Army of Two: The 40th Day Chapters of Deceit Impressions

4/12/2010 at 12:58 PM

Army of Two: The 40th Day originally contained seven meaty chapters, which we enjoyed playing through. For $9.99 on the PlayStation Network or 800 on Xbox Live you can now add the Chapters of Deceit downloadable content - two more sections of the campaign that give you an alternate story arc and plenty more bad guys to kill.

The first mission of the DLC separates Rios and Salem and strips Salem of his weapons. Using melee combat and communication, you are charged with reuniting the duo. The sequence is entertaining and challenging, but mercifully short. Once together, be prepared to experience heightened difficulty - the rest of the Deceit campaign content makes the first seven chapters look like child's play.

Almost right off the bat, you'll meet a new character and you'll have a chance to temporarily wield a new weapon - the flamethrower. While fun, the flamethrower actually causes a lot of collateral damage in the wrong hands, and since it's only available during a particularly hairy portion of one's really just a short-lived novelty. We quickly swapped back to our more effecient custom rifles. The new character is not crucial to the gameplay at all, but she is the subject of the DLC's sole morality choice, and another grimace-inducing one at that.

Headshots are key here. Hit his helmet off, then give him two to the dome.

Along with scores of disposable baddies, Chapters of Deceit throws an extra handful of Heavy soldiers at you, making headshots all the more valuable. Sniping is more of an option this time around - I was seriously impressed at how balanced each setpiece was. Players can either snipe from afar or advance in any combination they wish. There are no forced back-to-back moments, and like the rest of the game you can co-op snipe or grab a nearby makeshift shield at any time. Personally, I spent most of the DLC toting an assault rifle and a shotgun, a combo that I normally reserved for Extraction mode. Having the freedom to drop the sniper rifle without hurting my overall options was a good feeling.

After plowing through the first fifteen minutes or so, the story slows down quite a bit. The pacing and hectic cover/shoot gameplay, however, stays fresh. I can't say that the plot was really satisfying at all by the time we were finished...but our hour-and-a-half playthrough of the new chapters inspired my co-op partner to pick up the retail game, which he had only previously demoed. He figured that if the rest of the game was anywhere as fun as the DLC, he needed it in his collection.

All in all, the Chapters of Deceit did not disappoint. Both myself and my co-op buddy had a rip-roaring time playing it in splitscreen. Not only is the level design and gameplay in good form, but the cutscenes and voice acting was on par with the retail game. Without new weapons to customize and without new Extraction maps, EA missed an opportunity, for sure...but if you enjoyed the co-op campaign, this DLC - in my opinion - is not one to miss.