Feeds
45%
Call of Juarez: The Cartel

Call of Juarez: The Cartel

Drugs, thugs and automobiles

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Review In theory, The Cartel's contemporary setting is a wise move for the Call of Juarez series. The moderate success of the first two Western-themed games was instantly undone when Red Dead Redemption moseyed into the overlooked genre, rounded up the pretenders and rode them out of town. By relocating to the present day, developer Techland shifts the series away from comparison with Rockstar's inimitable classic. But in doing so, The Cartel strays into the sights of modern Triple-A shooters, and the comparisons are no more favourable.

Call of Juarez: The Cartel

Shoes at the door?

By their standards, The Cartel is flimsy and easily picked apart. The mechanics and narrative are functional, but highly derivative and devoid of innovation. Controls feel floaty and bullets weightless, combat is clunky and enemy AI non-existent. And there's an egregious level of repetition, which means when you've played through its opening hour, you've experienced pretty much everything on offer. Worst of all, there's an abundance of glitches and overall lack of polish, which smack of an unfinished game.

The plot may be finished, but you'll hardly notice. After showing initial promise, the story of an inter-agency task force sent to dismantle a powerful Mexican drugs cartel quickly succumbs to cliché – its hackneyed American crime drama tropes embodied by its three playable characters: the hardboiled, “I'm too old for this shit” LA Homicide Detective, the slick, suspicious DEA Special Agent and the sassy, streetwise FBI Agent.

Call of Juarez: The Cartel

Draw! "That'll be £20 then mate"

While the narrative influences are painfully obvious: two parts Lethal Weapon and one part The Wire, it's Call of Duty's influence on gameplay that invites the most unflattering comparisons. The previous game, Bound in Blood, was equally indebted to CoD, but the similarities didn't seem so glaring when firing six-shooters from horseback in the Wild West as they do firing Uzi 9mms from Humvees in South Central LA.

Gunfights are as crowded and frenetic as anything CoD throws at you, but they're let down by pitiful enemy AI and shonky level design. Already a simple shooting gallery, with pop-up enemies walking blithely out from cover and into the firing line, gunplay is further reduced by the return of Bound in Blood's depressingly familiar bullet-time Concentration mode and breach-door set-pieces, which feature all too prominently throughout the eight-hour campaign.

Call of Juarez: The Cartel

Off-road rage

Driving sections offer little respite from the monotony. Most see you behind the wheel, fleeing enemies in pursuit. You can't ram them off the road, though. So gameplay is little more than a cruise towards objective markers, as enemies spray your vehicle with bullets. The few occasions you ride shotgun prove equally vacuous, as you lean out of the car for some basic point-and-shoot vehicular combat.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
iPAD-FONDLING fanboi sparks SECURITY ALERT at Sydney airport
Breaches screening rules cos Apple SCREEN ROOLZ, ok?
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
The British Museum plonks digital bricks on world of Minecraft
Institution confirms it's cool with joining the blocky universe
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.