Army Corps of Hell Review
When Square Enix announced that they were going to have a game ready in time for the PlayStation Vita’s release, we found ourselves playing guessing games in terms of what that game would be. An RPG in the Final Fantasy franchise? Some gimmicky title that would seem more like a demo piece than a gaming experience? Or, hey, what about something with Lara Croft or Agent 47? Alas, it’s none of those. It’s Army Corps of Hell, a game that takes the micromanagement system of Pikmin and throws it head first into a demonic world seemingly inspired by death metal. And guess what? It’s not half bad.
The story revolves around the King of Hell, who rules with an iron fist and welcomes all souls that come his way. But one day, he finds himself knocked off his throne. Eager to reclaim it from the foul beast that has knocked him astray, the King of Hell gathers an army of goblins to do his bidding and soon sets out on the path of righteousness… because one does happen to be in hell, surprisingly enough.
The King of Hell doesn’t really do anything in Army Corps of Hell. Instead, he unleashes his minions on his enemies, having them jump all over them and then having them strike to explode them in a bloody mess. Along the way, he can replenish any army he loses, whether they’re smushed by a larger boss or fried by one of the creature’s defenses. During the game, he can also choose which types of goblins to call upon — spell-spewing Magi, long range spearmen, or the routine soldiers. How you deplete these army numbers is up to you.
While the game does get repetitive over time, it’s good to see some of the development folk behind the Pikmin games strike out for more hellish material here. The levels don’t change much, but the enemies do get stronger, forcing you to balance your load and figure out your offensive strategy as you move your way back to the throne. The hurl and retrieve system works admirably, but sometimes you do need to run over the little fellas to revive them. Personally, it would’ve been nice to see the King do more, like whip out a mighty axe and deliver a deathblow or two for himself. Overall, though, it’s decent.
Two more things should be mentioned. Number one, some rhythm sections do make their way into the game, utilizing the rear touch pad of the system. They’re not bad, but they can get annoying over time. Secondly, the game does feature Wi-Fi multiplayer, so you and some friends are able to team up and reclaim hell in your own right. It’s fun, but hardly the “hey, we gotta try this” kind of multiplayer.
Army Corps of Hell isn’t the best-looking PS Vita game we’ve seen, as it seems more on the level of a second-generation PS2 title. That said, the development team did a fairly good job filling the game with hellish imagery and personality-laden goblins, even if they’re merely there to just do your bidding. Likewise, the music has its moments too, with its fair share of death metal tunes that fit the game, and lots of explosive, gooey sound effects. Hardly amazing, but fitting for the tone of the game.
Obviously, Army Corps of Hell won’t be for everyone. The mature-rated approach rules out the younger crowds, while the repetitive gameplay may turn off those seeking a true devil of a challenge. But there’s a happy medium in there that are sure to appreciate the entertaining, blood-spilling gameplay and ambient, “throw-up-the-horns” presentation. Plug in your headphones and rock out.