Monday, April 1, 2013

Two Heads Usually Better Than One. Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel Review

Friendly Wave Goodbye

*Reading up on the history of game and developer* Says here on Wikies that EA (or Visceral)  Montreal, is, shut down... Well, that's sounds like a great time to be had. I just don't want to think of why it happened. I feel that their lack of game sales may have contributed to this developer falling in shambles, but my ignorance finds bliss. Other than Army of Two, most of their games seem like ports are or just small spin-offs of big franchises. I digress, this is about Army of Two; a series that I've heard of, played a demo for, and only 1 friend I have plays it. It always appeared as a fun co-op game, but I never got real into it. After a bit of thought, I can say that these games have a realistic action movie (if at all possible) sense to them. For one, gameplay concept of "Aggro" or, basically, one person shooting or exposing themselves to the enemy will draw their attention towards the corresponding player, really possessed a form of realism that most games then (2008) did not have. Unfortunately, I never felt purchasing one as being necessary for my gaming experience. I wonder if this game will change that? It didn't help, that's for sure.

It's Not Halloween! Why the Masks?

I wanted a title to fit the visual and artistic presentation of the game, there...

The music in this game is worth just as much as music in a Gears game, it's just for background and nothing more and else. It's not terrible music, it's just decent enough to have no complaints and deduction to reserve. I feel that sound effects should be noted though. The metal parts flying everywhere and explosions going off really set a sort of realism in this action movie world. The guns sound like COD guns, but the sound effects are over all great, but okay with music. Now, for how the game appears.

The previous two Army of Two games used the more so typical Unreal 3 engine, which at the time(s) looked pretty decent, but not great. This time, Army of Two utilizes Dice's Frostbite 2 engine  Okay, wow what a switch. For that, it's quite a pleasing for this game to run. Physics look very natural and clean, with some well rendered worlds and models. When the game is first launched, the offers an HD texture pack install; playing with it off and then on, I have to say that does not look a.. whole... lot different. At least I mention that for fabric texturing quality, it burray! From a third person distance, it appears tolerable and that's all to say. The guns and masks look new and shinny. Speaking of Masks, would this be an adequate place to mention customized masks? You can make a customized mask! It may have doable before forgive me for lack of knowing. Sadly, it is not as good as Call of Duty emblem editor, but it's cool to make your own mask or attempt to make a Slipknot looking one. On to the characters behind the masks!

Paper Loses to Rock, yep...

Seeing as there are always just two main characters, making them likable is pretty much key to even a remotely decent game. At first, a really wondered why we didn't play as Rios and Salem, but that will come soon, get ready for the worst of that. For the characters you do play as, Alpha and Bravo; they start off pretty mindless, but soon their personalities come through. Unfortunately,  Rios and Salem seem a bit stale, but once in a rare while they will crack or just apart of a joke made by Alpha or Bravo. Theirs names are another interesting point, they never tell you them. I really don't understand why; is it trying to make it feel as though the gamer is one of them? Well, that just does not work in this day and age. The only way to do that is have custom facial features and being able to name the first name. Been done very well many times before, if you don't do it to the "n-th" degree, just don't even try. The characters are adequate, to mildly put.

Now for the story. There is no way for me tell my opinion about this without giving away the biggest spoiler, I will put the spoilers around quotes. You are not prepared: So, we start off in training with A&B (Alpha/Bravo) not so hard. Now it gets confusing and from I gathered you are going to rescue this person and there is this cartel that attack you and then see the main bad guy and then you fight in and out. Salem grabs a car and you drive until it flips over and Salem gets trapped under neath. Then Rios tries to get him out, but the cars explodes with him inside, a he dies...


"but he doesn't and no body knows. Years later we find a mayor wants to put and end to this drug cartel's reign. So then after a few levels you meet that same person you saved and she wants to destroy the cartel for kidnapping her, oh how convenient. You find out that a guy who also wears a mask works for the cartel. Later you find out it is Salem and he is disgruntled that you left him to die when he clearly was dead. Five reasons this makes no sense: 1. You don't survive with a few burns after a car explodes from the inside. 2. The cartel would kill him instantly. 3. If he did survive, he should have known what kind of jobs he did for years. 4. Apparently he does not care about his friend Rios whose has saved his life and all the other crap they've been through, like starting up TIIIO. 5. He's a bitch. Cry me a river. Right at the very end, Salem scratches the name of either Rios' girlfriend or sister on the wall of his prison cell, that is no April Fools"

I'm done, I'm SO DONE! It is that horrifically bad, I mean it's the most asinine storyline I've ever experienced in my life of playing video games. It makes no sense, has no point, and has a "The Departed' ending, but with a little more bullspit at the end. Other than the barely revealing characters, the storyline is a typical destroy the drug cartel, and that the thing with Salem kills the entire thing. Did M. Night Shyamalan write this piece of crap? It's, it's bad, not so bad, good, but so bad, bad. This game has the one of the worst storylines in modern game history, period. Oh yeah, it's ending is pretty much 10 times worse than Mass Effect 3, if you hated that ending. Overall, this is, *long sigh* moving on...

I Declare A Thumb War

The gameplay is actually very delightful. There. Is that enough? Of course not, the storyline only beats it half to death. The gameplay feel is very clean and smooth, with a very nicely made, fluid cover/movement system. When being ostracized, such as myself and are playing solo, the partner AI, is pretty smart to the apex that he can actually kill multiple enemies and 90% of the time actually revives the player in reliable time. That's if your aren't stupid and run out in the field to just get mowed down. In the final room of the game, the AI goes full-on mentally challenged by straying away from you and walking around aimlessly. The final boss is much easier if he is kinda of helpful, but that happens on and off. The games also has a good length to it with a total of 50 "level segments" that run a pretty decent amount of time, about 10-20 minutes to complete each one. It's also made for some great chaotic co-op fun. I did encounter 4 very similar bugs that just kept the level from progressing, but can be fixed by restarting the checkpoint. The game also has some really easy to challenging difficulty levels that take some tactical thought to finish. I'm not done yet, just a bit more.

Co-op Customization

In Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel, I didn't know you could customize weapons until an hour after playing, I should have looked a bit harder. You can! I really enjoyed this feature, it was cool to "Call of Duty" or "Ghost Recon" personalize your weapon for a third person co-op game. It really lets the two players stand out from one and other, which in turn, let's them fight over who's cooler than the other. Probably should have put the custom Mask creation thing here, oh well, it's up by the art style portion of this review. The game also features a leveling system, in which after two playthroughs, will get you the highest rank of level 25. Good news is there is no tacked on multiplayer and co-op is very enjoyable. You can also earn money that can be used to purchase a small abundance of Weapons (and attachments/camos), Outfits, and Masks. The money also progresses leveling up and acts as an arcade-like scoring system, which is pretty neat considering most games have points and an a game economy separately. That may seem like a lazy way to implement, but I find it fresh to see. The overall gameplay is fun and energizing, but really can't fully save this game. On the other hand, the gameplay alone may be enough to have a go at this game.

It Takes Two...

...too really enjoy this game, if you can get past the annoyingly terrible and bland storyline. The look of the Frostbite 2 engine is decent, even with the texture pack, feels natural. The music is what you'd expect and not so bad. The story... *uhck*, is not good to say without freaking out about it. The gameplay is intense and gripping. This game is an alright single player game and a prefect buddy game to play. Worth to me about 30 bucks, seriously, they might as well have no story. To continue, the gameplay is by far the best aspect of this game and is actually quite enjoyable. If you like shooters and don't care about storylines, and you have a buddy to play with or online "social skills", give it a rent and see this shi-I mean alright action game is a consideration for purchase. *cough* torrent *cough, cough* Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel, is the worst game I've reviewed so far and it did not have to be, it earns 3 eggs out of 6. This was not an April Fools joke.

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