Game Guys preview - Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel

11:51 AM, Dec 12, 2012   |    comments
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'Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel' from Electronic Arts.

It's soon to be the third time around for Electronic Arts' Viceral Games developed Army of Two video game series.  Coming March 26, 2013, to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel takes players to the drug wars within Mexico and brings not two, but four new T.W.O. operatives into the mix.

Those who are already familiar with the first two games in the series, Army of Two and Army of Two: The 40th Day, should feel right at home with the upcoming game.  Not only is Visceral Games looking to provide action and the "frat boy" humor similar to that of the first two games, but game producer Greg Rizzer says there's even more to it.

"We still want to deliver on the buddy'action thing, you know -- think like 'Die Hard', think like 'Lethal Weapon' things like that," Rizzo told News10 Game Guy Barry White. "So, we kind of looked at this as an opportunity to bring two new characters in and kind of introduce this new tone.  And, like I said, don't worry -- there's still gonna be plenty of comedy and everything like that, but again it's all part of kinda like the rebooting of the franchise."

The two new main characters, Alpha and Bravo, don mask akin to those of the protagonists of the previous two games.  Two other new characters are also being added with The Devil's Cartel in Chuy and Baker (better known in real life as rappers B.O.B. and Big Boi).

"It's really cool," exclaimed Rizzer.  "They're actually fans of the game and they wanted to do something like this, so we've got them.  They're part of the plot, they've got story in there, they're actually really good voice actors and have done some really cool stuff."

After getting a chance for some hands-on play on one of The Devil's Cartel's levels, something became quite apparent:  there's still some work left to do before this game hits stores next March.

The cover-based action, for example, seems like it's delivered at a faster pace than previously, but it doesn't flow to well as of yet.  In a word, it's clunky.  Part of this is due to the obviously unfinished enemy AI, which has baddies sometimes running directly into the line of fire.

Something else that seems to be hindering its gameplay experience is its co-op -- which isn't a good thing for a game that's set up perfectly for a good co-op experience.  When Alpha and Bravo are in the same general area, there are few complaints to be made.  When they get split up and are forced to take separate paths, however, things get a bit frustrating unless both players play at roughly the same speed.  Should one happen to take more time to progress through an area than his teammate, the faster teammate has little more to do than wait.

The use of the Frostbite 2 engine (the previous two games used Unreal) looks to be providing a better visual experience than in the past, but unless the gameplay itself can provide a more polished experience with more flow, that'll be little more than a cherry on top of a melted milkshake.

As it stands, Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel doesn't look like it's going to be a bad game -- just not as good as it could be.  Should its developers put their noses to the grindstone between now and launch, many (if not most) of the issues had with this early gameplay experience can be remedied.

Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel has not yet been rated by the ESRB.


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