Chris Campbell

design || gaming || photography

Game On: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 and Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel

Posted on 19 Apr 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

tiger14Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Genre: Sports

Publisher: EA Sports

ESRB Rating: E, for Everyone

Grade: 4 stars (out of 5)

The beautiful weather arrived in Washington, D.C., just in time for Masters week. Sure, the PGA Tour season kicked off months ago, but the world at large only starts paying attention when Augusta’s flowers bloom and the season’s first major comes around.

So it makes sense that EA Sports would release its annual rite of golf passage a few weeks beforehand so golf gamers can enjoy tearing Augusta National apart virtually before Tiger and the pros do it on the real thing. While some editions of the video-game franchise have lacked spark and inventiveness, this year’s game has updates and features that make it a worthwhile buy indeed.

On the surface, the ability to play all four major tournaments feels like a massive accomplishment and a ridiculous one at the same time. But gamers should overlook that and focus more on the Legends of the Majors mode. Here, you take a time warp back to the game’s infancy and slowly progress forward in time, playing on classic courses with wooden clubs and sepia-toned footage. The lengthy mode gives you a feel for the advancements the game has made and is a better history lesson on golf than you would find watching a typical weekend broadcast on TV.

The Career mode returns as well, and, thankfully, the game finally gives women a chance to participate in the game via the LPGA Tour. Unfortunately, the Career mode still ramps your skills up too quickly and gets you winning or placing in the top three in almost every tournament before you even finish your rookie season.

But this year the franchise is scoring birdies instead of pars and bogeys. Impressive visuals and the trip through the lore should compel gamers to tee it up with Tiger, Jack, Arnie and all the rest.


armyoftwo3Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Genre: Shooter

Publisher: EA Games

ESRB Rating: M, for Mature

Grade: 2 stars

As I breach the seemingly 700th door and traverse yet another town devoid of a single citizen, my eyes roll back just as they do when my wife turns on one of those “Real Housewives” shows.

Like those Bravo shows, “The Devil’s Cartel” lacks purpose and meaning, and I say this with sadness since the first two games were releases I looked forward to. The third title in this franchise is stripped of all that made the original games great shooting experiences. With the foulmouthed witticisms of the lead characters gone, the cupboard of thrilling set pieces barren and the tension of a meaningful story lost in the Mexican desert, we’re left with little to remark upon with fondness.

Nothing illustrates this better than the laziness of naming your two main characters Alpha and Bravo. Whether you play the game cooperatively with another person or alongside the AI, no real challenge comes your way. Enemy foes occasionally show spritely flanking moves, but mostly they fail to notice you sneaking around corners and peppering them with bullets from mere feet away.

The enjoyable “back-to-back” shootouts don’t exist, and without those and a game-play system that delivers an impending fear of death, the game is an exercise in walking around and casually shooting anything that moves.