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Army of Two: Devil's Cartel Review

Tango and Cash, Riggs and Murtaugh, Burnett and Lowrey; action duos often make for great movies but rarely do they make it over to the console market, with Kane and Lynch being the most popular attempt but sadly after Dog Day's we are likely never to see them again. There was however another duo that has appeared, Salem and Rios, brothers in arms and mercs for hire, ready to kick arse and chest bump after every successful kill, capturing their chaotic friendship perfectly in an otherwise standard third person shooter. After The 40th Day there were not many expectations of this often overlooked pairing, but someone in EA thinks there is still a little bang left in this dangerous duo.

Now what made the original games enjoyable apart from the crazy over the top action was the constant bickering and hazing between the two characters and though they were numbskulls with really cheesy and painful banter it managed to add a little more depth so the first disappointment comes in quick as Rios and Salem have been side-lined with Alpha and Bravo, two of the laziest 'cool' names you could have picked. The apparent lack of respect for the previous games does not stop there as they are quite boring and unfunny when compared to the previous stars; it is like replacing Gibson and Glover with Cameron and Clegg. The lack of team spirit and spark between the two does filter through to the game itself, with the battles, though fun, violent and very explosive feeling a little empty without better quips. Disappointment with the new characters aside Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel still manages to be a blast, never really letting up with the action, with hundreds of baddies running into your line of sight, asking for a head shot or a limb being blown off. Army of Two has not only the dangerous duo but a whole host of other 'mercs for hire' stuck right in the middle of a huge drug war through Mexico, with a short flashback to their early days setting up the story and then moving to present day, dealing with the repercussion of their actions in dusty Mexican towns and markets, cemeteries and sewers, fighting against an almost endless supply of cannon fodder, led by Bautista and his own masked mercenary, El Diablo.

The action has not changed much from the previous games, with you playing as Alpha in a cover based third person shooter though the approach may be a little different, like the aggro power being replaced with a more simple flanking mechanic, made easier with a new TWO augmented reality vision implemented into the masks you wear and a very easy to use d-pad based command system to request an action from Bravo like throwing a grenade or leading the way in a door breach situation. With the many kills that you will tot up during the levels you also gain an Overkill ability that once triggered grants invulnerability, infinite ammo and also slows down the action, allowing you to plough the surrounding area with bullets. There are also a few buddy moments that still occur with you both opening heavy doors, boosting over walls and occasionally splitting up to take separate paths, adding a little replayability. To keep the action going at a frantic pace the levels tend to be quite linear, constantly leading you forward with more and more enemies to kill, though at times you do get a chance to show off some more basic battle tactics when the map occasionally opens up, allowing you more freedom to move around, gain better cover and flank enemies.

The AI controlled partner does a decent enough job of covering you and reviving you when downed but it is more fun with a friend, be it split screen or online co-op, just make sure you know who you are playing with or else you will be sent back to the start with every disconnect and new player. To add a little more of a challenge there are also online leaderboards, with each level split into smaller areas, every kill tallying up in a running score, the screen flashing with notifications of head shots, partner kills, tag kills, surprises and decoys all adding up to your level score. Surprisingly Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel is totally void of any competitive online play, a step for the better even though the previous online modes were fun to play, I didn't see many people playing them.

Though gameplay is pretty simple it is made all the more exciting by the graphical tricks used in the game and though no Crysis 3 in the looks department the effects make it more exciting with dust getting thrown up, cover getting shot to pieces as you hide behind it and one hell of a lot of explosions, each level being built with destruction clearly in mind.

Though the majority of the game is payable with just the basic setup, you are offered around 30 weapons to unlock and purchase with a range of pistols, shotguns, SMG's and sniper rifles, all of which have plenty of unlockable extras, upgrades and a variety of custom skins with the customisation also spreading to your character with you changing masks, tactical gear and also tattoos. With so many guns you will be glad to hear there are plenty of baddies to shoot, from snipers, goons, trucks and the occasional heavy armoured brute, all pretty bad at finding cover but they do make some attempts to flank you, think like the early hostage rescue in Predator, with hundreds of men willing to run in front of incoming fire, flipping about wildly as they are peppered with bullets, that pretty much sums up how clever the AI is in Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel.

Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel is what the Expendables is to the 80's action genre, it has loads of over the top battles and gunfire but with characters that do not quite match up to their original counterparts. It is just pure and simple no messing action, just shoot, shoot, shoot and shoot some more with no real gimmicks or story getting the way. If you are looking for a game that offers plenty of chances to exercise your trigger finger than this is for you.

Words by Ash Buchanan.
(Version Tested: PS3)

Simple and explosive action.
Co-op play.


Stick with friends for online play.
Occasional glitch where the AI partner stops moving.

Edited On 02 Apr, 2013

( 10 )
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
Always wanted to get into the Army of Two games but with servers being down for the first (& I think the second) I don't see it happening
Anonymous user's avatar
BENJAMIN 4 years ago
The second one's servers are still up, was playing it in online coop yesterday with somebody :) Quite fun! Will eventually pick this one up too.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
The first two will be quite cheep now eh so I might pick them up. Anyone want to play the second one with me when I get it Xbox 360 or PS3
troublemaker's avatar
troublemaker 4 years ago
Sadly, I got rid of mine. Daft moral system aside, I enjoyed Ao2 a lot. A few reviews I've read say this game is stripped down to nothing. Got AO23 on rental, I can't bring myself to buy it
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
Well I have 5 rentals with Lovefilm left before my 3 for 1 sub runs out so I might use 3 for the Army of Two games (I'll use the other two for Jak&Daxter and Ratchet&Clack HD Trilogy's) Now to decide what consoles to get them for. Any suggestions
0000000000's avatar
0000000000 4 years ago
i wont be buying this LFC has given it a good count of itself but even from what he said i dont think its worth buying
inspector 74's avatar
inspector 74 4 years ago
The review here is pretty much on the money here, the problem with renting this as I see it is that in order to play it you will need to get yourself an online pass....that aside this gets overlooked by the completely incredible and quite possibly faultless bioshock infinate, devils cartell is an awesome fun and ludicrously over the top blowshitupathon I love it!!!!! I just love gears 4 and bioshock more
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
Really? there is a online pass for this game, well guess that means I won't be getting it since i'm only interested in playing it not owning it
LFC Bywater's avatar
LFC Bywater 4 years ago
Fully agree with this review, The names Alpha and Bravo suck, but the game if fun to play, especially with a friend. Enjoying my 3rd playthrough on the Insane difficulty but after that i can see myself selling this on eBay.
Anonymous user's avatar
Marty 4 years ago
The first game was alright, but the second one was terrible, I doubt I'll be spending any money on this one.

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