If the first Army of Two passed unnoticed, the second part
cleverly corrected this by eliminating most of its predecessor’s faults.
Despite this fact, Electronic Arts seems to forget the efforts of its Canadian
branch and is now giving the task to Visceral Games. Taking over the reins of
the franchise, the creators of Dead Space are going for a full-on action blockbuster,
which will make it a blast to play next year.
At Gamescom 2012, I had the opportunity to try out the game
in the posh Behind Closed Door room of the EA Business Lounge. After a simple
explanation by the developers through level presented at the Electronic Arts conference,
I was really looking forward to test it myself.
The action-packed sequence is a simple mission where you and
your mate have to reach the roof of a building infested with Mexican Cartel gangsters armed to the teeth ... and that is an understatement. As soon as you push the
first door, swarms of bandits start sniping us from all sides, giving us an
opportunity to enter the heart of the game by taking advantage of a cover
system heavily inspired by the likes of Gears of War. In short, between the ability
to quickly hide behind an item, moving from one to another via a button action
or step over while pulling around, the mechanics were simple, catchy and
perfectly suited for the situation.
In addition to the system mentioned above, you only get to switch
between your two fixed weapons, as you “borrow” more powerful ones from downed
enemies and can throw your grenades to clear up a pack.
Of course, like the previous opus, cooperation is still the core of the game
even if presented in the demo, was only to help your friend mount on a wall to
destroy objectives, or even reviving him.
Although, at the current state, Army of Two: The Devil's
Cartel seems to be an upgrade to the previous game in its cinematic depth of
gameplay. After their successful experience with Dead Space and Dead Space 2,
Visceral Games has quite succeeded making the action frenetic, with massive explosions,
raining bullets and if that of course adding the Overkill mechanics.
Wait what? Overkill? In case you missed it in the trailer,
Overkill is simply a fashionable Bullet Time power, which will be available
once you have filled a specific gauge linked to your kills. Once this is done,
it will be possible to enjoy an overpowered firepower, doubled if your buddy
also activates it, which makes every bullet as powerful and explosive as a frag
Frostbite 2 engine, known from the Battlefield 3 game, is
also added in the game, making each gunfight, explosion and destruction
effective and massive. One can destroy entire sections of walls, reducing them
into millions of dust particles and shrapnel. And there’s no doubt about it, with
Frostbite 2.0, Visceral intends to immerse us in a real American blockbuster movie.
This was further noticed, as we are asked to mount a Gatling gun on helicopter
to protect our teammate on the ground, eliminating the Cartel’s men in packs,
destroying fuel tanks and generators. The scene ends in style, where you get
shot down by another helicopter, and your teammate runs to your aid, with the
Cartel’s aircraft coming back for the kill.
Should you await death with arms open? Of course not, and as
your teammate holds you by the arm on the edge of the building, the action goes
into slow motion, and each of you shoot down the pilot’s helicopter, before it crashes
his vehicles and is engulfed in a shower of flames.
So no doubt about it, Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel is
changing in a way that both hardcore tactician shooter gamers will enjoy, as
well as newcomers, more used to cinematic actions, and fast paced shooters. For
all this, I guess we should thank Visceral, and hope to hear and see more of it