Posted: February 21
Call of Juarez is a western-themed FPS game series released by Ubisoft. The Cartel is the "odd one out" in this series as it is the only one taking place in a modern day setting instead of the good old Wild West. Interestingly, the concept works and it makes for a good - albeit somewhat mediocre - game that fans can feel free to pick up as it becomes, after all, an important part of the franchise.
The game is best played cooperatively. For some reason the developer decided to pick not two (remember Bound In Blood?) but 3 protagonists. When playing alone they are controlled by the A.I but they are not exactly sharpshooters; however, the upside here is that you do not need to revive any of them.
They all work for a different organisation serving their country - Ben is an LAPD cop (he wears a cowboy hat and his surname indicates he is the descendant of Ray McCall from the 1st game), Kim is from the FBI and Eddie represents the DEA. They are all after The Cartel and during gameplay each of them receives a phone call asking them to complete a secondary objective. This is pretty funny as with each player you are to pick up various things and the rest cannot know about it. If noticed, you lose the opportunity. These are all illegal activities (such as stealing money) as to a certain degree all of them are dirty.
There are some driving sequences, too. One player drives while the rest do the shooting. The mechanics are similar to the one experienced in Dead Island (another Techland game series): it is pretty easy to navigate but the camera is positioned behind the dashboard so you do not exactly have the chance to change the view. There's also levelling up that unlocks newer and more powerful weapons throughout the game but it is pretty generic. Multiplayer is also available and while it does not offer anything new it is pretty entertaining.
Like I said this is the odd one out in the series but it does not mean it is a bad game. At the time (2011) the Chrome engine already looked outdated and while there is a handful of cinematics the game's story is not exactly very original. Still, The Cartel is an entertaining game and if you liked Call of Juarez you might get fond of this, too.
Just remember: beside McCall's character and the slow-mo shootouts and the available revolvers nothing really makes you remember its predecessors. Perhaps it's best to wait for a discount so as not to be disappointed very much.