The game is absolutely beautiful this time around. Helped by the fact
that we were watching it almost life-size on a projector screen,
there’s just a phenomenal amount of detail on both the characters and
the world. They know everyone’s complaints about the clean and
almost sterile environment in the first game, so this time it feels
appropriately lived-in… and destroyed. There are tons of items around
the world scattered around the world with their own physics, but it’s not cluttered just for the sake of being cluttered. Matt took us through a kitchen that had been recently
abandoned that had pots cooking over onto the stove, pots and pans that
you could knock into, and cockroaches crawling all over the place. The
nifty fabric effects and dust and papers swirling in the air only add
to the experience.


There’s also an obvious attempt to humanize Rios and Salem this time.
Instead of being faceless, masked killers they now put their masks up
on their heads when not in battle in order to show you that there’s a
person back there. It may be silly (and let’s face it, who the hell
would expose themselves in a combat zone?) but it actually has
a practical use… they’ll pop them back up when all the threats in an
area are eliminated. They also look more dark and realistic, much like
the rest of the game. There are a couple of new tattoos on the guys and
they look a lot more rugged. All in all, the visuals are bounds above
the original.


The sound is no exception. The guys did a new gun recording over four
days in a ghost town in CA, and they all sound pretty fantastic and powerful.
Speaking at dinner that night Matt told me how awesome it was to handle
the guns, and how ridiculous some of them were. For instance, the 50
cal that’s so popular in videogames apparently sets off a minor sonic
boom that hits you in the chest with every shot. Nice.



But of course the controls are key- no matter how good it looks or
sounds, if it doesn’t play well who will care? A couple of changes
should make people happy- there’s now a
sprint button, with the requisite “roadie run” cam, and grenades now
have their own button. They can be blind thrown with a tap of the
button, or you can hold it to see their trajectory.
 


The characters are now ambidextrous and can pop out of cover to the
left or right just the same. To make it easier to tell that you’re in
cover formation, your character will throw their shoulder into the wall
to let you know.




In the first game, when you got shot you fell to the ground and had to
have your buddy come and heal you and put you back on your feet. You
were stuck there although you could shoot any nearby enemies while
waiting… and hoping that the dumb partner AI wouldn’t simply drag you
into the middle of the line of fire to heal you. Now you can drag
yourself to cover without having to wait for him, leaving a blood trail
on the ground. The AI has supposedly been improved, but we didn’t get a
chance to see it in motion.


There’s lot of other little dorky details you’ll notice in the game- how the grenades
bounce around on their belt, how each of your character’s feet have AI and will
actually stand on separate stairs when you stop on them.


Basically, it looks like everything you could want in a sequel. We also
were shown the first trailer to the game, but if I tell you
anything about it I will be set upon by the EA bloodhounds and torn to
pieces. I can say that it’s fairly awesome and effective, with a nice
reveal. You can see it for yourself when it premieres on Spike TV’s
GameTrailers TV on April 30th, or right afterwards when it spreads to
the internets.


Our demo ended with a huge reveal, as Salem and Rios ended up coming
across a zoo, watching in shock as a mountain lion growled and crawled
off. That’s definitely a way to change up the locations! Yes, you can
expect to fight among animals, and even at one point apparently take
cover behind a hippo. So. Cool.

 

One other new tidbit that they told us was that you’re going to want to hold onto your Army of Two saves. Why they wouldn’t say, but expect there to be something in place for those who have played through the first game.


 

This is the earliest they’ve ever done one of these Community Days for
any game, and this will apparently be a trend. They promised us that as
the core group of community teams we’ll be heading back to check out
the development of the game, and I can’t wait. To be honest, they
couldn’t talk about some of the things we were most interested in- like
how the multiplayer was going to work or where the story was going. The first game is a fantastic
experience, and I’ve played through it multiple times with friends. If
they can do everything they’re attempting with this one and do it well,
it could be the co-op game to beat.

Head on over to the official site to stay on top of info!