we wish this pair of old dogs had died tied to those chairs in Shanghai.Click here to read the what other unannounced games have got Brendan all worked up.
Mates. Buds. Compadres. Amigos.
Videogames have taken a stab at true love, but when it comes right down to it, there's no deeper connection than two best mates who look out for each other through thick and thin. Allow me, therefore, to take you through ten of the greatest Bromance stories ever told.
Conventional logic dictates that this pair should be the deadliest of enemies, but nothing could be further from the truth. Every time Mario needs some more disposable income or some time away from the missus, Bowser's always happy to hook him up with a princess kidnapping and go through the motions. In an awesome display of taking one for the team, Mario was also willing to go deep inside the digestive tract of his erstwhile foe to save the world... which is quite frankly further than even the tightest of bros are willing to go. Even on a stag night.
When Commander Shepard is forced to go off the books and recruit a crack team of surly ne'er-do-wells to save the universe, there's one Turian that he knows that he can rely on time and time again. Garrus always has his back. Whether he's doling out sage advice or devastating sniper cover fire, this is one partnership that survived two games and will hopefully make it into the third.
This is a classic example of a budding bromance that was cruelly cut short. It took a .44 magnum round and several cans of petrol to drag these two apart, even after the steadfast Ghost heroically dragged his comrade in arms out of a deadly firefight and was pivotal in securing each and every objective that Task Force 141 threw at them.
A tragic end to a solid bromance that was forged- and severed- by fire.Click here to keep reading, bro!
As the ground crumbles around them and people drop to the ground dead in a hailstorm of bullets, Rios and Salem need to discover who's behind the latest wave of destruction so they can put them out of business once and for all.
You can grab a copy of the game on the Xbox or PS3 for £12.99 from Game, which is exactly £2 cheaper than the next best deal of £14.99 coming in from Play on both formats.
The original game was pretty good fun if you were playing co-op or multiplayer, but it wasn't a game that I'd personally pick up again. Luckily, the developers built on some of the more memorable aspects of the game and added in some new features that make the experience much more enjoyable.
The enemy AI has been improved as has that of your computer partner if you're playing through the game by yourself, which means you don't have to constantly stop to make sure your comrade in arms isn't being torn to pieces and also the battles are much more rewarding because you actually have to think a bit more tactically rather than simply emptying clips in your enemies direction as your accomplice moves forward for some close encounters.
There's a much greater level of weapons customisation than we saw in Army of Two, and you'll also be able to steal cash and parts for your beloved guns from your assailants supply crates, provided you can reach them before they permanently lock.
New to the series is the morality system, which alters the outcome of certain situations depending on whether or not you're playing through honourably or as a renegade that's gone off the deep end blasting everything that comes into sight.
As with the original, The 40th Day is a great game to carve your way through and you'll love watching Shanghai fall to pieces as you fight your way to the end.
Thanks to goonertillidie @ HUKD
We already featured an early post on the matter this morning, but in case you missed it, here it is again: Until 8am tomorrow morning, The Hut are offering a further 10% off on all Playstation daily deals. All you need to do is head on over to the online merchant and enter in PLAY10 at the checkout when asked for your details.
We posted a roundup of a few choice deals earlier, but here are a few more for your shopping delectation. Again, all titles are for the PS3 unless otherwise stated, with the price shown taking the discount code into account, and with nearest competitor listed in brackets afterwards:
The deals posted here will all net you a pretty sweet saving, particularly on the pre-orders. Just remember - PLAY10 at the checkout. But be quick about it, stock is never unlimited after all.
It seems wrong somehow to see such a new game drop in price so quickly, especially when it's actually pretty decent but I hear gift horses don't like it if you look at their mouths.
Gameplay are currently selling The 40th Day for the awesome price of £23.99 for either console. This gives you a nice £4 saving as the next best price for either version is £27.99 from Shop To (360, PS3).
Continuing where the original Army of Two left off, The 40th Day stars military contractors Tyson Rios and Elliott Salem who find themselves in the midst of a desperate battle for survival when a routine mission in Shanghai goes a little haywire. Frankly you don't need to know too much about the plot as it is basically just an excuse for a whole lot of brutality and violent silliness.
Army of Two: The 40th Day is no masterpiece but it sure is a lot of fun, especially when you take on the action in multiplayer co-op mode. It's almost reminiscent of a gung-ho buddy/action flick: all brawn and big guns. Despite this, the game is somewhat darker in tone than the original game and involves real moral decision making that can often have far reaching long term consequences. It's pretty short but there's plenty to see you coming back for more and with an asking price of less than twenty five quid, you're bound to think that it's money well spent.
Thanks to shergold at Hotukdeals!
We all love bagging an established title at a bargain price. However, getting huge savings on a game that's only been out for a fortnight is another thing entirely! Simplygames.com are are offering the PS3 version of Army of Two: The 40th Day for 29.89; well over a tenner less than most high street retailers, and £4 cheaper than the nearest online competitor (Coolshop - £33.89). Unfortunately, Xbox 360 owners will need to shell out an extra fiver for the privilege.
Army of Two: TFD sets out to emulate the peerless cooperative gameplay pioneered by its predecessor, but also to atone for the sins of its father. The gameplay mechanics, graphics and artificial intelligence have been completely overhauled since the original. Aiming is tighter, the cover system is intuitive and the AI is capable of outsmarting overconfident players. Most importantly, the improved level design has a new focus on providing loads of opportunities for flanking, sniping and co-op manoeuvres (which make tactics and teamwork a lot more important than the size of your diamond encrusted shotgun). The addition of scopes and bayonets to the comprehensive weapon editor further expands your tactical options.
Trust me: you'll want to make sure you've got a good friend to watch your back. The campaign has been designed from the ground up for two player co-op and provides a whole mess of unique 'I can't believe you just did that!' moments. New manoeuvres such as hostage taking (which forces enemy squads to surrender), mock surrendering and an enhanced appreciation system make for one of the finest dedicated cooperative experiences available on the console that's always best shared with a mate. Plus, you won't want to celebrate a successful gunfight by slapping the virtual ass of an AI character, will you. Will you?
Salem and Rios are still the jovial, fist-pounding, chest-bumping, butt-slapping power couple we've grown to love, but the tone is a lot darker this time around. Frequent moral choices force you to actually witness the long term consequences of your actions in graphic detail- and the 'good' choices rarely pan out the way you'd expect (often causing my co-op partner and I to fall out more than once!).
Don't get me wrong; there are a couple of issues that get in the way of the fun every once in a while. TFD has a nasty habit of checkpointing you right before lengthy unskippable cutscenes that you'll end up watching over and over and over again. It's also a little unstable, though the PS3 version is a lot more reliable than its Microsoft counterpart. Oh, and the EA multiplayer servers are up to their old laggy, buggy tricks again. Don't expect a consistently stable online multiplayer experience any time soon!
Ultimately, Army of Two: The 40th Day is a capable, polished shooter that improves on its predecessor in almost every respect. Sure, it's short; but multiple endings, binary morality choices and a whole mess of collectibles will ensure that you play it through more than once. Frankly, if you've got a spare thirty quid (and a friend) then you could do a lot worse than hitting the link and saving yourself a bundle!
Army of Two: The 40th Day is a third person shooter which focuses on cooperative two-player play and sequel to 2008's Army of Two.
If you're after a copy of this game then your best bet is to head to Cool Shop who are selling it for £32.99, the next best price being an extra two pounds - £34.89 from Simply Games (it's worth noting that if you want a 360 version of the title then Simply Games has the best price of a retailer with stock).
The 40th Day begins a few years after the end of the original game and stars Tyson Rios and Elliott Salem as a pair of self employed private military contractors who run the company TWO (Trans World Operations). What should have been a routine mission to Shanghai soon goes disastrously awry, leaving Rios and Salem in a battle for survival. To be honest the plot is little more than a vehicle for some brutal and very enjoyable gun-totin' action.
Army of Two feels like an epic disaster/action movie come to life and so is an awful lot of fun to play, if somewhat lacking on brain food. The highly customisable weapons, described by the official Army of Two blog as "like Lego with Guns" is nice touch and adds to the tactical elements of battle. Unfortunately the campaign is a tad on the short side and online play suffers from some irritating lag issues. There is a morality system at work that is interesting but frankly bizarre at times with what seems like the morally correct choice leading to fairly grisly results. All in all this is a solid shooter package that offers a fun way to kick off the year.
Thanks to amibees at Hotukdeals!