The latest addition to the Army of Two series received a warm welcome from me, a long time fan of the games, and despite previous pessimistic thoughts initially, it’s extremely refreshing to be back in the ultra-violent world in which The Devil’s Cartel takes place.
For those who’ve never experienced the Army of Two games before, you play as one mercenary who forms one half of a duo. In the previous games this was Rios and Salem, but in The Devils Cartel we have been graced with a pair of new faces, Alpha and Bravo. They are relatively new to the whole PMC (Private Military Contractors) world who require on mission training from the legends of Rios and Salem, who just so happen to be the founders of T.W.O (Tans World Operations), Alpha and Bravos employers. But after a series of events, Alpha and Bravo take up the field work previously handled by Rios and Salem, throwing them right into the thick of the action.
The Devil’s Cartel is set in the streets of Mexico, as you and other operatives at T.W.O work to cooperate with a mayor who aims at cleaning up the streets of the influence of the powerful cartels, who plague the city with drug dealing, gun running and general crime.
The game play is like you’d expect in an Army of Two game, fun. It’s not completely flawless, with bugs around pretty much every corner, but ultimately you don’t buy and play a game like The Devils Cartel to fuss about those sorts of things. You buy it to have fun. The whole aim of this game is not to demonstrate military precision, to illustrate the life of a PMC or to content with the giants like Battlefield or Call of Duty. The only thing the game tries to do is give you a fulfilling, bloody and action packed experience which you can either do alone, with a friend on split screen or online with a stranger. The Devil’s Cartel succeeds in that aim. The one thing this game has got going for it is the fact that it’s fun. You can sit and point out the bugs, but as soon as the bullets start flying, you will find yourself engulfed in a fire fight that is so over the top it will make you laugh like a maniac.
The game has a fantastic customisation system, not just for the arsenal of weapons that are available, but also the actual operative you choose to play as. You can change sights, magazines, barrels, camouflage, masks and even the tattoos. The whole point of Alpha and Bravo is to give you the imagination that you are them in the field, so Danger Close (the developers) offer almost every option possible to give you as much freedom when creating your character.
The main feature that’s key throughout the entirety of The Devil’s Cartel is the Overkill ability. This allows players to activate a state of invulnerability, slow motion and damage increase, all at the same time. Alpha and Bravo become tanks, dishing out serious damage with an unlimited amount of bullets, all with the security of taking no damage at all. Although not realistic, it gives more satisfaction than any tactical nuke, M.O.A.B could ever provide. This is a shear superpower of pure madness, and when the shooting stops, and all you can see is headless corpses underneath rubble that used to be their cover, you will feel like a god.
The Devil’s Cartel utilised the Frostbite 2 engine, possibly my favourite engine of all time, and it really has managed to thrust the 3rd installation of the Army of Two series upwards. Not only are the graphics beautiful, but the ability to destroy and pretty much reshape landscapes fits perfectly in a game like The Devil’s Cartel. A game built around mayhem and destruction really does benefit from an engine that encourages that. Thanks to Frostbite 2, you can really use the environment to your advantage, because since everything is destructible, pretty much everything hurts when it lands on someone. There’s no limit to the amount of fun you can have from blowing out a floor with a grenade and watching enemies fall through the debris in a heap of confusion and terror. That is the sort of thing this game thrives on.
Army of Two- The Devil’s Cartel is a game that’s like marmite; you have to learn to love the game. They need to be taken with a pinch of salt if you’re really going to enjoy them, because they’re not serious, and they know it. There are frequent bugs that may cause little issues, but these are ultimately put on the back bench when you really get into the thick of the fight, because the action makes up for all the negatives. If you don’t mind the odd bug, like me, and can prevent these issues from really clouding your judgement, then I’d fully recommend you give this game a go. Either alone or with a friend, you’re bound to have fun.
Fancy a try at The Devil’s Cartel? Pick up the game now for Xbox 360 and PS3. For more details, visit the official website here!