This game can be pretty much be summed up in 5 words… Everything is better with a friend. This is especially true when you and your friend are blowing up buildings, bad guys and everything in between in the latest installment of Army of Two.
Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel really is a perfect example of what a two player game, can and should be. Yes it’s true that the game isn’t that deep or packed full of new features, but honestly I doubt you’ll really care or notice. You’ll be too busy jumping from one bloody firefight to the next, with barely a moment to take a breather. That’s to say the game won’t force you change tack every once and awhile, and The Devil’s Cartel occasionally does encourage you to sneak up on unwary foes. But honestly don’t be fooled or annoyed: the real focus of this game is blasting away anything that moves with some serious artillery.
Army of Two uses the Frostbite 2 engine and because of this, it succeeds in looking terrific in battle. Firefight’s are truly beautiful in their intensity, chaos and destruction.
In terms of narrative, the story takes place in the sunny climate of Mexico and takes you from city plazas to gorgeous resort hotels to ancient churches and graveyards. Basically, when the ruthless La Guadaña drug cartel kidnaps a prominent politician, it’s up to Alpha and Bravo (the latest protagonists, taking over from Salem and Rios – don’t worry they still feature in the story) run through an eight to nine-hour or so, campaign that ventures far off Mexico’s tourist track.
Alpha and Bravo build a rage meter as they destroy enemies and the environment around them, and they can unleash the ridiculous Overkill mode once it’s full. In this state, you’re granted invulnerability, infinite ammo, and you never have to reload. Also, every bullet you fire can separate limbs and heads from bodies. At the end of Overkill sessions, rooms are filled with piles of stumpy torsos.
EA’s latest two two-player co-op shooter manages to deliver some silly but great thrills most of which comes from the Overkill mode. In essence, your dynamic duo, Alpha and Bravo, build a (rage) meter as they disembodied enemies and the environment alike. Once the meter is full, Alpha and Bravo can unleash the ridiculous Overkill mode, which basically grants you the ability to slow down time, invulnerability, infinite ammo, and you never have to reload. Also, Overkill mode means every bullet you fire, chews through enemies with frightening results and separates limbs and heads from bodies.
In terms of controls and playability, the game is pretty sound, with plenty of options to kill that work well. There is no map, radar, or HUD; essentially nothing to distract you from the action, you simply follow indicators to figure out where to go.
Perhaps one of the only major flaws in the game is the AI, or lack thereof of the enemies. Take for example when you jump into courtyard blasting away the enemies, while some will seek cover, others will charge screaming while brandishing machetes. Okay this does help you pick a few of them off but if you get shot, they will often stand idly nearby while you’re being revived (almost ignoring you).
All in all, Army of Two: Devil’s Cartel does exactly what it says on the box, sending you on an impressive two-player co-op story that’s heavily customizable and very replayable. While some competitive online multiplayers won’t find much here in terms of standard shooting, the game is truly an original game set inside familiar, yet explosive trappings.