Call of Juarez: The Cartel Review - Cheat Happens CHEATfactor
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Call of Juarez: The Cartel
PC, XBox 360, Playstation 3



Reviewed on: XBox 360
Developer:
Techland
Publisher: Ubisoft
Rated: "M" for Mature



CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

   
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User Rating:        6
   
Presentation: 6

Somehow, developer Techland has found a way to make their newest engine seem incredibly dated. Poor visuals, animations and voiceovers make for one awful looking and sounding game. Hey, at least the music isn't all that bad.

Gameplay: 5

The absolute best compliment I could give Call of Juarez: The Cartel is that it's a functional first person shooter. Awkward controls, repeating missions and terrible progression makes the game less than a fun experience and more of a chore.

Lasting Appeal:
5

Spec wise, The Cartel should be a ten when it comes to lasting appeal; it's got a campaign that can be played with three different characters as well as multiplayer, but thanks to the same issues that haunt the game overall, they're just plain not worth it.

Overall: 6
Spec wise, The Cartel should be a ten when it comes to lasting appeal; it's got a campaign that can be played with three different characters as well as multiplayer, but thanks to the same issues that haunt the game overall, they're just plain not worth it.
CHEATfactor: 6
 
 
   
     

They say you don't try to fix what's not broken. Apparently though, the team at Techland, the development studio behind the Call of Juarez series have never heard that saying. Rather than sticking with the Wild West theme that has served the franchise so well, the studio chose to move into more modern times and tell the story of drug cartels in Mexico. The result is an incredibly disappointing shooter that thanks to terrible visuals, controls and pacing is not only a step backward for the franchise, but the genre as well.

Call of Juarez: The Cartel tells the story of three cops that were placed on special assignment; take down some of Mexico's most dangerous drug cartels. Each of the officers has a different personality, which makes them each feel a bit different; there's Eddie and Kim who are modern age cops who ahem...grew up on the “streets,” and then there's Ben, who never really left the old west days and has a penchant for old school revolvers and rifles. Having trouble remembering them? Just think of them as cliché shooter character one, two and three. The three cops are less fully developed ideas and more of composite rehashes of cops the developers have seen in movies and TV shows. Even when they are doing something cool, it's hard to take them even remotely serious with the laughable dialogue they're delivering.

"...the game tries so hard to be in your face that it forgets to include a few things..."

 
   

Sadly, the same thing goes for the rest of The Cartel's plot. From Ben's constant biblical verses peppered with profanity to the drug dealers you're going to take down, the game tries so hard to be in your face that it forgets to include a few things, like a story you care about, proper pacing and interesting plot twists. You won't like any of the characters, and you won't care what happens to them, which results in you feeling like you're not going through to enjoy the game, but just slogging through it just because you want to finish.

That really wouldn't be that bad if Call of Juarez: The Cartel wasn't such a mess. Perhaps I'm being a bit tough, as the first person mechanics here are functional, they're just not very engaging and when they are, they're repeated so much that you begin to hate them. Almost every level is set up the exact same way and will feature the standard shooting levels, a slow motion scene and a driving section. Yes, these elements are cool the first time you play them - maybe even the first couple of times, but after a while, when you can begin to telegraph exactly what's going to happen at any point in any level - it's a bit much. It also doesn't help that the enemy AI is so remarkably dumb that the game is a breeze to get through even on the most difficult setting.

In truth, the game does feature some pretty cool ideas, they're just not implemented all that well. For instance, the game features the ability to play through the campaign with three players, while this is nothing new, the challenges that the game throws in are. Rather than just slogging through the campaign, you'll be asked to perform a number of feats, like taking out enemies only via headshots, or finishing a section in a short amount of time. It's a cool idea that gives you something else to do other than the normal campaign objectives. It's just a shame that these too aren't as well thought out as they should be. The main problem (and this applies to the full game as well) is that the game never really fully explains, or plays by its own rules. What's fine in one mission could make you fail in the next. Take one of the driving missions for example, I accidentally ran over a pedestrian and nothing was said about it, but when I did it the next time, it was an automatic fail.

"...where the game truly falls apart is with its presentation."

 
   

Even after all this, where the game truly falls apart is with its presentation. Throughout the game, even its most disappointing aspects are sprinkled with fine points, but in terms of the game's visual and audio components, it's all pretty terrible here. At best, The Cartel looks more like a shooter from last generation that anything on a modern system. Environments are fuzzy and unclear and characters animate awkwardly. Sound wise, characters frequently talk over each other, sound muffled and the voiceovers are pretty much terrible. The music though is done rather well and evokes the spaghetti western feelings of previous games.

When compared with other Call of Juarez games, The Cartel looks like it should have been one of the first released, but sadly it's somehow the latest. Flawed in almost every way, The Cartel is a lackluster shooter in a genre with so many AAA titles that already eclipse it. It had a lot of great ideas, but sadly, Call of Juarez: The Cartel is destined for little more than the bargain bin. 

 

CHEATfactor

CHEATS USED: Achievements/Trophies Lists

There are several hidden easter eggs that tie back into the previous Call of Juarez games, and finding them is quite fun if you've played through these other games.

Other than those, I'd love to have an unlimited ammo cheat, as in truth, shooting most of the game's guns can be remarkably fun - especially the old school, revolvers and riffles that Ben uses. An easy kill feature would be good as well.

Stick with CheatHappens.com for more cheats as soon as they become available.

 

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