SHOOTING games with a firm focus on co-op play are a rare sub-breed.
Such shooters can be fun, though, and those who like to blast foes with a buddy will probably be quite aware of the Army Of Two games, as they have been among the best of their kind.
That said, there is much about the latest iteration that lacks spark.
For example, the narrative won't exactly set the world on fire, as you begin proceedings with a generic Mexican hostage rescue.
Then Devil's Cartel broadens the focus, with you suddenly facing a well armed, but often stupidly led, crime cartel.
From here the generic ingredients continue.
The game's plot follows a number of clichéd lines. You control a maverick pair of mercenaries, battling hostiles amidst chaos in lawless parts of Mexico. However Salem and Rios, the stars of the previous games, have been relegated to secondary roles, and the new fighters, named Alpha and Bravo, have almost as much personality as your local convenience store cardboard cut outs.
These guys wear combat masks and this, combined with their uninspired banter, saps the game of any compelling reason to care if they live or die.
Thankfully the core play elements you would expect from this sort of game are all included. There are plenty of corridor crawls, "cover and clear" firefights across open terrain and segues of "on rails" shooting action. But none of these is particularly inspiring.
Devil's Cartel does occasionally invite you to blast all and sundry in a place that is more interesting. Indeed the town draped with the Mexican Día de Muertos (Day Of The Dead) decorations is probably the best example.
However, there isn't much else in terms of story or the architecture that is memorable. The gameplay is solid, though, with plenty of options for you to take on hordes of, at times, startlingly stupid cartel militia.
If you like your shooters full of lots of cannon fodder and don't need to be pushed too hard when it comes to tactically gifted opponents, you will be right at home here. Devil's Cartel is still challenging, but mainly because of the number of opponents you face, not their skill.
The cover dynamic is also a little buggy at times. Occasionally you will be attempting to leap from cover and out into the open, only to have your character magnetically sucked towards another distant source of cover. At its worst, such misdirected moves will hurl you into the midst of a murderous crossfire but most of the time it is just an annoying inconvenience.
The Devil's Cartel does have one neat new feature. The game monitors your success, and after scoring a swag of kills you are rewarded with what is called "overkill" mode. This certainly lives up to its name, as you are invulnerable for a brief time and your weapons pack a welcome extra wallop. Indeed, even though Devil's Cartel isn't the most inventive shooter to see the light of day, its two-player co-operative focus combined with the extremely over the top fireworks make the game worth a look, as long as you aren't expecting too much in the way of cranium crunching challenges.
Army Of Two: Devil's Cartel
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