Taste, or lack thereof

· by Steve · Read in about 2 min · (392 Words)

I like co-op games a lot - currently my wife and I are battling on-and-off through the triple-distilled gameplay that comprises the multiplayer co-op levels on N+ - and both ruthless and supremely entertaining they are. I’m glad that game designers are starting to give this mode more attention these days, and so when I initially saw Army of Two (peripherally), I was semi-interested given that it was clearly designed for co-op from the outset. Later, when I realised it was going to be yet another soldier romp (historical, contemporary, whatever - I’m totally bored of realistic soldier games), that interest evapourated. Having watched a couple of gameplay videos for it recently, just to see whether my ‘yet another soldier sim’ (YASS) conclusion was valid, I found that it was in fact possible to be something worse than a dull soldier romp - you can be a dull soldier romp featuring a pair of the most despicable characters ever to (dis)grace a video game.

I quickly found their frat-boy capers in the videos fantastically irritating, not to mention entirely devoid of taste when taken in the context of realistically depicted wanton carnage, to the extent that I couldn’t bear to watch an entire video, never mind play the game. I did wonder whether this was a localised phenomenon, maybe gamers across the pond might not find it quite as annoying, maybe it was ironically funny or something when interpreted in the ‘target culture’, rather than as grating and unpleasant as amateur dental work. I didn’t really want to believe that, but I was nonetheless relieved when Penny Arcade completely slated it in both their comic and the associated podcast (the latter pulling no punches and being all the more entertaining for it - definitely worth a listen).

I really can’t understand who they think would find that kind of thing amusing or entertaining - personally I wanted to throttle both protagonists within about 3 minutes of watching a video. Maybe 13 year old fans of Beavis and Butthead (or whatever the modern equivalent is, since I’m so out of touch these days) could find some valid amusement in the characters’ shenanigans, but even then I think it’s a stretch.

Edit: This game just entered the UK sales charts at number 1. I just lost yet another bit of my faith in humanity.