Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel
|Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel|
|Series||Army of Two|
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360|
Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel is a third-person shooter video game developed by the Montreal branch of Visceral Games and released on March 26, 2013 by Electronic Arts for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It is the third game in the Army of Two series, following 2008's Army of Two and 2010's Army of Two: The 40th Day. The game takes place in Mexico and pits T.W.O. against a drug cartel known as La Guadaña (Spanish for "the Scythe"). It is the first game in the series to run on the Frostbite 2 game engine, whereas the previous two ran on Unreal Engine 3. The demo for the game was released on March 13, 2013. It was the second to last game developed by Visceral Montreal.
The game received mediocre reviews; criticism was drawn towards the game's removal of the co-op interactions, being only able to play as Alpha, and the game's story. The Devil's Cartel was also a commercial failure for Electronic Arts.
Whereas the last two games focused around characters, Salem and Rios, Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel focuses around two new T.W.O. operatives named Alpha and Bravo. It is speculated[by whom?] that the reasoning behind the unidentified names is to give the player the feeling that it is them fighting through the missions.
Returning from the first game is the Overkill mode, which makes both players invincible for a short period of time. However, features such as back to back, playing rock, paper and scissors with your partner, and other co-op interactions have been removed in favor of more fast-paced gameplay. Competitive multiplayer from the second game does not return to focus on a richer co-op experience.
It has been noted that the game features more customization options compared to the previous games in the series. The Devil's Cartel features a mask creator which allows players to completely customize their masks, thus giving their TWO operative its own persona. Customers can pre-order the Overkill Edition which comes with bonus weapons, masks, outfits, and missions that are not available with the standard version of the game.
Shortly after being recruited into T.W.O. (Tactical Worldwide Operations), Alpha and Bravo join T.W.O. and complete a training session. T.W.O. founders Tyson Rios and Elliot Salem give them their masks and bring the two new recruits on a rescue operation to save multiple hostages in a cartel compound. During the operation, Estaban Bautista and his henchman leave as Rios, Salem, Alpha, and Bravo raid the compound. Only one hostage is found alive, a girl named Fiona. Salem attempts to persuade the group to leave, not wanting to risk their lives to save Fiona who is not part of their mission objective. Rios insists that she's innocent and that he won't leave her behind, Alpha and Bravo agree, Salem then decides to go alone and leave. During Salem's escape, a thug destroys Salem's vehicle, leaving Rios, Alpha, and Bravo attempting to rescue him, but Rios injures his right leg in the process. Alpha and Bravo save the girl from cartel forces and evacuate with Rios, lamenting the loss of Salem.
Five years later, T.W.O. is hired by Mayor Cordova, a Mexican politician seeking to bring down La Guadaña and kill its leader, Bautista. The T.W.O. operatives believe nothing will go wrong until the convoy's movement is interrupted by La Guadaña's forces. Alpha and Bravo survive constant waves as Cordova escapes. Alpha and Bravo push their way to the Cartel's forces to City Hall for extraction. T.W.O. operative Mason drives them out of the city but is killed when the Cartel ambushes them on the road at a gas station. Alpha and Bravo meet Mason's contact, Fiona who aids the team in bringing down La Guadaña and killing Bautista. Fiona gives Alpha and Bravo intelligence that Cordova fled to a local church that is serving as a La Guadaña compound.
Alpha and Bravo fight through a hotel resort to encounter El Diablo, La Guadaña's top Lieutenant, learning that El Diablo killed a large number of T.W.O. operatives and captured Cordova. El Diablo sets charges off in the hotel resort, blowing it in half to make his escape leaving Alpha, Bravo & Fiona trapped inside. Alpha, Bravo, and Fiona survive El Diablo's counterattack, and the trio goes to the Church, listening in on Bautista's interrogation with Cordova. El Diablo alerts them as the duo fight their way to Fiona. Surviving a train disaster, Alpha, Bravo, and Fiona temporarily rescue Cordova while surviving T.W.O. operatives die protecting the mayor. Alpha, Bravo, and Cordova navigate through a Mexican ghetto & are captured after trying to rescue T.W.O. operative Bradley, but to no avail.
Alpha, Bravo, and Cordova are tortured by the cartel in a room. El Diablo reveals his true identity as Salem, who survived the explosion and was forced to face the Cartel by himself. Surviving, he joined forces with Bautista and feels betrayed by Rios and the duo for not "checking" to see if he was alive. Salem kills Cordova for calling him a "monster" and leaves. Alpha and Bravo escape and regroup with T.W.O. operatives Anthony "Baker" Barnes and Charles "Chuy" Rendall, requesting for extraction. Rios is among to hear of Salem's betrayal and orders him to be kept alive and brought to him.
Fiona tells the team that Salem and Bautista are hiding at a hacienda. Alpha, Bravo, Baker, and Chuy lead a T.W.O. strike force with assistance from Mexican Special Forces to raid the hacienda. During the raid, Bautista kills Chuy and Baker. Fiona pursues him but is captured and relocated to a quarry. Alpha and Bravo are extracted by Rios via helicopter to rescue Fiona.
The trio crash as Alpha and Bravo save Rios, who tells them to get Fiona as he will catch up. Alpha and Bravo successfully regroup with Fiona, who kills Bautista for taking her. However, Salem reveals that killing him was part of his plan and holds Fiona at gunpoint. Salem tells of the times he risked his life for Rios (especially to "save Hong Kong" and took a bullet for Rios, implied of the previous installment), and kills Fiona. Rios charges at Salem, Salem shoots Rios in the abdomen and flips him off of a two-story balcony before escaping.
Alpha and Bravo regroup with Rios, who orders them to kill Salem, changing his mind on saving him. Alpha and Bravo corner Salem, who attacks them with an armored vehicle. Destroying the vehicle, Bravo is given the command to kill Salem, but instead, allow the Mexican Special Forces to take him into custody. Rios, Alpha, and Bravo think ahead of what to do next. They promise to oversee Fiona's burial, carry out an extended vacation, and then sign on for the next mission. Meanwhile, Salem etches the name Alice on his prison cell wall. In the post-credits epilogue, Salem is seen smiling when an armored guard and an unidentified visitor approach him.
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EA announced that purchasers who pre-order the game could play with characters based upon B.o.B and Big Boi. The hip hop artists have collaborated on the game's theme song "Double or Nothing", produced by SoFLY and Nius and Oddfellow, and appear in game as T.W.O. operatives Charles 'Chuy' Rendall (Big Boi) and Anthony 'Baker' Barnes (B.o.B), sent to take down the cartels in Mexico.
Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version 56.25% and 58/100 and the Xbox 360 version 54.24% and 54/100.
The game was heavily criticized for the removal of the co-op interactions, only being able to play as the Alpha character, and the game's story.
Daniel Krupa of IGN gave the game a 5 out of 10, criticizing the enemy AI as moronic, insipid environments, cover mechanics being frustrating, the gameplay being monotonous, but praised the ally AI for being reliable. In the Verdict, Krupa said: "Devil's Cartel feels like a hollowed-out version of the previous Army of Two games. The distinctive edges have been sanded down, creating something that's not just generic but unrelated to what went before. The humor has been drained and long-time fans might feel aggrieved by the decision to sideline Salem and Rios in favor of these lame characters. If you absolutely must experience the mediocrity first hand, Army of Two: Devil's Cartel is still probably best played with a friend... but friends don't let friends play tedious mediocre games."
Richard Grisham of GamesRadar found The Devil's Cartel to be fun and awarded it four in a half stars. Grisham stated at the end of his review; "Army of Two: Devil's Cartel seems to accomplish exactly what it set out to do, offering an intense, impressive two-player co-op experience that's heavily customizable and replayable. While it won't likely scratch the itch of those looking for a more traditional shooter game--namely, competitive online multiplayer--it's an original concept set inside familiar trappings."
On more negative side, Kevin VanOrd gave the game 5 out of 10, criticizing all of the series' best aspects being removed or toned down, the gunplay being forgettable, forgettable story and characters, the cooperation between players being very little, and problems with the AI but praised the some fun set pieces, the more open levels give you room to maneuver, and cover system encourages fluid movement. VanOrd said in the verdict; "Previous Army of Two games stood apart in their own ways, not always excelling, but still willing to hew their own paths. Engaging the opposition in a Shanghai zoo, escaping across a collapsed skyscraper, saving civilians from menacing threats--these are small but meaningful moments that might be etched on your psyche from the series' past. There's nothing here to make a mark: no creativity on display, no clever competitive modes, no sense of accomplishment. There's only a seven-hour campaign, optional missions in which you try to keep the overkill meter consistently replenished, and the knowledge that in a month, you won't remember having played Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel".
Dan Whitehead of Eurogamer.net scored the game with a 5 out of 10. Whitehead said at the end of his review of the game; "The Devil's Cartel is functional and fuss-free, a game that delivers the expected genre tropes with as little imagination and as much bluster as possible. It's not a bad game, but nor does it have anything beyond basic mechanical competence to mark it out as "good" - and even that competence wobbles more than it should. In a few years' time, I'll probably look back over my Xbox Live profile and be surprised to see that not only did they make a third Army of Two game, but that I apparently played and completed it."
Responding to the negative response, Visceral Games executive producer Julian Beak said that "The Devil's Cartel suffered "low morale".
Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel was released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in North America on March 26, 2013. The game later launched in Japan and Europe on March 28, and 29, respectively. The Devil's Cartel was not successful as EA's previous month releases, due to the game being released the same month as Tomb Raider and BioShock Infinite. The game sold over 260,000 copies worldwide.
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- Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel review - Ready, steady, bro. Archived 2017-10-22 at the Wayback Machine By Dan Whitehead Published 28/03/2013
- ‘Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel’ Producer: Game Suffered From Low Morale Archived 2017-01-03 at the Wayback Machine By Patrick Dane. 2013
- March 2013 NPD: Industry slumps another 10 percent as BioShock Infinite tops the charts Archived 2017-07-27 at the Wayback Machine JEFF GRUBB APRIL 18, 2013 3:30 PM