Post updated on 10 April 2013, scroll down for new stuff.
We have been waiting for this official announcement since March last year, when Joe briefly mentioned it during a convention in Sweden.
3 Mar 2012 Just signed on to do the new AO4 video game for Electronic Arts. Some splinter from Battlefield. Finally, my kids think I am cool again
3 Mar 2012 Actually, showing how distinctively uncool I am, I think I have those games mixed up. Thankgod my kids don’t read twitter
But it seems it had to be kept hush-hush, so there were only hints here and there. Read here reports from the 2102 Chicago convention and here from the Toronto convention, when while being interviewed by Rambling Russ, Joe said:
[...] a very elaborate video game [...] [...] your body and your face are fully scanned, it’s you, it’s your full likeness, it’s actually hard to tell the difference between video and a film.
See here the official armyoftwo.com site, currently featuring the trailer, and announcing the release date: 26 March 2013
Direct link to the trailer.
Update 16 Feb 2013
New direct link on youtube to one of the trailers. We believe we can hear Joe saying “She is, now” at about 0:30 in this dialogue:
“She part of your plan?”
“She is, now.”
And then maybe again, “Keep moving” over the radio, in this other trailer.
Update 23 Feb
A half hour demo of the game and developer’s commentary can be found here.
A video interview with Greg Rizzer, the producer, who speaks about the grittier tone of this reboot of the franchise, as opposed to the previous games, while it still preserves a good “partner comedy” tone.
Update 28 Feb
Another video review of the game.
Update 1 March
We believe we’re not mistaken in saying that now we can positively hear Joe at about min 00:20 in this new trailer; “You guys are the last T.W.O. operatives in La Puerta”.
This gamer’s review launches an interesting hypothesis:
“that super-badass with the scarred up face and that awesome mask looks like he might be a real show-stealer, eh?”
Update 5 March
This BTS video shows us the process of shooting the game. We also get to find out Joe’s character name, Salem, the character who initially founded this mercenary army called Army Of Two.
Joe speaks about the shooting:
It’s very weird and incongruous because we’re all in these suits with these balls on ourselves, and yet, behind that there’re these heavy tour de force moments in the script. Some of these actors are fenomenal.
Update 6 March
A new trailer has been released and the Devil Cartel’s demo has been announced for 12 March (via www.polygon.com).
Update 10 March 2013
Since we’ve established Elliot Salem is Joe’s character, let’s find out more about him:
Elliot Salem’s transition from being a small time teenage “gangsta” to a battle hardened warrior was made easy by the Louisiana State Penal System. Choosing to serve his country rather than his fellow inmates, Elliot joined the US Army Rangers. While you can take Elliot out of the hood, you can’t quite take the hood out of Elliot. His shady background shows through as he is quick to accept morally questionable missions with the promise of a big payout, or take risks that other soldiers would consider too dangerous. Fortunately for him, Rios is always there to help steer him right and make him think before he acts.
Salem and Rios may bicker, but there’s no denying that on the battlefield, the two make a great team. As Rios devises strategy, Salem executes it. Without fear, regret or remorse, Salem is able to run headlong into battle and rip apart any adversary- often before his foes realize what just hit them.
Never having really grown up, Elliot acts like a child, curses like a sailor, and parties like a rock star. His terrible spending habits paired with his excessively materialistic lifestyle keep him in constant financial trouble – no matter how much money he makes, or what his nagging buddy Rios tells him.
Partnership with Rios:
Rios and Salem each have their own opinions on things. Salem is a money mad contractor and Rios is a tactical and strong headed man. The two have their differences yet they are still best of friends in the thick of things. Showing that an Army of Two is much better than an army of one.
Salem tends to be much more trigger happy than Rios and as such, Rios tends to be a more level headed influence on his partner. The pair banter easily and often appeared unphased by what they see, though there are times when Salem expresses extreme dislike for what they do and it is implied that were Rios not with him, that he may end up taking more risks for money or simply because parts of the job piss him off. Salem and Rios both have personalities that complement each other. Rios is the calming influence while Salem is the gung ho one of the partnership. As such, they each bring something different to the table in terms of a fight and friendship and it is their differences that make them get along so well.
Rios’ voice in The Devil’s Cartel: David Sobolov
Update 12 March
One of Joe’s co-stars, David Sobolov (Rios), shared over facebook a picture featuring a rehearsal with the whole cast.
Update 14 March
A review of the recently released demo claims the writing for Joe’s character to be rather mediocre: “Aside from the occasional, bare-boned exchange in dialogue there is little going for the [Alpha and Bravo] characters. Rio and Salem were hardly well-written either, though their frequent fist-bumping, air guitar solos, and general musings at least gave them some kind of dynamic. With that said, this is just a demo [...]“
Review by Jim Hargreaves, www.thesixthaxis.com, 14 March
From The Hip: A Quick Look At “Army Of Two: The Devil’s Cartel”
Announced last August, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel came somewhat out of the blue. With publisher EA cutting back on high-risk titles and the series’ less than ecstatic response from critics and consumers, before its announcement the notion of a third instalment seemed dubious at best.
This time around the game is set in Mexico with mainstay guns-for-hire Rio and Salem taking a back seat. Instead players fill the boots of Alpha and Bravo, Cartel’s creatively-named newcomers who are charged with tackling a ruthless drug empire known as La Guadaña.
No matter how refined and endearing a game’s characters are, a fifteen minute, action-packed demo usually fails to do them justice. However, in this instance, a quarter of an hour seems more than enough time to get a read on Army of Two’s substitute shooters.
Alpha and Bravo could have intriguing motives for joining T.W.O and their crusade against “the Devil’s Cartel”, though the gameplay preview suggests otherwise.
Aside from the occasional, bare-boned exchange in dialogue there is little going for the characters. Rio and Salem were hardly well-written either, though their frequent fist-bumping, air guitar solos, and general musings at least gave them some kind of dynamic.
With that said, this is just a demo; Visceral could have crafted a meaningful relationship between the two mercs that develops over the course of the game, though it seems unlikely. Either that or we could have ourselves another Isaac Clarke/John Carver situation.
Compared to The 40th Day, gameplay feels much more refined in this latest addition.
The control scheme is generally tighter and the shooting more responsive with a few, minimal changes made to the game’s co-op mechanics. When playing with an AI partner, locally, or online you’ll still be working together to open doors and climb to high spaces with an occasional fork in the road here and there.
Army of Two’s “Aggro” mechanic also comes into play though isn’t quite as intrusive this time around. Previously, players’ actions in combat would be registered on a progressive, tug-of-war style meter.
As one player became more aggressive they would draw fire whilst the other would be free to sneak around and pick off stragglers. Though the concept still exists, the stealth/aggressive divide has been replaced by an “Overkill” meter which allows players brief phases of increased damage.
A number of cosmetic changes have also been made. For instance, Cartel’s UI and in-game displays have a washed out, computerised look almost identical to that of Medal of Honor and Battlefield. Visceral has also adopted Frostbite 2 technology but this is really only present in the game’s destructible environments.
They may add a bit of flare but ultimately do very little for the overall experience.
The Devil’s Cartel isn’t doomed for failure. If anything it’s a solid, responsive shooter though one that has very few ideas of its own. No doubt there will be plenty of punters wanting to get their couch co-op fix but if Visceral wants to settle for more than a passable product it needs to deliver some much-needed innovation.
Update 26 March
Release date for the game today. While waiting for it, watch an one-hour movie-like video put together on youtube from all the cutscenes. We finally get to see Salem, Joe’s character, without the mask. And hear him, too. Enjoy!
Ending cutscenes – a 4 min video with an interesting reveal of the red mask!
Thanks David Sobolov for the heads up!
Review by gaminbolt.com. “Rio and Salem play a side role here but they are vital to the story.”
Update 30 March
Watch these videos that are featuring more of the scripted parts of the game, where we can actually see or hear Joe’s character:
Salem and Rios are grading the rookies (mission gameplay walkthrough)
The team meets Fiona (mission gameplay walkthrough)
An overall review of the gaming experience, by www.giantbomb.com – half hour video
Another video review, by gamespot.com
Update 6 April 2013
Review by MercuryNews.com: Turn off your brain when playing ‘Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel’;
Voice acting is OK, but the writing doesn’t get any better.
Editor’s note: out of the dozens and dozens of reviews out there since the game release (literally dozens! We’ve counted about 40 so far), we’ve decided to feature in our post just those covering somehow Joe’s character or the acting in general.