Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel Preview
The first Army of Two presented us with a solid concept that unfortunately lacked quality execution and polish. The second was a big step in the right direction, as the production values were much higher, the story was more involving, and the action featured greater thrills and better pacing. Therefore, we’re expecting yet another step forward with Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, which is supposed to be more realistic and gritty, rather than somewhat silly like the first couple of titles.
In fact, the latest entry is essentially a reboot due to the significant shift in tone and style. This one won’t be entirely about a couple dudes tearing sh** up and issuing a bunch of lame albeit somewhat comical one-liners. Developer Visceral Games is working to deliver a more seamless experience with more in-your-face moments than ever before. The control and cooperative elements ought to be smoother and more accessible and from what we’re hearing, the plot could boast a few unexpected twists and turns. That being said, you can bet that the focus will be on the explosive gameplay, which should be ultra-stimulating.
It will be essential to work together but everything, from covering your buddy to helping him maneuver through a tricky area, should be handled easily and with little to no frustration. The interesting part is that this time around, each partner may have separate objectives in any given mission, lending a more individualistic feel to each role. On top of which, because satisfying those objectives may mean leaving your partner, it will open up the adventure and give it more of an authentic co-op vibe. You know, rather than just having two guys constantly sticking together, shooting at anything that moves. Splitting up and taking two different paths should add variety.
Another new crowd-pleasing feature is the Overkill mechanic. This encourages cooperative behavior, too, because any action you take with your ally helps to fill your Overkill meter. Once it’s maxed, you enter a slo-mo bullet-time-like mode, where every bullet you fire causes considerably more damage than normal. This should be awfully effective when facing hordes of oncoming foes, so make sure you and your partner work together on a frequent basis. If you both manage to have the Overkill meter fully charged at the same time, you’ll be able to execute a Double Overkill, which grants you more slo-mo time and even more damage potential. …wow.
The developers have been saying to expect a heavier, more emotional narrative, but I have the feeling that we’ll all be playing this for one reason, and that reason has nothing to do with plot or characters. Still, a truly engaging storyline would really help to bring this series to another level, and the campaign is just begging for a well-written script. Then you can factor in what may be a more realistic – and definitely bloodier – presentation and you’d have a super compelling title. Besides, if you’re a huge fan of co-op, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel should be on your most anticipated list for 2013. Look for it on store shelves in late March.
12/4/2012 Ben Dutka