Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel is the highly-anticipated next installment in the Army of Two franchise. The third game in the series is being developed by Visceral Games and is centered on two new characters, Alpha and Bravo, who work for the Trans World Organization (T.W.O.). The duo finds themselves in Mexico taking on the local drug cartel.
The game’s trailer gives a taste of the action and some possible clues towards the storyline. In the video, a drug lord executes what looks like a T.W.O. soldier in a standoff with Alpha and Bravo. That doesn’t seem to sit well with the new protagonists, who unleash a wave of destruction on cartel gunmen in rooftop firefights packed with explosions and crumbling buildings. Helicopters crash and fall from the sky, bullets go flying in all directions, and in the end, a lot of baddies are killed. All in all, this is another Army of Two game, albeit with a little more action this time around.
Of course, The Devil’s Cartel makes some changes that set it apart from the two previous Army of Two titles. The most obvious is that players won’t be following Salem and Rios this time around. This is a big disappointment for a lot of fans, but according to Julien Lamoureux, lead game designer for The Devil’s Cartel, the two beloved characters will still be featured in the game and play a role in the story. Other changes that have fans upset are the removal of morality moments, which were moral choices made by the player that affected the plotline in Army of Two: The 40th Day, and humorous partner commands (i.e. fist bumping, playing rock-paper-scissors, etc.).
On the other hand, gameplay in The Devil’s Cartel will feature something new called Overkill, which is an ability that players will charge up by killing enemies. The new mechanic is comparable to Dead Eye in Red Dead Redemption and Bullet Time in Max Payne. Once activated, Overkill briefly beefs up players to near invincibility and makes reloading unnecessary. Player’s bullets also become much more destructive. This works hand-in-hand with the game’s use of the Frostbite 2 engine. What’s cooler still is that when both characters, Alpha and Bravo, simultaneously activate Overkill, everything briefly goes into slow motion.
In an attempt to promote early sales, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel offers pre-order bonuses for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 users. At no extra cost, those who pre-order get the new in-game items including two new masks and outfits, a Day of the Dead-themed outfit with two Day of the Dead-themed masks, the TAH-9 handgun, the Double-D shotgun, and a Day of the Dead-themed AK-47. Also included is the Overkillers Contract, a set of three extra missions outside of the story.
So far, The Devil’s Cartel looks promising. It’s a little disappointing that players won’t be playing as beloved franchise characters Salem and Rios this time around. Fans of the series will also miss the chest-bumping in between firefights, but new features like Overkill and increased destructibility with the Frostbite 2 engine more than make up for the loss. While fans dedicated to the series may be upset, the new entry in the franchise promises to satisfy new Army of Two players.
Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel is set to release on March 26, 2013 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.