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Army Corps of Hell Review

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On 03/05/2012 at 10:17 AM by Chessa DiMola

Who needs level design, differed gameplay, or strategy as long as you're ripping off a popular IP?

Not recommended.

Army Corps of Hell is one of several games that have tried to replicate the successful Pikmin formula, but have failed miserably at doing so. Although the mechanics suffer from very few issues, the gameplay is excruciatingly repetitive.

In concept, Army Corps of Hell doesn’t seem much different from Pikmin; after all, in order to dispose of enemies players will utilize a variety of different comrades. Here’s the thing, the Pikmin experience doesn’t just boil down to killing enemies and moving forward. Players have to grow, store, and strategically hoard their Pikmin in order to be successful in battle and moving objects. A variety of different creatures require precision tactics to kill and the environments themselves - which are varied and beautiful - necessitated a delicate maneuvering of all Pikmin types. Army Corps of Hell took all those great concepts and threw them out the window. All they needed, apparently, was the ability to throw demons and some really loud heavy metal to set the “badass” tone.

As far as the art and soundtrack go, they really aren’t all that bad; though the random J-Pop tracks sort of threw me for a loop. The developers were definitely trying to take a formula that already existed and create something new from it, but they focused on all the wrong things.

I wasn’t lying before when I said that all players will do is throw enemies; there’s absolutely nothing else to this game. And even though there are a few different types of demons to use in combat, most enemies are so easy that players will never have to use anything but the standard type.

Here’s how all the levels play out: players start out on a platform where they'll have to kill a bunch of enemies, then they'll go over a bridge, kill more enemies, go over yet another bridge, kill some more enemies (repeat ad nauseum), until they finally reach the last platform where they'll kill even more enemies (perhaps even a boss), then go through a door that ends the level. The monotonous gameplay is only made worse by the lack of level design and any scenery whatsoever.

Now, while that type of gameplay would sound less than enthralling regardless of any intriguing hooks it might have, it's not the game's biggest issue. Instead, it's the lack of necessary strategy that really digs its grave. Holding down the “R” trigger throws a demon, so all players have to do is hold it down during each enemy encounter until they land enough demons to perform a special attack, which results in the enemy's death.

The only time it’s really necessary to watch where you’re throwing a demon is during boss battles. Unfortunately, the aimer usually decides to focus on whatever point it wants to, rather than where you’re actually trying to throw your demons, so boss battles can sometimes be frustrating experiences.

To make matters worse - or easier, I guess - the demons do not die easily. In the event that a few of them do get offed, their little carcasses lay on the screen with a skull hovering over them until players walk over and revive them. Basically it’s pretty hard to have your entire army killed off, which eliminates the need to act conservatively with your demons. In the event that you do lose all of your demons, there are cages all over the level that allow you to release more.

As if they wanted to make things even easier, players will find it quite difficult to die themselves. If that infrequent circumstance does come to pass, all players have to do is tap the rear touch pad on both sides quickly in order to recuperate some of their health. This isn’t just a one-time deal either; players can do this a few times before death actually ensues.

Then, on top of everything else, as if the game wasn’t unchallenging enough already, players can upgrade their demon’s weaponry, as well as their own outfit. What players are wearing determines a few factors, most importantly health, along with other things, like how far away you can be from a demon in order to revive them. The weapon upgrades simply make demons more powerful, allowing players to go from killing an enemy in one attack to killing an enemy with one attack even quicker.

Other than running around like a deranged lunatic, throwing demons indiscriminately, there’s nothing more to Army Corps of Hell. While the mechanics are decent, the experience is slaughtered by repetition and shallow gameplay.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



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