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Army of Two: The 40th Day is a thrilling ride

In this undated photo provided by Electronic Arts

In this undated photo provided by Electronic Arts of a screen grab from the video game "Army of Two: The 40th Day," mercenaries Elliot Salem, bottom left, and Tyson Rios, bottom right, defend themselves against some attacking soldiers. (AP Photo/Electronic Arts) Credit: AP Photo/HO

Mercenaries Elliot Salem and Tyson Rios find themselves in Shanghai just before the city's towering skyscrapers are blasted into piles of rubble. The pair is tasked with escaping the city with their lives, and it's a heck of a thrilling ride.

A downed jetliner crashes into a zoo just as the two are heading through the gates. A missile blasts a helicopter hoisting a tank, sending the armored vehicle spiraling into the city streets.

These disaster-flick quality cut scenes are sewn seamlessly into a solid third-person shooter that boasts an arsenal of customizable weapons and numerous creative ways in which the two can work together.

Once again, playing Army of Two is far superior with another human, either online or split-screen. But if you're forced to go it alone, the sequel improves the partner artificial intelligence that was a bit lacking in the original: Salem and Rios can enter a room full of enemies and do a mock surrender before drawing their guns. Or they can find a couple of hiding spots, pull out their sniper rifles to make their takeout shots.

Salem and Rios will also face several moral decisions during the game, and the stories of resulting consequences are told through a series of hand-drawn comic-book panels. It's a nice touch.

ARMY OF TWO: THE 40TH DAY

RATING M for Mature

DETAILS Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3

BOTTOM LINE Pleases with more than we'd expect from a summer blockbuster film

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