Monday, 29 April 2013

Review: Army of Two: Devil's Cartel (360)

The Army of Two formula is brilliantly simplistic: two jackasses with heavy weaponry wreak havoc against a nearly endless supply of enemies, with the typical jawing between the characters. It's a winning formula; it's simply fun and an entertaining game. The first two games worked it to perfection, but Devil's Cartel tries to stretch for more depth and falls flat on its face as a result.

Gone are the main characters Salem and Rios. Instead you get to control Alpha or Bravo. It's ironic that they chose characters abbreviated with A or B seeing as I couldn't be bothered to care about either of them.

Anyway, you play as up-and-coming rookies in the TWO organization involved in a crazy situation trying to save a politician from the concerted efforts of the Mexican Cartels. Sure both Salem and Rios are involved, but their presence is only to help move along the story in key areas. While Alpha and Bravo still bicker between each other to a degree, the level of familial bashing that Salem and Rios got up to just isn't there.

The combat system is a little improved from the last game – judicious use of cover while picking apart enemy defensive positions is important. The Aggro system is nowhere to be found, so drawing the enemy towards one guy to let the other flank doesn't work as well this time around. Instead most of the battles involve sprinting to cover, picking off a few guys, move up, repeat.

The enemy AI really seems to show no improvement whatsoever over previous versions. You are more likely to be killed having trouble entering cover (the game has a nasty tendency to choose the wrong corner to hide behind so instead your side will be exposed to the gunfire you're trying to avoid), you really find that the controls will be your worst enemy. That's not to say the cover system hasn't made some improvements, assuming you are using the correct object for cover you can now jump between cover positions with a button press and set positions for your character to run to.

Long and short, getting into cover can be problematic, once you're in it, it's AWESOME.

The gameplay looks better than previous versions. The Frostbite 2 engine really makes the world look great, and the environments are much more spacious than what we've seen before. You don't feel like you're always fighting in a hallway.

That being said, the enemy opposition couldn't feel more cookie cutter if they were made from ginger-bread. All the enemy forces look pretty much identical. Needless to say, the combat tends to lull you into a sense of almost boredom while playing. While the locales look great, there sure isn't a lot going on during these prolonged gunfights other than the same 4-5 enemy skins running towards your position while firing.

All in all, Devil's Cartel just differs too much from the winning formula for those fans of the first two games, and for the newcomers, there are better co-operative games on the market for your dollar.

- Tazman

The Good:
- Overkill Mode gives you those visceral explode-everything moments

The Bad:
- You take away Sales and Rios? Seriously who are these two new tools?
- Really don't need a partner this time around, most of the time you're just fine on your own

Score: 5.0 / 10