Parent Talk: Rated M for mature, this third-person shooter features bloody depictions of murder, and deals with mature subject matter. Player discretion is strongly advised.
Plays Like: I hate to say it, but The Devil’s Cartel truly plays like any other generic third-person shooter these days. You run from cover to cover taking out everything in your path. That’s about as deep as it gets.
Review Basis: Finished the game with a friend.
Army of Two has always been a fun and engaging co-op experience. If you have a close friend that likes third-person shooters, you could count on this series to offer quite a few hours of fun. While never reaching its true potential, the series brought forward some interesting ideas, and was almost always worth your time and effort. That doesn’t hold for The Devil’s Cartel. Everything that made the series special has been striped down or removed completely. This one feels completely generic, much like the two new protagonists Alpha and Beta. I mean, really?
Every time you score a killing blow you slowly build up your Overkill meter. Once one, or both players have filled the meter they can activate a devastating attack that pretty much destroys everything and everyone in the area. It’s one of the best-looking, and most fulfilling moments in the entire game.
+ New cover system works surprisingly well. It’s easy to run from one cover to the next. Of particular interest is the new slide to cover ability, which doesn’t do very much but makes you feel like a bad ass.
+/- The story has some surprising elements to it towards the end of the game, but for the few hours leading up to that moment, don’t expect anything epic. The bullets, explosions and murder do most of the talking.
+/- A.I. isn’t as smart as it should be. In some of the more open environments enemies will funnel themselves through narrow passageways making them easy targets. Even on the hardest difficulty setting two real-life players should be able to breeze through the game.
– Dated graphics. While it’s cool being able to blow up portions of the environments, the enemies animate poorly, and are made up of low polygon counts by today’s standards. Everything looks stiff, and there are countless bugs. During one section of the game I was able to get stuck in various objects by simply leaving cover.
– Generic level design and uninspired color palette. Expect to see lots and lots of brown. The environments as a whole look generic, and don’t make use of the co-op nature of the game. More often than not you won’t have to bother waiting for your partner or use any strategy whatsoever.
– No drop-in / drop-out support for online or local multiplayer. In this day and age, for a game such as this, that’s just unacceptable.
Players no longer have to work together in order to make progression. The back-to-back mechanic has been removed, moral choices are gone, and the weapon aggro system is no longer important. Bottom line, some of the best parts of the previous games are M.I.A.
Army of Two had a lot of potential as a series, but The Devil’s Cartel simply isn’t moving the series in the right direction. I hate to say it but I think the writing’s on the wall for the series. I’d skip this one unless you’re in dire need of a co-op action game. Instead I’d recommend checking out the other entries in the series, or simply waiting for something else to drop.
Final Score: 5/10