A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
- Subjects: Social Studies: power structures
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
Thinking & Reasoning: strategy
- 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
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.