Published on August 2nd, 2011 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Call of Juarez: The Cartel Review
Platform: Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PlayStation 3
Call of Juarez is an interesting series. It fared well with its debut, where many cited the game as being a Call of Duty with a western theme, but in many instances they were correct. Call of Juarez is a scripted, linear first person shooter that pits the player through kill room after kill room. The series has always been maintained its Western theme, and I am sure after such classics as Red Dead Redemption, the team quickly realized that it would be difficult to be able to match a Western themed game as well as Rockstar has. So in Call of Juarez: The Cartel UbiSoft shifted gears to a more modern, urban themed shooter. Sadly it misses on little opportunity.
The story of the game is very bleak. Instead of a continuing story line of the McCall brothers you assume a descendant of the bloodline, Ben McCall. You are being hunted by DEA agent Eddie Guerra and Kim Evans who is working for the FBI. Throughout the eight-hour campaign, you will take on LA and Juarez itself in hopes of bringing down the biggest drug cartel. Each character of the game has their own interesting sub stories, and can be expanded by collecting certain items that will pertain to that character.
With the sub plots brought to light, and the collection of certain object in the game to expand the story, that means that the game features co-op, and yes it does. You would think that having three-player co-op locally or over LIVE would work very well, but in fact it seems to fail on many mechanics. Sure there is the typical play through of the campaign but there is no originality to each character that you’re playing with beyond the character’s gender. The idea of being able to narc on your partner to gain extra experience points is cool enough but there is very little reward for doing so, and if you do narc on a buddy, there is hardly any consequence for that player. Ultimately making the mechanic pointless, unless you really want to annoy your co-op partner.
The aesthetics of the game are horrendous. The game looks horrible, and seems very blocky and grainy. I think back to past years where games tried using the Unreal Engine and running into the same problems where animations never seem to match up with noticeable pop-ins.
The menu system is also a mess, offering more proof this game was rushed out the door with very little focus on detail. Misspelling in the subtitles of the game, to wrong game cues, and even sentences appearing when there is no dialogue.
The games multiplayer was also a tacked on idea. There are a couple of different game modes. You have your standard team deathwatch, and objective-based modes that play like any other standard shooter with multiplayer. Sadly enough the only reason I even bothered with the multiplayer is because of this review. It was a waste of time and performed at a horrible frame rate and was hampered by weak controls.
Call of Juarez: The Cartel is a rushed product. It was poorly merchandised, and very poorly marketed. The game itself didn’t help matters either. The game performed in horrendous fashion and the story constantly left us wondering why. It was an OK series to play. Sure it wasn’t the best, but there was some life in those titles. Call of Juarez: The Cartel however crushed any hope that the series had left. I’m sure the team is now questioning their thoughts on going with a modern day approach. If there is ever going to be another one, please take it back to where the series belongs, in the Old West.
+ Interesting sub plots
– Horrible frame rate
– Pointless multiplayer
– No polish or testing