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Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel Review - Design, Value and Verdict Review

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Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel – Design

Overkill is a good thing, because without it The Devil’s Cartel could be a slightly tedious experience. The level design is thoughtless and heavily indebted to classic shooter clichés. Enemies show precious little intelligence, and the whole thing operates like a simple shooting gallery with only a few obvious set-pieces to punctuate the mindless blasting. There’s a nice line in weapon upgrades and a few decent moments, but it’s all a bit unimaginative. Nobody bought their A-game to this one. In fact, they might have left their B-game at home too.

Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel
 
Yet with missions broken down into short chunks and Overkill to keep things lively, The Devil’s Cartel can be good fun. It’s a reasonable solo experience and better still when played online, even if the co-op isn’t as drop-in/drop-out as it really ought to be. Play it with friends, and you might have a perfectly good time. Somehow, ditching the more complex mechanics and any serious attempt at depth has made Army of Two a ridiculous, lightweight, run-and-gun game. It’s actually the better for it.

Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel – Value

Games like The Devil’s Cartel should have their place. They’re the gaming equivalent of the old action movies that you used to find on the bottom shelf of your local Blockbuster; the ones starring Steven Seagal, Jean Claude van Damme or (lower down the pecking order) Dolph Lungdren and Steve Austin. They’re guilty pleasures, best enjoyed with a few mates and a couple of beers. The Devil’s Cartel is just as dumb but also just as entertaining. At its best, it’s like the climax of Schwarzenegger’s Commando extended over a series of ten-minute episodes.

Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel

That’s all well and good, but then you remember that the The Devil’s Cartel is going to cost you the best part of £40 to play. The simple truth is that it’s simply not worth that kind of cash. Its place is on Xbox Live Arcade and PSN, where it should cost a tenner, not slogging it out with Bioshock Infinite and Gears of War: Judgement for a slice of the market. That was the thing with those old low-budget action hits; they knew what they were and they reveled in it. They knew that there was money to be made in a cheap night in. The Devil’s Cartel, however, has EA charging Hollywood blockbuster prices for what is really a B-Movie game.

Verdict

The Devil’s Cartel works best as a dumb, unpretentious run-and-gun blaster with the emphasis on mindless destruction and trashy fun. It’s incredibly generic and devoid of smart design or original thought, but it has the makings of a decent co-op laugh. Unfortunately, at £30 to £40 a pop it’s simply not worth the money. As a £10 Xbox Live Arcade or PSN game we’d feel happy enough to recommend it, but at full-price you’d be mad to buy it.

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