Also On: PS3
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Visceral Games
As I rise up from the ashes after the 7-9 hour campaign, I've come to two conclusions, Army of Two is about operatives Alpha and Bravo going down to Mexico to disrupt a drug cartel, and the second is that a ton of s&@t blows up. Considering the shallowness, yet over the top approach to this 3rd Army of Two title, that is all that can be really said about the story as to be honest…there really isn’t one. You play as of the two characters who are given the oh so original names of Alpha and Bravo. Unlike the previous two games, you really never get to know these characters and their banter with each other is just dumb and annoying. To make matters worse, the places you visit are just as uninteresting; even the level featuring the day of the dead is just simple and yawn inducing. Top it off with some ridiculously bad A.I. that have enemies coming at you like suicide bombers and you have an action game that doesn’t need much brain power to navigate through. What Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel does well is provide you with an adrenaline rush, in your face action, and a body count in the thousands, that leave an end result of a fun, yet brainless experience.
All of this is a real shame as it seemed as if the series was heading in the right direction after part two. Alas this game in the series will not only be the most forgettable, it may have its life support pulled and should be the last. Does this mean that AOT3 is unplayable? Hell no, it does nothing technically wrong and it is a very sound action game. Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel is like a mid-summer blockbuster action flick, as it gives you a good amount of bang for your buck, but as soon as it’s over, you soon forget all about it and are ready to move on to the next one.
Visually the game does get a boost thanks to the use of the new Frostbite 2 engine, and it really makes a difference especially in environments, blown up debris, and textures that really pop everywhere from the player models and masks, to the buildings and trees around you. This engine is of course wasted in the fact that where the action does take place, is kind of bland and lifeless. Whether you are visiting an abandoned bunker or a regal church, it all feels the same with plenty of duck and cover points as if each destination knew you were coming and prepared you for war.
Audio is loud, boisterous and quite annoying at times. The gunfire and explosions do the game justice providing that kick to the ear drums that action game fans salivate for. The game’s score is roaring and uplifting and really pumps you up for each firefight. Where the audio makes your ears bleed is the obnoxious rabble that your two “heroes” spout off to each other. Seriously, this game has more one liners than all of the Van Damme, Segal, and Schwarzenegger movies combined.
Where this Army of Two title has lost its way is the game play, that while it calls itself a co-op adventure, does everything in its power to deviate from being so. Sure your partner is there in spirit and will even be there to heal you in time of need, but honestly the necessity of your partner seems less evident as there are less vital portions of the game where co-op is key. To be honest, the game can easily be completed without the helping hand of your partner. Why oh why did they take the co out of co-op, as now we just have op, and damn it if there isn’t enough of just standardized ops out there already.
If that wasn’t bad enough, they have taken any feeling of urgency and planning against your swarms of foes looking to take you out. Seriously the A.I. in here is so dumb you’d think they were on special teams trying to get to the kickoff returner before he gets to the 20 yard line. I haven’t seen this much running towards you without fear since the Serious Sam series. If by chance you happened to be sneaking up on them from behind, they won’t know it unit you either fire a shot or kill them, because even in the thick of darkness you can be behind them with a flash light burning at the back of their head, and they will not know you are there. Lastly let’s not forget the way they have invented how NOT to create a cover control scheme. With all the games that have came before this that have gotten the cover system down pat, including Army of Two parts one and two, AOT3 has found a way to muck up and take a simple task and make it complicated and not work half the time. Considering this is a core mechanic of the game, why wouldn’t you at least tweak this to the max before launching? The rest of the game is rather playable and can be fun, if not mind numbingly dumb, and will provide enough interest to keep you going to at least finish through one play through, but sadly nothing more.
In the end, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel has nothing to do with the previous two entries, does little to invite gamers back, and does even less to really excite anyone for a future title. This is honestly about as mediocre as a game can get, and while it is far from unplayable, it does have some serious blemishes and hiccups that not only will disappoint fans of the series, but will inevitably be forgotten before the game of the year awards are voted on. Maybe one day you can see it in the bargain bin and play as a time waster, but the painful notion that for a co-op game there is very little team work needed is just the stake in the heart of this blood sucker, so just do the series a favor and let it die a slow and painful death.