Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel

 

Learning(i)

Dissatisfying shooter with strong violence, profanity.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game uses a glamorous depiction of gun violence to make it appealing. However, it also touches (lightly) on the ethics involved in private military contractor work and promotes co-operative, team-based play. 

Positive role models

The game's protagonists love being soldiers for hire and frequently compliment each other on their kills and other acts of violence. Suffice to say they don't make great behavioral guides.

Ease of play

It's a straightforward third-person shooter with a thorough tutorial mission. It should prove pretty easy for experienced players working as teams. Even playing alone with a computer-controlled partner isn't too hard, since he can be counted on to come and patch you up should you go down. Multiple difficulty levels allow players to tailor the level of challenge to their liking.

Violence

Players spend all of their time engaged in bloody, frenetic gun battles. Handguns, rifles, machine guns, and grenades are used to dispatch hundreds of enemies, with bright red bursts of blood exploding from their bodies. Heads occasionally disintegrate from headshots, and the camera swings around to highlight close-range kills that depict a knife being jabbed into an enemy's neck or torso. There is occasional torture.

Sex

A female soldier in the game is shown wearing a low-cut top and tight pants while her male counterparts are dressed head to toe in body armor.

Language

The words "f--k," "s--t," and other four-letter curses appear regularly in dialogue.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The story involves a drug-dealing cartel, so expect references to narcotics. One level actually shows some marijuana plants and cocaine in the background.

Privacy & safety

Serious privacy and safety concerns. This game allows players to engage in open voice chat with strangers online, which means kids may share identifying information. They may also hear strong language and be subjected to inappropriate discussions.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel is a third-person shooter, with stylized violence carried out by two-player teams. The bulk of the game is gunplay, with players tasked to shoot down hundreds upon hundreds of Mexican drug cartel enforcers in bloody and gory combat. Players will also see vicious, cinematic knife kills and a small amount of torture. Part of the narrative is devoted to the ethics of mercenary armies and the bonds of the men and women who join them; but it's mostly just testosterone-fueled guys getting a thrill from visceral combat.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • power structures

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

What Kids Can Learn

While elements of Army of Two focus on teamwork and strategy, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • power structures

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

While elements of Army of Two focus on teamwork and strategy, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

What's it about?

Set in a fictional Mexican town, ARMY OF TWO: THE DEVIL'S CARTEL focuses on a security mission gone bad. Mercenary outfit TWO has been contracted to protect an honest politician from a local drug gang during an election, but things go wrong when his convoy is ambushed. A series of twists and betrayals further complicates matters, leaving the game's two heroes to make some hard decisions about whom to protect and whom to kill. As in previous Army of Two games, players work as a two-soldier team (the computer controls the second mercenary when playing alone) that uses baiting and flanking tactics while cutting through both indoor and outdoor battle zones. Performing well together results in larger cash rewards for each kill, allowing players to buy and upgrade weapons. Unlike previous Army of Two games, this is a co-op only experience. There is no competitive online mode.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Army of Two has never been overly innovative, nor has it offered deep ideas for players to chew on, but this third entry is particularly uninspired and shallow. With the exception of a new "overkill" meter that allows players to become extremely powerful and more or less invincible, combat feels much the same as the previous game -- save that the series' memorable, cinematic back-to-back team sequences are sadly absent. A finicky cover system and some frustrating glitches -- we encountered an especially egregious one that literally erased our final boss battle victory -- don't help much.

The new heroes, meanwhile, are bland soldier-of-fortune stereotypes -- men with no real back story and whose only interest seems to be  bloody combat. The story occasionally touches on meatier issues, such as the morality of mercenaries and the camaraderie of soldiers, but never to any real satisfaction. It might make for an okay time-killer played with a pal in the same room over a weekend, but don't expect much more.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. What are some of the hallmarks of violent games you think are inappropriate for younger players? Have you discussed the sorts of things you don't want your kids to see in their games?

  • Families can also discuss the ethics of war. What distinguishes men and women serving in a government army from those working for a private military security contractor as mercenaries? Is there a fundamental difference between the things these soldiers do?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Price:$59.99
Available online?Available online
Developer:Electronic Arts
Release date:March 26, 2013
Genre:Third-person shooter
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

This review of Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written byBFRO50cal June 2, 2014
age 10+
 
LEARNING

this game

i think its iffy but its a really good game my son says.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 17 years old Written byJoe Stevens May 25, 2015
age 18+
 

too much blood and swearing

This game will drop the f-word dozens of times as well as s-words. There are extremely violent take down attacks (stabbing people in the head, slicing their jugular, and snapping necks). There is also decapitations as well as dismemberment of limbs (nothing as bad as mortal kombat). This game has defiantly earned it m rating in my opinion. BTW, there is also a lot of drugs mainly because in the game, you bring down the Mexican drug cartel. If your kid is allowed to watch R rated movies, then this will be nothing new to them.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written bydjnathan7 May 9, 2015
age 14+
 
LEARNING

violent but not as bad as other games

i think it is an average game and it is very violent but there are much worse games out there such as Gta v, last of us, gears of war etc. I got this game for free but don't buy it unless its free
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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