While Army of Two was a solid co-op shooter from 2008, the game lacked a certain something to truly escalate it to greatness. If the latest hands on preview from Joystiq are any indication, the game's sequel looks to change that.
Right off the bat we're told the sequel is already better looking than its predecessor, and that's still with six months of development time left. The demo took place in the destroyed city of Shangai China, with massive destruction everywhere. Buildings collapsed around the duo of Salem and Rios as they made their way through the streets; their goal wasn't to kill any one man, it was simply to survive and get out of China.
The game supports a new cover mechanic, one that isn't like Gears of War where you "snap in" but rather one where your character will simply duck when he gets near cover. From there you can peak or blind fire, and easily get out of cover without any special button presses. Another new feature is the tactical overlay that allows players to determine if a character is an enemy or a friendly, as well as the status and weapon of the target.
Of course a big feature in the game is the co-op, and there's a few new tools on display. Perhaps the most impressive is the co-op use of the aforementioned tactical overlay.
Bringing up the tactical overlay, Schneider was able to "paint" the enemies red and the friendly green. Rios could then see where the bad guys were via his tactical overlay. Using this info, the duo was able to simultaneously snipe both enemies (Rios' shot penetrated the apartment wall).
The aggro system makes a return as well, this time offering a few different options.
Having dealt with the hostage situation, Salem and Rios found that the next area was crawling with enemies. Demoing a new use of the first game's Aggro system, Schneider commanded his partner to "mock surrender." Rios walked up to the enemies, dropped his gun, and put up his arms. As the soldiers approached him, Salem was able to pick them off with a sniper rifle.
Finally the game is going to offer a mercs style mission system, where players can bid on contracts to bolster their bank account.
the characters came upon enemies preparing to execute a group of civilians. As they approached, a voice came over the radio, asking if the pair of mercs would be willing to assassinate someone. A dialog popped up where a fee could be entered. Schneider chose $20,000, which the man on the radio balked at. He dropped it to zero and the voice seemed stunned, but gave credit for their ruthlessness.
All in all it sounds like the game is shaping up very well. If the below screenshots are any indication, it's going to be a beautiful yet intense experience.