After battling it out in Shanghai, Salem and Rios have returned to take on a Mexican drug cartel. They have company this time though as you’ll control Alpha and Bravo for the majority of the game as you make your way through Mexico’s landscape trying to accomplish your mission while staying alive and in one piece. The actual story of Army of Two The Devil’s Cartel has you trying to help out some friends that are captured as well as some high value targets that need to remain alive. Along the way you will see a familiar face who will give you a helping hand from time to time as you progress deeper in to Cartel territory. The actual story in Devil’s Cartel is fairly generic and it isn’t one that I am going to remember as the deluge of game releases continues over the next few months. With that said though the game plays really well and everything seemed to flow really smoothly. The combat was fun and the ability to customize your soldier as well as your weapons remains intact from the previous Army of Two titles.
Army of Two The Devil’s Cartel is a third person cover shooter. It pretty much plays like every other cover shooter which can be both good and bad. On the one hand it is good because I immediately felt familiar with the controls and instead of trying to get familiar with a new control scheme I was able to focus on the action. It can be bad though because there might be some people who think Army of Two is simply a “me too” title, especially with the new Gears of War title that was recently released and is much better. One of the ways that Army of Two The Devil’s Cartel separates itself from the pack for me is the way points are distributed. You are rewarded for thinking strategically and acting accordingly. If there is a machine gun pinning us down I will get more points by flanking their position while my partner draws their fire then if I had just tried to go straight up the middle and take them out. If you are the person that stayed behind to draw the machine gun’s fire then you can also get rewarded for your role as essentially being bait while your partner works to eliminate the threat. That is one key thing with Army of Two The Devil’s Cartel. It is crucial that you work together with your partner. Whether that partner is AI or human you need to work together if you want to get through this game.
While going through the game I was impressed with how well done the AI was for my partner. There were a few times I needed to be revived and my partner was usually there within moments to revive me and pick me up. Even if he wasn’t close by to me, if he could get there then he would do everything he could to try and get there on time. He didn’t just run out in the middle of a gun fight either. He tried to do it smartly and take out guys as he got closer to me. For my part, even though I am on the ground, I still have my pistol and I kept shooting Cartel members as my partner was tending to my wounds. As you are taking out Cartel thugs you have a meter on the right side of the screen that continues to build up. Once it fills you can launch Overkill which means you are invincible for a few seconds and your weapons are more powerful. This mode definitely saved me on some occasions where I was fighting against a Brute or someone more powerful that generally requires a lot of bullets to go down. With Overkill enabled it made these parts much easier although you still can’t play like an idiot. If you are standing in the middle of a public square and don’t have any cover when Overkill expires then you might get shot up pretty quickly and that is generally something you want to avoid. Your partner can also activate Overkill and seemed to be pretty smart about it too. He wouldn’t activate just because it was available and neither would I.
Even though the game played really well for the most part I did experience some issues along the way. There was one instance where my partner would get stuck on the environment and we couldn’t proceed. The only thing I could do at that point was reload the checkpoint and start back from there. At times it seemed like my partner had trouble keeping up. There were times when I wanted to breach a door when I had to wait for my partner to get to me. This didn’t happen often but it was a bit annoying when it did occur. There was also one time when the game completely locked up and I had to restart my console. These didn’t happen on a regular basis by any means but the one or two times it did it was very frustrating.
Army of Two The Devil’s Cartel does not feature any type of competitive multiplayer. The only multiplayer you will find here is the co-op campaign. On one hand I respect the fact that they wanted to put all of their resources in to trying to create a great campaign. On the other hand the other two entries in this series did have competitive multiplayer and I know some people that are going to be really disappointed that they won’t get that this time around. With that said though going through the campaign with a friend adds to the fun factor even more and will make the game that much more enjoyable to go through. The campaign had quite a few nice action sequences that gives you a change of pace every once in a while which I appreciated greatly. There were times where I had two options to choose from and your partner would do whatever you didn’t pick. There was one part where I really enjoyed being a sniper on a roof and trying to cover some people as they were making their escape and another time where I was in a helicopter with a machine gun raining down destruction on the drug cartel. The interaction between Alpha and Bravo made me chuckle from time to time as I enjoyed the one liners and the ongoing jokes throughout the game.
The two previous entries in this franchise offered a decent amount of customization and Army of Two The Devil’s Cartel is no different. You can customize your face mask, your weapon loadout, what you are wearing, what attachments you have on your weapons and things of that nature. There are even some achievements tied to it such as fully upgrading a weapon. I played with the stock costume for the first part of the game and then customized my soldier a bit more and enjoyed seeing my customizations reflected both in the game and throughout the cinematics.
Army of Two The Devil’s Cartel is a fun game to play. The story itself is fairly generic and it isn’t one that you will remember for long, especially with how the release calendar is for this year. With that said though I did enjoy the interaction between the characters and the different mechanics were fun to experiment with. If you are a fan of third person cover shooters then I urge you to give this game a try. I don’t know if it is quite worth the full $60 but fans of these types of games should have fun nevertheless. For me I had fun employing different strategies as I progressed throughout the game and once you have beaten the game Insane difficulty unlocks for an even bigger challenge.
Originally posted on Totally Gaming Network