Thursday, 16 May 2013

Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel

Imagine a world.  A world wherein nothing happens.  I don’t mean the feeling you get when you visit an old relative and spend much of your time together discussing what biscuits you’d prefer with your tea.  I mean more like if the relative left, and as she was leaving put you in charge of watching mould form on the butter.

Now imagine a world where everything is exciting. GUNS! GRENADES! WITTY ONE-LINERS! CAR CHASES! better right?

Well somehow the ironically named Visceral Games and EA have managed to make a world combining the major points of both in their new release Army of Two : The Devil’s Cartel.  It is a shooting game and though normally this would be nothing more than a genre description, in this case it is also a detailed plot synopsis.

Just in case you misunderstood me, this is a boring, tedious game that is less memorable than that thing you’ve forgotten to do again today.

The very first level has you controlling two men, both of whom have no interesting or pleasant qualities, which on the plus side lets you roll around on your floor rubbing yourself with a near sensual joy every time one of them gets shot in the face.  These two men are trained mercenaries and they are frat boys who hate people like you.  They spend the whole training level complaining that they know how to do everything you’re being trained in, apparently in the directors cut the first level is replaced by them showing you their bare bottoms, calling you names and going into crude detail about that time they went on a date to the cinema with your mum.  Basically they are awful.

The AI of your partner is acceptable, and it’s lucky he’s there otherwise you would have to climb that one wall, open that door or fail to distract enemies all by yourself. This is unfair of me of course, as the game is designed to be played co-op.  Nothing wrong with the co-op, it’s perfect....

Except for all of it. Including the irritating moments when you invite someone to join you and they ignore you, so you go on and decide to try one more time at that really hard bit, that you can’t even remember because all memories of the game have been replaced by an image of a grey tablecloth with an autobiography of someone you’ve never heard of sitting on it.  You finally get past that bit, and your slightly late-to-the-party friend decides to join in, you then get immediately dragged back right through the success back to the world of failure at the START of the level and have to do it all over again.

Is there anything positive I can say?  Well it is very lovely looking, the overkill mode is fun
the first few times it happens, and is quite suited to the Time Crisis-esque, hallway shooting vibe it has going on, but everything about the previous games seems, almost intentionally removed just to annoy me. Army of Poo more like. Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk.

All in all it feels like when the head developer in Visceral was asked to make a new game they simply let their nephew do it because ‘he’s really good at this sorta thing’ and went to the pub. He ended up hashing together a third-person-shooter-by-numbers the day his wife left him, leaving it emotionless and not even remotely memorable (I had to play it constantly while writing this, just to remember what it was I kept getting annoyed at).

The game basically boils down to this. Drug cartels are bad so you must shoot them all dead.  Shoot them all dead in this dusty town.  Then shoot them all dead in this shanty town. Then shoot them all dead in this shanty town but at night this time.  Then shoot them all dead while your partner throws a grenade at you accidentally.  Then shoot them all dead in the dusty town again.  Now go and buy Bioshock : Infinite, or pre-order Battlefield 4 or something, anything else!

I can honestly say that in relation to this game, I had more positive things to say the last time I got caught in the zip of my jeans.

David Roberts.

Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel at CeX

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