Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel (Striving for Mediocrity)

Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel is the third installment in the TWO series, this time being farmed out to EA’s Montreal division and in cooperation with Visceral Games, best known for Dead Space and not lot else. As one would expect, it’s a third-person shooter making great use of cover physics and copious chest high walls, the story featuring the legality and efficacy of private military contractors, this time taking on drug cartel in Mexico for reasons never really well explained.

It's like Rambo and a buddy cop film had a baby.

It’s like Rambo and a buddy cop film had a baby.

While previous installments of the series worked to give the player a sense of their actions determining an outcome, and a specific weapons loadout being tailored to a certain situation only, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel has really had to work just to achieve the basics in A-list gaming expectations. And where it comes to story, originality, engaging gameplay, and capturing what about the previous installments was fun to the player, The Devil’s Cartel is a substandard effort that seeks to bank on its hitherto solid name. In the interests of providing a solid review, I could simply copy a review of Army of Two: The 40th Day and remove all the praise. Instead, I’d like to try to stay a little more informative and have included a series of bullet points which sum up the meat of the good and bad of the Devil’s Cartel.

  • Why am I being told I have the honor of downloading additional content when I bought my copy the same day it was released? Oh, I forgot. This is EA, voted the worst company to work for of 2012 and 2013, and quickly taking the lead in terms of unethical and lazy practices toward its customers. Day 1 DLC is yet more proof of these disturbing trends.

 

  • Two seconds in and I’m asked if I want to run high-def mode… Hear that? That’s the sound of the clutch in my head stripping a gear. I was already forced to buy an HDTV to run my Xbox 360 properly; why the hell would a low-def graphics standard even exist? So, setting aside my rapidly increasing ire for a moment, let’s go ahead with the assumption that I didn’t spend half a grand on an HDTV for shits and giggles and actually want some performance from what I paid for. That’s gonna eat a gig and a half extra out of my hard drive because the 360’s processor is no longer fast enough to read and run everything from disc. Sounds like poor compiling to me. I remember when coders could create a great gaming experience measuring in kilobytes. Now, these lazy fucks have no trouble flushing a couple gigs down the tubes while looking no better than standard graphics settings from the previous game.

 

  • Splitscreen co-op gameplay without a second console and TV. *Pats head* Good dog.

 

  • The next evolutionary stage in the buddy cop genre. Complete with terrible one-liners and flimsy backstories.

 

  • Salem and Rios are now in managerial positions. Two rookies are out main characters, Alpha and Bravo, two relatively generic monikers for one clean cut hero in training and one rogue who plays by his own rules. Insert ’80s cop stereotyping here.

 

  • Overkill mode combines bullet time, invincibility, and environment destruction for a suitably macho release of testosterone.

 

  • The customization menu is a geardo’s paradise, and I think the try-it-before-you-buy-it scheme for their weaponry is something all shooters can learn from.

 

  • No running and gunning allowed. Strict cover system while being careful that your cover isn’t destroyed is paramount to survival. So stick to them chest high walls, boy!

 

  • The twist with the villain turning out to be (redacted) is so obvious that even the fucking characters said they saw it coming from a mile away.

 

  • You know you’re playing a good game when you don’t want it to end. When you find yourself thinking, “Please God let this be the last map filled with chest-high walls and cover physics,” you know something’s gone horribly wrong.

 

  • Partially destructible environment and enemies that like to hunker behind cover mean forget one-shot, one-kill. You’ll burn through most of your ammo destroying crates and barrels in order to plug the digital douchebags hiding behind. What we’ve got here is a prolonged bout of leapfrog compounded with a stupidly hilarious bodycount. Anyone n your screen that isn’t Alpha, Bravo, Salem, or Rios has earned Red Shirt status. I feel like Job, watching everyone I’ve ever known die for no damned reason, only for their replacements to arrive on scene shortly thereafter.

 

  • After breaking up the original team, they failed to replace it with something equally entertaining or better. We never really get to know any of the characters or their motivations, and so we don’t care about them. I played for close to ten hours and did it simply because it was my job rather than I was intrigued by the story or drawn in by the characters. It’s perfectly forgettable.

 

  • Story and its direction are both lacking in imagination. The story never intensifies; the situation never goes out of control. It’s tame. It’s diminished compared to its predecessors. It just leaves you empty inside after a bad experience, like the night after eating discount sushi from a Wal-Mart.
Rating:5/10
Pros:Comprehensive weapon selections
Fun co-op
Cons:Terrible story
Repetitive gameplay
Takes away but doesn’t add anything
Game producer's website:EA
Official website:Army of Two: Devil's Cartel
Game available at:

About The Author

John Richard "Chrysophase" Albers
Other posts by

John Richard Albers, an author, armchair psychologist, amateur historian, freelance, peacemaker, dragonslayer, warmaster, and part-time herald of the apocalypse, hunts ghosts when he isn't hunting crazy people. He holds dual bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and English Literature, is working toward a degree in parapsychology, and is acting CEO of Prior to Print Proofreading LLC, where he gets to torture editors instead of them torturing him for once.

Leave a Reply