Craig Baker On July - 23 - 2011

In what has so far been a very slow Summer in the gaming community there hasn’t been many good games coming out. Techland looks to change that this week with the developers third installment into the Call of Juarez franchise. Call of Juarez: The Cartel looks to break away from the cowboy western style game it had previously been and moving into a modern era Los Angeles. Let’s find out together if Techland can do what it sought out to do and bring some life into a mediocre franchise.

Like in the previous games you don’t have to saddle yourself with one particular character. This time you have three choices each of which is like a caricature of the agency they work for. The female FBI agent is Kim Evans, followed by DEA special agent Eddie Guerra, and last but not least LAPD Senior Homicide Detective Ben McCall. As in the McCall brothers. I’m guessing he is a descendent in some way of the brothers in the original games and the only reminance of what used to be an old west shooter. Playing as each character will give you a different perspective on the overall story and a slightly different ending. But the unforgettable story and underdeveloped characters hardly makes it worth your time.

The basic gist of the story is that there was a bombing somewhere, that of which a Mexican cartel was responsible. So in order to bring down everyone involved an inter-agency task force is assembled. Each member of the team has a spotty record and something or other fucked up going on in there life. Once brought together they begin shaking down gang bangers at the street level and working there way up the drug dealing food chain until they get to the top. You quickly however lose any interest in the story because of things like terrible voice acting and characters that you really don’t care too much about, no matter how hard they try at times.

The best factor of this game is without a doubt the gunplay. Shoot outs are fast and hectic with civilians rushing around to dodge your bullets. Kicking in doors becomes repetitive about mid way through the game and is almost as if you can predict what’s going to happen next. But all the while me and the friend I was playing with had a great time shooting bad guys with our silenced TMP’s that had a really pimp digital forest camo paint job on it. Thanks Gamestop! There are also a few annoying parts where you encounter helicopters, but they are easily enough dispatched if you make good use of cover. Even on the hardest difficulty I found this game to be rather easy when compared to say Call of Duty on Veteran difficulty. It was challenging, but at the same time I never felt like I couldn’t run out like Rambo guns blazing and fuck some shit up.

The multiplayer in The Cartel really surprised me. First you select whether you want to be a cop or criminal. The two game modes are standard team deathmatch and missions. Missions is like a mixed objective mode where you can be blowing up a door one minute and protecting or killing a high valued target the next. There are lots of weapons and other perks you can unlock as you level up on both sides. Overall I found the multiplayer rather enjoyable and fun. My only gripe is the game doesn’t offer a party system. Once in a game you can select a partner and stay with that person, but getting a friend in the same game as you can be like pulling fucking teeth.

When it came to presentation in the previous Juarez games, they weren’t winning any awards. And while that still may be the case there definitely have been improvement. Particularly in the area of lighting. The lighting effects throughout the campaign and multiplayer were very impressive at times. The audio is alright as well, nothing to sing about, but the game does offer a decent soundtrack.

So at the end of the day is Call of Juarez: The Cartel worth your $60? I would say no, but just for now. I would maybe give this one a rent or wait for it to drop in price a bit. I say this because most people aren’t going to play the campaign more than once and the mp while it is good, it doesn’t offer that lasting appeal of games like Battlefield or Call of Duty. But other wise this is what I would call a good weekend game. Some thing you could play through fairly quickly if you rented it and feel satisfied.


Fun Gameplay, Guns! Lots of GUNS! Good MultiplayerRepetitive Gameplay Elements, Difficulty of Partying Up, Mediocre Graphics

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