For the third go-around in this third-person co-op shooter series, players control a pair of new T.W.O. (Trans World Operations) operatives – Alpha and Bravo. Both mercenaries head into Mexico to handle security detail for a major politician (who just happens to be the mayor of La Puerta) named Juan Angelo Cordova.
Juan is being mercilessly hunted down and threatened by a vicious drug cartel (“La Guadana”/”The Scythe”) and their cruel front-man Esteban Bautista. Esteban only has two options he wants to see carried out – corrupt the mayor or take him out of the political picture completely before his campaign begins. Alpha and Bravo, along with other members of the T.W.O. group, contend with drug cartel members while they try to rescue innocents and lend much-needed assistance to one another.
The story isn’t exactly thrilling, since it provides the usual B-movie action fare plot you’re used to watching. Alpha and Bravo take the place of the more charismatic characters who played the lead roles in the last two games (Salem and Rios), which kind of takes away from the silliness and lightheartedness of this sequel. There are still humorous moments to be had during the main campaign, but they’re not as prevalent or funnier than the previous entries’ moments.
Alpha and Bravo are two badass guns for hire that shoot first and ask questions later. This game doesn’t stray far from your usual third-person shooter fare, but the gunplay is solid (if unmemorable). There are plenty of drug cartel baddies to blast apart, plus you get extra points for the cool ways you choose to dispatch them. This makes things a bit more interesting, as you and another player can flank dudes, perform close-up melee kills, or pull off amazing headshot kills.
These special kills gradually build up an “Overkill” mode that turns you into an unstoppable force with timed invulnerability and infinite ammo. Once the yellow shade of unbridled bro power disappears, plenty of severed limbs and pools of Kool-Aid will be left in your wake. The satisfaction factor that stems from nabbing extra points for creative kills is worth experiencing.
Most of the missions during the main campaign are short and sweet, which lends themselves quite well to some short bursts of action for quick co-op play sessions. There are instances where the action tends to change things up (helicopter gunning sections, for example), but they’re nothing new when compared to other shooters that do the same thing. As for the graphics, they get the job done but nothing about them will amaze or surprise you.
The environments all use some shade of black, brown, gray etc., but the missions that take place in sunnier sections are a bit more appealing to wreak havoc in. TWO Vision attaches a cool blue graphical outline to all enemies and potential routes to safety when activated, which is a cool mechanic that looks nice visually. You won’t use this option much though, since you’ll be too busy running straight into firefights with you AK-47 in tow.
One of the best parts of the game are the customization options. Gamer’s can purchase a large array of weapons, signature masks, tactical gear, and tattoos. There’s even an option to craft custom masks (my Deadpool, red & black body armor wearing-avatar is unmatched!). The money you’re rewarded after completing a mission is tied directly to the customization, so it pays to pull off a variety of kills and maneuvers. The leaderboards and couch/online co-op options increase the replaybility for the game after it’s main campaign is done. You won’t care too much about what’s going on and what’s being said during the cutscenes since you’ll be too concerned with getting the most dough and kills for the next mission.
One of my major gripes with the game lies with it’s uncooperative cover system. When the cover button is hit near a protective object, your soldier will tend to lay his back up against it. From here, you’ll be able to make a beeline for other areas. But this is where things become a bit problematic. Sometimes your solider won’t head to the next piece of cover when you’ve obviously selected that option. Or your line of sight will get obscured by your cover from time to time. You may even spot some apparent (yet amusing) glitches that shows the game’s unpolished nature. Dismembered arms/legs will float in the air, completed sections of the game won’t let you proceed to the next area, and occasional clipping issues rear their ugly head.
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Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel is plagued by cover system problems, wonky glitches, and an all too familiar story. But there’s still a good amount of fun that gamer’s will draw from the short and snappy campaign, solid shooting, customization options, and fun co-op gameplay.
Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel hits consoles on March 26 and is available for the Xbox 360 and PS3.
There’s guns galore, bro-tastic jokes, and tons of cannon fodder to lay waste to in this Visceral Montreal developed third-person shooter. But a lack of polish and screwy cover mechanics take the fun factor down a notch.