Army of Two sequel announced

Army of Two 2

Army of Two 2

EA has announced an upcoming sequel to last years co-op bad-boy romp, Army of Two. 

Army of Two: The 40th Day will reunite players with both Salem and Rios this winter (2009) will find our troublesome twosome amid chaotic events in Shanghai. 

Electronic Arts’ Montreal branch is developing the game for XBox 360, PS3 and PSP platforms and promises many new and expansive co-op tag-team manuevers.

I for one am looking forward to this.  While the first game received medicore to slightly good reviews, I found it very fun and action packed playing solo.  Sure, there was some excessive swearing and confusing environments (meaning many skins/textures/props defied both physics and originality), but I’d really classify the game more as an arcade shooter that I would a tactical simulator that is GRAW or CoD series games.

I hope they make it slightly longer, with a few more interactive or destructible environments (ala Mercenaries 2), and easier co-op play.  My friend and I tried co-op a few times and it was fun, though we didn’t get very far due to scheduling conflicts.

Legends of Wrestlemania: Reliving my youth in demo mode.

legendsofwmSo I admit and I’m not ashamed that I ‘was’ a big professional wrestling fan.  I say ‘was’ as I really do think the story lines, characters, and mystique of the over-the-top personalities was at their best during the mid 80’s throughout the late 90’s.

While there are indeed some great personalities today (Kurt Angle, Christian Cage, Samoa Joe to name a few) the story lines and cookie-cutter appearance of many of today’s big names have lost their original luster.  With the re-branding of wrestling as ‘sports entertianment’ this last decade and a lot of focus shifting towards music tracks, firework displays, and in your face story arcs that make no sense, I have kinda drifted away from it all. 

Oh, I still read the Internet daily’s, and if there is a really good PPV coming up, I may indeed purchase it…but my regular viewings of RAW, Smackdown, ECW and TNA are way down. 

What ever happened to the slow build to feuds?  The epic story lines that would go on for months at a time that would eventually culminate in a ‘must-see’ event?  Today, wrestling story arc are generally 3-4 weeks…just enough time to the next PPV, and always seem rushed with a lot of nonsense in between.

So when Legends of Wrestlemania was announced, it piqued my interest, but after playing more recent RvS 2005/2006, I wasn’t all impressed.  My favorite wrestling games are still those by Aki/THQ for my N64, and to this day, I still have them and won’t be chucking my N64 anytime soon.  

The old WCW/NWO Nitro and WWF Wrestlemania 2000 games on cartridge were a blast at the time (taking into consideration what graphics and console power was back then), and I have fond memories of my friends and room mates really getting into back then.

After seeing some gamplay footage recently on X-Play (G4), I decided to go ahead and download the 768MB demo for my XBox 360, and I can say I was pleasantly surprised and may have to buy this afterall once released.

While only two modes were available in the demo, ‘exhibition’ and ‘relive’ match and limited to only the following characters: Andre the Giant (w/ Bobby Heenan), Hulk Hogan, Stave Austin, & The Rock, it was a nice preview and very reminiscent of the old N64 gaming controls.

Gone are the ridicuolsly complex button combinations found in the RvS series, and almost (with a few tweaks) to the old cartridge schema.  While still a bit daunting at first glance, this may promise for faster paced arcade style action for both players.

The character modeling was pretty nice.  Both Steve Austin and The Rock were dead on.  Hogan looked like he did back in 1985, and while Andre did indeed look good, his facial features looked a bit wooden.

While the in ring and surrounding graphics looked nice, I still complain about the audience graphics.  While the arenas were good replicas of their original counterparts, they seemed a bit smaller than they should be, but once again, its the audience in attendance that still needs work.  I know we buy these games for the wrestling aspect and action, but why can’t anyone seem to get the look of the crowd right?  There are still plenty of carbon copy crowdies out there as well as repetitive signs and not-so-random fan movements.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s an improvement from past installments, but still seems ‘off’.

Commenting the matches are Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler, and good ‘ole Jim Ross.  After playing about 4 matches, I already noticed that the commentary was repeating and also sounding very generic.  While of course it adds to the overall experience on having color-commentating, it also seemed a tad ‘off’.

But now gameplay:  OMG…I was a kid all over again!!!  It’s like I went back in time almost 10 years, and within minutes I was immersed and laughing, jeering, and giggling like a fanboy with a smile going ear-to-ear.  My wife even though I was being ‘silly’ and laughing at me as I was enjoying the game so much.  The wrestling action seemed epic and fast, although collision detection had a few gaffs as well as the A.I. opponent (although I was playing on easy).

Many of the signature moves and mannerisms were there, and Bobby Heenan’s involvement in my match was fun to watch and a great strategy and component to work or around or use to your advantage.

While this was only a ‘demo’ and many of the screens were locked, you had a great preview of achievements you can unlock, plus tons of goodies and lots of real video footage.  I was treated to a whole vignette setting up The Rock vs Stone Cold and it was great.  By the time the match was about to begin, I had a good understanding of the overall match setup and felt somewhat invested in my character and what to root for.  Not sure how this will translate in the long run, that is watching it over and over again (thank goodness there is a ‘skip video’ option), but it was a nice way to get me pumped up for the upcoming confrontation.

Very long story short….if you liked the old N64 wrestling games and are nostalgic for bygone superstars of a bygone era, you may want to give Legends of Wrestlemania a closer look….I know I will be.