Review: Army of Two The Devil's Cartel enjoyably treads familiar ground
The original Army of TWO and its sequel failed to live up to the AAA status of other cover based shooters like Gears of War. It never had that dedicated fan base that would stand in line at midnight, the night of its release, only for the chance to be among the first to play it. However, regardless of its lessened status, they were both fun games which allowed you to play as two hilariously deranged guys with tons of guns, who enjoy killing hundred of people, while occasionally rocking out on air guitar amidst dead bodies on the ground.
Devil's Cartel shifts the view from the loveable Salem and Rios to Alpha and Bravo, new recruits to T.W.O. (Trans World Operations). What's lost here is the witty banter between the two. It isn't terrible by any means, but Salem and Rios had a connection, a brotherhood. Alpha and Bravo don't have this connection. They're new recruits. And even though the game shifts between a short flashback and then five years later. Those five years seemed to have done absolutely nothing for these two to get much closer. It's a shame because all I really wanted after planting hundreds of bullets into bad guys' heads is to just fist bump my buddy and perhaps share an air guitar moment. None of this happened.
Despite that, the game is primarily the same from the past Army of TWO games. You'll still be making your way across corridors with conveniently placed objects you'll be using for cover. Occasionally you'll request the help of your buddy to lift you up or help open a heavy door. And obviously, you'll still be pumping enemy after enemy full of lead which can be satisfying, if not utterly repetitive.
If there is one major complaint with Devil's Cartel, it's that you largely feel like you're doing the same task over and over. It isn't just an Army of TWO problem, a lot of cover based shooters share this as well, but where others balance story, exploration and combat, Devil's Cartel seems to only focus on the latter, which thanks to a few mechanics taken out, feels largely the same whether you're shooting people in the first mission, or in the last.
The Aggro meter has been completely scrapped. While it still lives in the game as a gun statistic, it isn't the focus of firefights anymore. This is a shame, since the Aggro meter further promoted co-op play. One player would blind fire at enemies, building up his Aggro, while the other player could successfully flank them from the side. This all still works in Devil's Cartel, but it's certainly not at the forefront anymore.