Call of Juarez: The Cartel Review

Call of Juarez: The Cartel

Call of Juarez: The Cartel starts off with a bang: we’re racing somewhere, gunfire and explosions all around, and it feels like the second “Matrix”. Friends in the speeding jeep (or whatever it is) in the opposite lane are shouting – someone set us up, everything is going wrong, and so on.

So who’s yelling in the back seat, where are we going, and what’s happening in general? In short, here’s the situation: in order to combat a particularly savage drug cartel, special forces gather a group consisting of a tough cop, a slick narcotics agent, and a career-driven FBI agent. As you can probably guess, these comrades don’t particularly like each other, and not without reason: the dirty and grizzled one Harry Ben is dirty and gray, a cunning agent Eddie – well, you understand, and Kim is from the FBI, whom no one really likes. What they are doing in that car on the highway – for now, it doesn’t really matter, we should take a closer look at the game itself first.

And now I work with such partners.

And these are the kind of partners I need to work with.

Where am I?

The Cartel is a straightforward first-person shooter, spiced up with “car” episodes. No matter who you choose to play as, the task is always the same – move forward and shoot the heads of everyone you encounter without any special tricks. That’s why we love Call of Juarez, don’t we?

Law enforcement officers will have to visit many places: they will have to sabotage the quiet drug business in a reserve, play detective in a strip club, conduct a raid in a port, and so on. At the basic level, the game is well made, the graphics do not discourage you from playing, the scenery changes periodically, so the virtual world surrounding the gamer does not get boring, and enemies constantly pop out from under every stone. Various weapons and bullet time are available.

The battlefields between the trio of special agents and various types of bandits are rarely limited by invisible or visible walls, but this does not make the local corridors any narrower. Obviously, our heroes came to fight the mafia from JRPG, and even in the vastness of a relatively open world, they cannot take a step off the pre-established path.

In one place in the first mission, I didn’t even have time to get close to the cliff when my brave police officer had a heart attack, the screen turned red, and I had to reload. Then, I tried to explore the building in a poor neighborhood a bit better (I didn’t even try to visit the neighbors, let the road be open, but I already knew that it was all a mirage and a trap), I went up the stairs and… ran into a wall. After surviving that, in one of the game episodes during a chase, I tried to cut through a farm and crashed the car into a cornfield.



Fortunately, sometimes the game world expands so much that it can accommodate tons of various garbage and even separate residential and working spaces. That’s when tactical genius can come into play and you can outmaneuver opponents from the side or from behind, without caring that they die like flies without such tricks. Despite the more or less realistic setting of The Cartel, you can plow through levels like a T-1000 terminator. Sometimes, however, the indestructible trio encounters some special fighters. They seem to be dressed like the rest of the enemies and hold the same weapons, but apparently these special shooters have mastered the art of the Kalashnikov rifle, and until you approach them from the flank, they mow down the main heroes ten times faster than their clueless partners.

By the way, about the Kalashnikov rifle. For some (presumably conspiratorial) reasons, it is the standard weapon of our forgotten patriotism special group, issued right from the first mission. What’s even more fun is that with this weapon, regardless of the chosen character, you can easily complete the entire game, only switching it to something more powerful for battles with helicopters. The rest of the quite extensive arsenal is simply unnecessary. Why change a good weapon that you have already gotten used to for some unknown thing, when even without such changes, the entire criminal fauna is mowed down with ease?

The car chase sequences are done skillfully, the main thing is not to be behind the wheel during moments of road shootouts. Unfortunately, in the single-player campaign, it is almost always the unlucky gamer who is behind the wheel. Fortunately, during the main chase, which is given in the prologue of The Cartel, you can freely shoot with all three heroes at once. In general, if you are playing cooperatively, don’t sit behind the wheel. By the way, a few words about cooperative play, which is also the main distinguishing feature of the game.

What are you doing there?

What are you doing there?

Don’t look at me!

What could be more fun than breaking through fields of concrete corn and climbing up a wall-like staircase? Only the cooperative mode, where you constantly have to ruin the fun for other players. If you remember, we have a police kleptomaniac, a special agent drug dealer (which means, of course, they are all kind and honest, life just got tough or something like that), and a white and fluffy sniper from the very proud FBI, who have plenty of their own concerns besides some lousy cartel.

So all three heroes, risking going beyond the corridors and dying from the realization of how wide and beautiful this three-dimensional world really is, during missions, look for something to take as souvenirs. But the police don’t like drug dealers, drug dealers don’t like the FBI, and the FBI doesn’t like anyone – especially kleptomaniacs on duty – so our trio will interfere with each other’s lives as full-fledged shooter marauders, following their comrades closely and documenting all the bad deeds of others. In theory.

In practice, however, here’s what happens: in the single-player campaign, where computer dummies play the role of colleagues and supervisors, it’s easier than easy to clear the level of poorly placed objects for obvious reasons. At the same time, the artificial intelligence is deeply parallel to the process of collecting forbidden Pokémon, so there is no need to keep an eye on the eager teammates at all. With real people, however, this whole system turns into a circus – after all, that’s what cooperative means (and no neologisms from the developers – coopetition, what is that? – will distort its essence), so that a loyal assistant tactfully turns away in a delicate situation. Or doesn’t turn away and gets kicked out of the game with profane shouts in the chat.

Screenshot Call of Juarez: The Cartel

If there is nothing else to do

You can rejoice – progress in the computer and video game industry has reached the point where it is now interesting to play basically any modern shooter. The graphics will be decent, the shooting mechanics will be acceptable, and there will always be some sort of storyline included. The Cartel is a bright example of this. It is a project where everything is secondary, except for the unsuccessful cooperative mode. It brings together all the clichés of modern FPS games that have become tiresome, yet the new Call of Juarez manages to be dynamic and (in episodes) a vivid entertainment. If you don’t look around.

The Cartel is a worthy purchase if you have already tried all the games released in the last three months, including the latest ones. God from: Human Revolution, Dead Island and Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, but I don’t feel like participating in team network battles. However, if you missed any of these novelties, it’s better to spend your money on them. Unfortunately, The Cartel doesn’t compare to any of the aforementioned games.

Call of Juarez: The Cartel
PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Action, Co-op
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



More Reviews