|System: X360, PS3, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Montreal||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 12, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
Is it wrong to expect the portable version of a game to be every bit as good as its console brethren? Probably. But, while it obviously won't live up to its counterparts graphically, and may need to change somewhat because of the differences in system performance and control schemes, that shouldn't give developers a blank check to quickly throw together a lackluster product, slap a big game's name on it, and then place it alongside the console versions. In particular, I'm referring to Army of Two: The 40th Day for the PSP which has done just that; hastily created an inferior game that likely won't appeal to anyone, especially those expecting at least a passable version of what was released on the home consoles.
The 40th Day for the PSP shares the same storyline as its console cohorts. During what is thought to be a routine mission in Shanghai, Salem and Rios find themselves trapped in a city on the brink of destruction. In order to survive and escape Shanghai, Salem and Rios must fight their way out, finding out who is behind all of the craziness, and hopefully putting a stop to it as they go. The problem is that the game does very little to highlight the story or make you care about what is going on in any way.
Instead, it's just you blasting your way through seemingly endless corridors and streets with the occasional conversation or morality choice thrown in just to show off assets taken from the console versions of the game. One of the best parts of this version of the game is that there is actually quite a bit of voiced dialogue to be had. Every conversation in the game is voiced, which is taken directly from its big brother versions, although not all of the dialogue is here, making it seem as though chunks of dialogue have just been grabbed at random and thrown into this version.
The morality choices don't fare much better either, also making their way into this version directly from the other consoles. Every so often you'll come across a situation that is only vaguely explained, and then you are expected to choose from either the most evil or most good from the possible responses in order to resolve it. Choosing the evil option usually nets you some sort of power-up or money and going with the good option often just doesn't do anything for you. In either case, afterwards you are treated to a cinematic clip show, also taken from the console versions, that shows the repercussions of your choices.
I can't state this enough, these are usually quite nonsensical and seem to have little to no bearing on anything. [**Begin Spoiler Alert**] As an example, while walking through a zoo you happen upon a Siberian Tiger. At this point the game comes to a halt and a man on an intercom offers you some bullets (which are already limitless in this game what?) if you shoot the tiger. If you choose the evil option and shoot the tiger, you will see a cinematic of a girl crying and taking a picture of its corpse then going home and getting on the internet only to find out that Siberian Tigers are now extinct. Wait, you expect me to believe that this is the last Siberian Tiger in existence and that I've just wiped out an entire species, really? Choosing the good option results in a cinematic that shows the tiger wandering out of the zoo, hiding in the back of a random roadside car, and then mauling a man as he tries to escape after robbing a store. First of all, that does seem incredibly likely doesn't it? Secondly, good thing the tiger won that fight because apparently it is the LAST ONE in existence. [**End Spoiler Alert**]
The PSP version of this game does plenty of failing in the gameplay department as well. We all know that you can't make a good third-person shooter on the PSP (please ignore Resistance: Retribution, Killzone: Liberation, Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror, etc.), so The 40th day instead takes a more arcade-like approach to the game. The 40th Day is played from a three-quarter view, with the camera following your character as you move along. While this perspective works well enough some of the time, you'll frequently have issues with off-screen enemies blasting you without fear of retaliation, which gets worse as the game goes along because your enemies get stronger weapons.
Players will move their characters around using the analog nub while controlling weapon fire with the face buttons. Each button will fire in the direction that they are positioned in, while hitting two buttons at once allows for diagonal shots. The game uses a fairly generous, yet wildly uncontrollable fire lock-on once you hit an enemy, making it easier keep firing as you move around without having to worry about where your enemies are located in relation to your character. This may not seem like the most elegant solution for combat, but honestly, it works fairly well as long as you aren't trying to target specific enemies within groups, because that is next to impossible.