Army of Two - The Devil's Cartel
After two titles defining the identity of the series, with the development of the personality of the heroes and the connection between to two, The Devil's Cartel gives a 180 degree turn, and transforms the series into a generic shooter, starting with the name of the characters, Alpha and Bravo. Unfortunately the story received the same treatment, there is a drug cartel to withdraw from the streets, and hundreds of Cartel employees who love to wear the same sweater.
Although it strives to keep some aspects of the original duo, when those rare situations occur that require the cooperation of both characters to progress in the game, the war tactics used in previous games are now less relevant because the ammunitions are virtually endless, enemies come in large numbers, and the artificial intelligence gives bad name to the term. To facilitate things further, the explosive red barrels and cars swarm most segments of the game. It also has now been added a gauge Overkill, which is filled when we mutilate the bodies of enemies, making the character momentarily invincible and giving it more destructive power, while removing the need for reloading. Basically it serves to destroy large areas and chop limbs in slow motion.
The Devil's Cartel is a real shooting party, frequently complemented with explosions that destroy many of the elements of the scene, quickly teaching the player that any protection is temporary and that changing locations frequently is the best strategy. It was in the cover system that the developers spent more time working, making the process of transition from protection to protection faster and more intuitive, but at the same time more mechanized. In practice, it produces very good results, although there locations that appear to serve as coverage that, but in fact they do not serve that purpose. The use of only one button to make all sorts of changes of direction in coverage eventually constrain the movement, such as overlapping obstacles ahead, which requires you to press the button for some time, making this a slow process that contrasts with the speed of all the other actions.
The gameplay mechanics have also been streamlined. The missions are presented in segments, some quite short, and at the end of each we will be able to access the arms market to buy weapons with more firepower with the money we earned to killing those Cartel clones. We can carry 3 weapons at a time using any kind of combination we want in the primary and secondary weapons, among the various branches available, Assault, LMG, Shotgun, SMG, and Sniper. The progress of the missions will also condition the type of weapons available for purchase, balacing, to some extent, the degree of difficulty, although the exaggerated amount of ammunitions will always give us an advantage when the time comes to mow down numerous Cartel members that sometimes don’t notice our existence, even when we are side by side with them.
Some sections of levels will give the player the option to choose two different paths, which means that we will have to give coverage to our comrade in arms, or be the one to draw enemy fire and fulfill goals. These moments provide some diversity, placing us at the controls of railguns in helicopters, or in the back of a vehicle providing coverage for the driver in full pursuit, depending on the path we choose.
Visually, the textures are sometimes slow to load, there are situations in which will be presented with low-resolution textures, and the animations are repeated over and over again. That aside, the overall visual aspect is solid, and the detail and extent of the destruction of the scenarios is quite impressive, not only from a visual perspective, but also in the way it affects gameplay. The game sometimes tries to address the action in a more dynamic and cinematic way with the help of an adequate soundtrack, but the poor quality of the script and the high dose of action ultimately cancel this approach.
The Devil's Cartel is an intense action game in which the sum of the parts decreases the quality of the whole, even with some entertaining gameplay and interesting visual elements. The game moved away from the series roots and got mixed with an almost endless amount of generic shooters with no identity that proliferate in today's market. While its not a bad game it doesn’t deliver enough distinctive elements to make it a must buy game.