Army of Two 2 – Shanghai Surprise
Mercenaries Elliot Salem and Tyson Rios are back fully geared and completely amped to take on the war- ravaged city of Shanghai in Army of Two 2. Keeping true to the ultimate o- .38 special ammo op experience from the first game, this sequel offers users more two-man tactical choices along with the tried and true ones like the step-jump, co-op snipe, back-to-back, and tactical shield. Now Salem and Rios can choose to either execute or take hostages including pistol whipping them into submission and tying them up. Grab the head honcho and his grunts will automatically surrender. Grab a lesser ranked soldier, and the battle is on. Another option is to mock surrender when ordered. While kneeling in supposed obedience, Salem and Rios can aim at their targets through their holsters and using the co-op countdown feature, blast them into smithereens before their captors even realize what hit them.
The ultimate goal for these new tactical options is to free innocent civilian hostages before they are executed. If successful, Rios and Salem earn additional money, and sometimes even new weapons. But the enemy soldiers won’t wait around for them to make up their minds on how to best accomplish this feat. Wait too long and nothing will be left but a bloody mess. That’s why it’s vital for users to identify the officer’s position and come up with a plan to take down the enemies during the cut scene.
Another new feature is the introduction of Morality into the game. Users can decide to take the high road or the lower dirtier one unlocking achievements either way. Executing the enemies in hostage situations will lead to negative morality but also to instant rewards. Subduing and tying them up with no bloodshed will foster positive morality with substantial rewards from characters later in the campaign. Also, Salem and Rios will have to make collective choices throughout the campaign concerning whether to assassinate helpful informers as instructed, or whether to set them free. For every choice made, a cut scene will show the consequences -whether good or bad- incurred by their decision.
Another feature related to morality is the camaraderie between Salem and Rios. By pressing certain buttons, users can make the characters interact with each other either aggressively or affectionately; again, unlocking achievements either way. At the end of each chapter, both the morality and camaraderie levels will be displayed. An extra interaction feature is the ability to play Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide who will flank left or right and other such decisions.
Moving on to the pick-ups and collectibles. Not only does this sequel allow users to pick up ammo like in the first game, but they can also snag temporary weapons off the fallen enemies. This grants Salem and Rios the chance to test weapons before purchasing them, while also saving their permanent weapons’ ammo in the process. Other collectibles include cash, ID cards from rescued hostages, radio transmissions, weapon parts, and Maneki Neko cats. Not to mention, Salem and Rios can raid supply crates, but they must do so before the crate closes and locks. Timing is crucial to their success.
The first Army of Two game forced users to wait until prompted to buy and customize weapons. Fortunately, the sequel lets users access this feature anytime throughout the campaign other than during battle. Weapon parts can be interchanged, and additional grenade slots can be purchased. The only downfalls are the weapon purchase and customization screen is less user-friendly than in the first game, the secondary weapon choices are fewer, and many weapons are locked until later chapters. Overall though, the weapons on hand definitely get the job done.