GAME NAME: Army Of Two: The Devil’s Cartel
DEVELOPER(S): Visceral Montreal
PLATFORM(S): Xbox 360
GENRE(S): Action, Shooter
RELEASE DATE(S): March 29th
The one thing we are definitely seeing less of these days is split screen co-op games. Some games will throw it in but it never really amounts to anything more than a split screen horde mode, and usually feels tacked on. So a game like Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel where the entire game was built for split screen co-op is a rare release indeed. Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel is the third game in the series and sees series heroes Salem and Rios take a back seat to let two new masked faces take the helm.
Alpha and Bravo are the new leads and they have just joined the appropriately named T.W.O, an organisation that acts as a kind of peacekeeping force that plays by no rules but their own (a bit of an odd idea but okay). T.W.O’s latest endeavour is protecting a man called Cordova, a politician who wants nothing more than to bring down a violent drug cartel in Mexico called La Guadana. This paints a massive bullseye on Cordova’s head and it is not long before his armored convoy is ambushed in the streets of Mexico, forcing Alpha and Bravo to break out the grenades and F-bombs.
The story will see you hunting down the head of the cartel, a man called El Diablo (of course he is). You wont need any more motivation than that to constantly pull the trigger as you progress through the story and blow away thousands of El Diablo’s men. I wasn’t exaggerating about the thousands part either as you will face wave after wave of generic-looking Mexicans with bandanas over their faces as you slide into and leap over cover. This might sound like it gets old fast but strangely it doesn’t and that’s thanks to a few new features developers Visceral Montreal have thrown in.
Firstly the game now runs on the Frostbite 2 engine, the same engine powering the Juggernaut shooter Battlefield 3. The engine allows for a lot of destruction to buildings and the action never misses a beat no matter how many explosions and limbless bad guys are flying around the screen. The next new addition is enhanced customization which now includes the ability to create your own mask designs from scratch. All the money made during the story can be spent on buying new weapons and outfits as well as a massive selection of pre-designed masks to choose from if your creative juices are not flowing as freely as the enemy plasma is bound to.
All the new visual bells and whistles and detailed customization wouldn’t be worth a dime if the game was a snooze-fest. Luckily the new direction the developers have taken, which is to drop the online multiplayer and focus and nothing but all out co-op action, ensures there is never a dull moment. The Overkill feature returns which, when activated, turns your players into walking death machines dealing out explosive ammo that last for short but chaotic periods.
Players can team up for co-op melee kills and the level design allows for a lot of flanks to be set up while either you or your buddy provide suppression fire. If your friend’s schedules are a bit too busy to let them join you in some co-op action the AI teammates do a decent enough job. Squad commands can be used to tell teammates to flank enemies and mount machine guns (okay, that sounds a little dirty), but the fun factor is nowhere near the same level as screaming orders to a buddy who is right next to you. There are also slow motion breaches to perform and a few on-rails segments to fight off repetition between the waves of brainless enemies who will basically run at you with a death wish.
Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel succeeds at what its trying to do, which is to be a fun mindless split screen bullet romp that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It might lack polish here and there and have a very generic throwaway story but the fun factor is definitely there. Not many games can offer you the same split-screen chaos that this game can and for that reason it deserves a look in. Just know what you are getting yourself into and don’t expect a riveting single-player experience that will engross you with its story and characters. All you’re really able to do is ask a buddy to come over and blow some stuff up.