The addictive co-op play of the “Army of Two” series is again seen in the new game: “Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel.”
The third-person shooter, published by Electronic Arts, follows its predecessors closely with its run-and-gun gameplay as you take on a vicious drug cartel in a Mexican city. It’s full of guns, explosions and action — all that any hard-core gamer could ask for.
However, there also are many changes. Some are cool and will thrill the gamer; others are lackluster, which will leave the player wishing for more.
The first and most noticeable difference is that gamers no longer play as Rios and Salem. Instead, gamers experience combat through the eyes of new recruits. No real names are offered and they are referred to only by their code names, Alpha and Bravo.
In single-player mode, the gamer plays as Alpha and can control Bravo’s actions to a certain degree. The player is able to tell Bravo to throw grenades, bash through doors and even activate the new “Overkill” ability.
Even though Rios and Salem are not playable characters, it just would not be an “Army of Two” game without them. The two mercenaries have started their own company known as TWO, and the tutorial mission begins with new recruits Alpha and Bravo being assessed on their combat skills. The game then moves into the first mission, which is led by Rios and Salem.
Aside from the switch in playable characters, the biggest change is the addition of “Overkill” action. It replaces what was the “back-to-back” fighting sequences in the previous “Army of Two” games, and allows the player to run around in a rage, indestructible and unstoppable. The player has infinite ammo for the duration of the “Overkill” mode, allowing the character to traverse the battlefield and mow down any difficult enemies.
The customization in the game is similar to previous games but does include a few important changes. Players are now able to customize and create their own personal mask on the console instead of having to go to a designated website. There are 12 design layers that can be applied to a single mask, and the color and size of the decorations can be modified. Players are also able to select tattoos for Alpha and Bravo, along with different clothing and vest arrangements. This allows the player to sport duds such as an evil clown mask with spider tattoos on the arms and a T-shirt with a skeleton outline on it.
While the character customization surpasses the previous two games, the gun customizations leave something to be desired. In “Army of Two: 40th Day,” a player could customize a weapon almost any way they wanted; The player could craft a golden AK-47 with a soda can as the silencer. Unfortunately, that amount of creativity has been lost, forcing players to select from only four or five different customization choices per category. For example, instead of being able to select from eight stock options, the gamer can only choose from four.
Another departure from the second game is the lack of critical choices at certain points along the storyline. In most cases, this involved deciding whether a non-player character lived or died. This probably has to do with the fact that there is no solid storyline in the new game. It’s mostly just a series of massive gunfights with brutality and cut scenes added in. Without the presence of a storyline, the game has trouble forming a character/player bond like that formed between Rios and Salem.
In the end, “Army of Two” is only a slightly above-average shooter without some of the aspects that made the two previous games so cool.
Bottom line: A few disappointing elements pull down “Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel.” It is still a fun game, just not anything revolutionary or shocking.
Platforms: Xbox 360 (tested), PlayStation 3, PC