After a few week layoff, I’ve got a couple of games to tell you, my vast readership, about.  I’ve mentioned before that I love games with good local co-op —  there are moments that just can’t be replicated over the internet.  As such, I played through Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel in local co-op with my girlfriend (who kicked my ass in roughly every mission).  It’s a solid game that I’d recommend to all you fellow co-op junkies.

Two dudes, lots of Mexican ass to kick

  • TL;DR: Fun co-op with a forgettable story
  • Platform: Xbox 360
  • Score: 7.3
  • Hours Played: 10-15
  • What I Played: Campaign through local co-op
  • Recommended: Yes, with a friend

In TDC, you control Alpha and Bravo (yes, those are actually their names), who are members of Trans World Operatives (T.W.O. — eh? eh? See what they did there?).  Mexican drug cartels are running drugs and bribing policitians.  It’s up to you, your squadmate, your superpowered steel mask, and your absurd amount of firepower to take them down.  Mission layout takes a page from the newest Gears of War where you have many small, arcade-style missions instead of a few long ones with save points sprinkled in.

Speaking of Gears of War, it’s hard to talk about TDC without making a direct comparison.  You can hold down the A button to roadie run move from cover to cover.  You can switch between and vault over cover spots, but it’s more clunky and slow than the more polished Gears.  If your teammate goes down, they’ll be in a down-but-not-out/bleedout mode familiar to anyone who’s played a shooter in the last five years.  There is an aggro system which can be useful if your teammate is flanking or dying, similar to Army of Two: The 40th Day.  Unlike 40th Day, though, there is no meter to show how much aggro each teammate has.  You’ve no doubt noticed the painted masks Alpha and Bravo are wearing.  These masks have your GPS/communication systems built in.  They also let you activate “T.W.O. Vision” which is supposed to show you a good route to take, should you need it.  I hope you don’t need it, because it doesn’t really do much.

“Guns, guns, guns!!!” — Marcus Kincaid, Borderlands

If you look past some of the kind of meh parts and the lackluster story, you get into the real meat of the game.  Alpha/Bravo can hold two main weapons (assault rifle, SMG, LMG, shotgun, sniper) and a sidearm.  Each gun can be modified to hell and back — stock, scope, explosive rounds, etc.  Each completed mission nets you some money which let’s you upgrade your guns.  I went straight power with LMG/shotgun.  Ammo, which is automatically picked up by running over enemy guns, seems to be a utility size because all ammo fits into all guns.  Kills net you points which fill up your Overkill meter.  Activating Overkill will do a few things to you and your teammate: you become invincible, have unlimited ammo/grenades, and all your bullets explode.  Sound like fun?  It is.  If both Alpha and Bravo activate Overkill at the same time, slow motion is added into the mix along with some extra power.  Between the two players, you should be able to have Overkill at least once per mission.

TDC does a good job of mixing up missions and objectives.  There are parts where you’ll need to boost your teammate over a wall and take a high/low approach.  There are some “defeat X waves of enemy” moments.  You’ll stack up and breach a door, entering slow motion and getting extra Overkill points for wiping out everyone before slow-mo runs out.  The visuals and sound are top-notch, as well.  Enemies don’t simply crumple to the ground when they die — there is real force behind where you shoot an enemy.

I’m pretty sure this was all from a single bullet.

Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel is old fashioned co-op fun.  The story is lacking and there are some frustrating mechanics, but the main gameplay is fun enough.  I can’t speak for single player or online play, but local splitscreen is pretty fun.  Grab a bro and start shooting.

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